frenchcountrychristmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here! Today I’m joining my friends at bHOME and taking you on a Holiday Tour.

There is something so thrilling about going on a little tour of other people’s homes, isn’t there? Do you ever go to a party at a pretty house and wish, oh just wish, that the hostess would let you peek into all the rooms?

I do! {Does that make me nosy interested?} Well, today I’m taking you with me on a little “inside” tour with four of my friends! There are three more days with amazing bHOME bloggers that welcome us into their homes for the holidays to come, so be sure to check back each day.

 

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It’s such a treat to join these amazingly creative bloggers, and go on a “tour” of their blogs. Some will give us a holiday house tour, some will share special holiday “how to’s” and some might share their favorite recipes…but ALL of them will inspire us!

I’m so excited you are here today…please come in! Welcome to our home, I hope you enjoy our “in-progress” French Country Christmas Home Tour! I set up a special little holiday spot in our hallway to serve you a drink just as you enter. If you arrive in the morning, it will be sparkling cider to toast to the holiday season! {Later, in a few minutes, we’ll have some coffee or tea in the kitchen, okay?} Or, if you are arriving later, maybe a champagne toast, or a glass of French wine.

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Whenever we have guests coming, I set up a small silver tray with pretty glasses, a bottle of sparkling cider, or the making for mimosas or a holiday drink if it’s evening, somewhere close to our front door. This way I can greet our guests, hand them a festive drink, and make them feel welcome and special right when they enter our home. It’s one of my special entertaining tricks.

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Each year my decorations are slightly different, but the days are over when I “re-invent” the whole Christmas decorating thing. I let our tree do most of the celebratory talking in our living room. John and I set the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving {and by John and I, I actually mean John – but I do the decorating.}

I have every imaginable ornament on our tree, from hand-made styrofoam ornaments my girls made at school when they were young, to precious Victorian antique balls and wax angels, and ornaments friends have gifted me at the teas and parties we have had here for Christmas over the years.

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If you look closely, below on the bottom left is the little felt-circles clown John and I choose together for our very first tree. And at the bottom right is a silver heart pacifier one of our daughters received as a Christening gift in Europe. Another special ornament to me, which you might be able to spy hiding behind the gold bow to the right, is a chenille santa my Mom and I bought the first year we moved to the States from Europe.

And then above that, an antique wax angel I bought for my Mom, to remind her of the one my grandparents had on their tree. Now that she is gone, I hang her angel on our tree each year {and miss Mom a lot at Christmas time.}

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Our home doesn’t look great with over the top, huge displays. I love a softer, more natural look that really puts the focus on our antiques. The mantel in the living room is all white, which makes it a pretty blank canvas for every seasonal display. This year, for Christmas, I played up the whites by hanging an antique French barbola frame on a ribbon right over the French mirror that is normally there. I love making our home pretty, but more than creating beautiful spaces, I want my family and friends to feel loved when they are in our home.

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Creating a holiday mantel is easy!  It’s all about varying heights, un-even numbers, and a little imagination. For this mantel I filled up antique silver trophy urns with greens from our eucalyptus tree in the front garden. To one urn I added velvety red roses, and some interesting greens clipped from a bush in our back garden.

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When decorating your mantel, it’s always a good idea to stagger the height of what is on display. To bring some much needed height to this year’s mantel display, I stacked two old books and place one of the urns on top of those. Since I didn’t want to see the spines, I just put the books on the mantel backwards.

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Candles and candleholders of varying sizes and materials finish off this very simple mantel. A few antique and vintage silver candlesticks join antique Wedgwood candle holders, and glass votives. There is nothing like the warm, welcoming glow of candlelight during the holiday season to make your home look magical!

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My favorite faux rose-leaf garland is swagged underneath.  I love good quality “faux”,  here in California it gets so dry in December that real holiday garlands  turn crispy, and ugly in a week, and are a fire hazard over the fireplace.

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Right now our whole house isn’t decorated yet for Christmas. I’m not really a decorate-one-day-and-be-done person at Christmas. My FrenchGardenHouse Antique business is busy at this time of year, so I decorate in stages. I just can’t bring myself to be all decked out for Christmas when it’s not even Thanksgiving. We begin the day after Thanksgiving, and I rely on little “vignettes” here and there until I am done. In a week, I’ll go buy more fresh greens and plants from our local florist, and add more lights, or some home made projects, decorate the garden table just outside the kitchen, whenever the mood strikes.

I want to enjoy this season, and reflect on why we celebrate Christmas, taking time to meet friends for a little holiday window shopping and lingering lunches where they tell me all about themselves and their families, and sit in front of the fire with John and quietly look at the tree and feel blessed. So no rushing around being hectic, once my tree is up, the rest is “fluff” and if one idea I have doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that.

Are you there with me? Where you don’t need perfection, you really just want to make memories with those you love, and not get carried away with the hectic rush of the holiday season? I hope so!

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If you’ve been here before, you know that in our “living room” side of our home, things are a little bit more formal than in the kitchen/family room area.  There, it’s a cozy, comfortable French Country style space where we eat, watch movies on Netflix, and gather at the table to play games, or eat a meal with our friends and family.

For the kitchen table, I “planted” this beautiful little bright green pine tree from Trader Joe’s in one of our antique French ironstone tureens, and surrounded it with pinecones. The pinecones add another layer of texture, but they also keep the plant centered..a win-win. A few antique linen towels, a French jam pot and a small bowl filled with small pinecones make this a pretty centerpiece this time of year.

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A few holiday towels, some greens and touches of red and white are enough to bring the Holidays here! I cook every day, so I really need my smaller kitchen to be workable, and I can’t have too many holiday decorations in the way.

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At the sink {please forgive me this less than stellar photo!} I placed one of our green apple topiaries on each side of the farm sink. The linen towels embroidered with reindeer are a sweet nod to the season.

Every season, my decorating starts with a change to seasonal towels in the kitchen and bathrooms, and some fun pillow covers. I go from there!

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I hope that you get inspiration from these holiday posts, but not that you think your home has to be perfect. Mine certainly isn’t, there are areas of our home that I joke with my husband about and tell him they are mid-century, and not in a good way. {thinking of one particular bathroom that is seriously in need of updating}  I hope that tours like this inspire you to create beauty in your home with the things you love. Creating a beautiful home is more about taking a little care to “fluff it up” and make little spots that YOU enjoy looking at. Because your home should reflect YOU, and your taste.

Little holiday spots…..like this ironstone plate holding antique little sheep in the kitchen, are really enough to bring the holiday spirit into our home. I sprinkled a little glittered mica on the plate and called it done. Sometimes it’s the simple things that really bring the magic of the season to life at home.

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This French madonna is another little touch here at FrenchGardenHouse for the holidays. She sits on a small table, covered with a white quilt in the living room. I added the last of the white roses from the garden to the French metal tray, and a small bright boxwood wreath. White flowers are my “go to” for this time of year, the lisianthus in the vase are from our local florist.  As soon as the roses wither and dry, I will replace them with a votive candle to burn in the evenings.

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You can have a little peek into our guest room, but it isn’t done enough to share photos. It’s on our “to do” list, but somehow it keeps getting shoved back a little. It was on the front of the list, until our water heater broke, and the car door wouldn’t open, and the fancy coffee grinder-maker broke. You know how that is, suddenly your “make-the-guest-room-beautiful” budget has gone poof!

I do have a gorgeous antique mantel in there that I decorated. I can share that…the rest is not really blog worthy. 🙂

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The two French sconces on each side of the gilt mirror are meant to be electrified, but I haven’t had that done yet, so right now I use them as candle sconces. I tied a little bundle of greens to them with florist wire, and topped each one with a festive chartreuse green bow. Layered on Eucalyptus branches make this look festive, the eucalyptus grows on our street, and it lasts longer than traditional holiday greens.  I topped the branches with some oranges from our back garden.

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I love the contrast of the dark wood mantel with our grey painted walls, and the gilt of the mirror and the chairs in this room!  A beautiful broken French metal angel takes center stage here, as with the mantel in the living room I stacked a few things, in this case two boxes to elevate him.

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I fell in love with this French angel, despite the fact that he has no arms, and has lost one of his wings. He’s “beautifully wrecked” as one of my little people said.

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The little guest bathroom in very simple holiday finery. A few little holiday touches are all it needs, I put a few French olive oil soaps in our FrenchGardenHouse cheerful, red checked bowl, and placed some of my favorite new linen guest towels on an old vintage silver tray. Some greens and a small clipping of holly, and it looks festive and welcoming.

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The little French heart wreath is just the right size for the small vanity, don’t you think?

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I played with this same concept for our master bathroom, and used the flax colored towels there. I can’t decide which color I like best.

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I may or may not post some photos of our bedroom later, once I get that sorted out for the holidays. Right now? There is a little pile of all the wrapping paper I just bough (kraft with gold polka dots!) in a corner, and a pile of stocking gifts for my little people in the other. Not all of you have perfectly clean rooms all the time, right? {please say no!} Or am I the only one with little bunches  of things I need to “get to” and put somewhere else?

Especially during this December month I wish I had a secret room that only I had the key to, to stash all my Christmas gifts, paper and ribbons and stuff.

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Thank you so much for visiting me today, I always appreciate your visits, and comments, too! I hope that you have enjoyed visiting our French Country Christmas home. I still have more decorating to do, and will share some of that in future posts. You can visit my HOLIDAY HOME TOUR from last year too.

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I purposely didn’t link to things in our home that I sell in my shop, but you can always take a peek in my FrenchGardenHouse.

Don’t forget that you can still enter to win the beautiful book by Leslie Sinclair Segreto Vignettes until December 15th by leaving a comment on any post. segretogiveaway

To see my friends and their beautiful holiday inspiration, click on each link below! And be sure to come back here tomorrow, and the next 2 days after that to see more holiday inspiration!

 

French Garden House

French Garden House Christmas http://mysoulfulhome.com

Shabby Fu Fu

Shabby FuFu White Christmas http://mysoulfulhome.com

Zevy Joy

Gingerbread house Zevy Joy http://mysoulfulhome.com

Redhead Can Decorate

Redhead can Decorate http://mysoulfulhome.com

My Soulful Home

Farmhouse Glam Kitchen tablescape http://mysoulfulhome.com

~ Now to enter to win the $250 Git Card to Farmhouse Refined ~

Simply pop on to bHome and TAP the star for Farmhouse Refined you will be automatically entered.

You’ll also get a message confirming you are entered. Even easier now – only one TAP to enter!

Don’t have bHome yet? ( very naughty! ) Download it for free to your phone or ipad and then follow the simple step to enter.

You can find the link on my sidebar to the right.

{and please tap my star too!}

Good Luck!

(USA residents only – winner randomly chosen on 12/9 and notified on app & email )

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I hope that you are having a blessed time in your own home readying it for the holidays. xo Lidy

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