You haven’t seen a Christmas home tour from me yet this season—and you might not. I have felt little to no pressure to drag everything out this year and more peace about just “being” in the season. That doesn’t mean I’m not having any December freak-outs (I am and I will), but I’m trying to think more about this sweet fleeting time in our lives when everything about Christmas is still magical.
When it comes down to it, the things that make Christmas happy for my kids aren’t necessarily the things that make for beautiful blog posts. They just want to lay frozen cookie dough on a baking sheet and call it baking instead of spending an hour making a culinary creation I found on Pinterest. They want trees in their rooms with the most colorful, blinking lights possible and tinsel, if available. They want gifts wrapped in Frozen wrapping paper—no pretty bows, gift tags or sprigs of green necessary. They want that silly elf to do ridiculous things around our house. And, they want to hang their own handmade ornaments instead of their mother creating a designer ombre tree.
(Big) disclaimer: I’m not perfect at this by any means, but I’m trying to learn to breathe when my type A personality actually wants the dang ombre tree. It’s a process.
Sometimes it’s as simple as letting them get the paint out in the middle of the day when you don’t want to mess up the kitchen—again. We spent less than half an hour last week painting ornaments for the tree, but they thought it was the best treat. And honestly, it was a little therapeutic for Mama, too.
I told them to paint something that represents something they’ve enjoyed this year. Some of my artists are faster than others.
By the way, the IKEA MÅLA paint is perfect for the impatient creative. . . It dries super fast and you get eight colors for $8. Hard to beat! And a little tidbit I just learned: the designer of the MÅLA series, Sarah Fager, took really special care to make sure everything was shaped and sized perfectly for little hands. The brushes (also pictured) are a good example of that.
On my last IKEA run, I also picked up one of the FEJKA trees (great size for tabletop) and a festive red blanket for the kitchen.
I’m proud to be teaming up with IKEA again this year as one of their U.S. brand ambassadors. I love their “democratic design” philosophy that focuses on designing products that make home a better, less stressful and more playful place to live. Sounds like Christmas to me. :) Read more about IKEA’s design approach here.
What intentional things do you do during December to slow down?
Thanks to IKEA for sponsoring this post.
We just received an IKEA delivery yesterday for our playroom. I didn’t know about their paints. I’ll have to check them out. And that table top tree is a fun little guy.
This could not have been more perfectly timed! I am victim to wanting xmas to be “adult pretty”. Like wanting to decorate the gingerbread house alone when they are in school. This year I ordered cookie kits from a local cookie baker. It has everything including Royal Icing in 4 colors! They can have a ball and I won’t be a mess because of the time spent/mess of making cookies.
but i admit i bought an extra kit for myself so I can still have my pretty cookies…
Emily, Such a blessing to see children having fun! I’ve said this to so many people over the years (I’m 57!)…you will never regret time spent with the people in your life! Merry Christmas!
Love your “real life” posts!
CT Granny says
This is one of the most ‘blog worthy’ posts of this Christmas season. Perfect rooms from a catalog or magazine just aren’t cutting it for me. Give me more kids making memories and all their creations. I have seen enough neutral!
Emily it is so refreshing to see that a blogger actually feels this way! I have stopped reading the Christmas decorating posts this year because it makes me EXHAUSTED. You are wise to realize the magical part of the holidays with your children is short.
Thanks for being real and I really think you’re on the right path.
Enjoy it, all too soon, they won’t care what you put on the Christmas tree and then you’ll be asking your grandkids to help decorate it!
I agree with Terri – you and your children will remember this Christmas for a very long time. I think it’s beautiful – the simple tree, the red throw, the homemade ornaments, etc. Merry Christmas!
Brooke Pate says
This is why I continue to read your blog. Your home is beautiful and I love your design tricks and tips, but I appreciate most of all how practical you are. I’m a mother to 3 young children with #4 on the way. You are one of the only bloggers who makes me feel like a pretty home IS attainable with a bunch of kids. Thank you!
Wise Mama. Years from now you will cherish those ornaments and the time spent with your babies.
My best Christmas memories are of the kids working on ornaments. Hopefully it’s theirs also…now that they’re grown & gone. 😢
Where are those plain paintable ornaments from? thanks!
Emily Clark says
I found them at Hobby Lobby.
I completely agree! I had always wanted the perfect pretty tree, but now that my kids are getting older, I love seeing the hand painted ornaments! Even the ornaments clustered together by my 3 year old are too cute to reposition.
Precious…the kids and the ornaments : )
Wonderful post. Thank you.
I feel I have to give you a tip of a great blog I think you’ll find inspiringa and helpful. I found it just recently and it is called ‘Hands Free Mama’
Rachel presents her blog like this;
‘I want to make memories, not to-do lists. I want to feel the squeeze of my child’s arms, not the pressure of over-commitment. I want to get lost in coversation with the people I love, not consumed by a sea of unimportant e-mails. I want to be overwhelmed by sunsets that give me hope, not by overloaded agendas that steel my joy. I want the joy to be a mixture of laughter and graditude, not the instrusive buzz of cell phones and text messages. I am letting go of distraction and perfection to live a life that simply consists of what really matters. I’m living handsfree. Take my hand and come along. A Hands Free revoulution starts here!’
Best regards, Tina from Sweden
I’ve never commented before, but really enjoy your blog. You have a great design aesthetic. Today’s post just demands a response: You’re not only imparting Christmas joy, but confidence in their own taste and capabilities. Mine are now grown and making ornaments and messes with their own littles, and I can truly tell you from the heart that you will never regret making these choices, and these decorations will always be your favorites. Good job, mama!
Don’t even have kids and I love this post so much! Truth is, this single girl could stand to let herself off the hook as well. Sent my first EVER Evite yesterday. (I know, it’s cool for others but it makes this Southern Belle cringe.) I just couldn’t pull ordering/printing invites off in time and honestly my guests probably couldn’t care less. The holidays (and everyday) shouldn’t be about perfection. They should be about being present and enjoying this gift of life God gave and reflecting on the birth of His son. Merry Christmas!
Thank you for saying this! My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE tacky coloured lights, homemade wacky-tacky ornaments and everything ugly. When I don’t complain and just set it all out I catch them kneeling in front of them gazing at them with shining eyes and glowing cheeks. How dare we adults tell our kids that their source of joy and wonder is hideous? Why would we ever close our hearts and minds to what they love to satisfy our own ideas of what creates Beauty and joy. Loving them means not dictating what can and can’t inspire their little hearts. These years of innocence and wonder are slipping through through our fingers like sand. Merry Christmas and feel free to keep letting go!
Where did you find those lovely roman shades? Thanks!
Emily Clark says
I used these throughout our downstairs: http://bit.ly/2gsd7Gq
Centsational Girl says
Everything you said is 100% spot on! I’m so with you, been enjoying the season so much more not worrying about a perfect house tour featured in early December. I finally pulled together a simple porch scene and decorated my mantel and tree and that seems just enough so far! It’s still a work in process but I’d rather sit and watch a movie with kids then feel the pressure to have everything be perfect. Love this perspective Emily.
elissa stikeleather says
I see your big fridge in the background and am hoping you can tell us all about it soon; I have 6 kids (we buy milk 5 gallons at a time) and we’re planning a kitchen remodel and I’m contemplating whether we should get a commercial sized fridge instead of a regular one.
And good for you on just being in this season; what’s the point of Christ bringing peace on earth if we can’t have some at Christmas!
Linda P. says
I threw out some of my old Christmas tree ornaments a couple of years ago and then learned from one of our grown daughters that they were the favorite ones. And yes, they were the ones they painted, themselves!
I love this post! I want to do this activity with my 4 kids this Sunday. I better head to Hobby Lobby today. I have one questions. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your spoon chairs and fabric. Where did you get them? I need some in my new home this summer.
Refreshing, as always.
After seeing this post I thought I better get organised for our 6week summer holiday here in Australia. I went & bought the kids the art supplies you used plus Lattjo fish darts (which the kids already love), throwing game & hoola hoops.
where are your beautiful blue and white spindle chairs from?
Emily Clark says