I Don’t Do PRETTY Christmas

I would like to be the kind of gal that waits until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas… but since I’ve been in retail, decorations at home have become less about timeliness and more about a free day to actually put them out!  It’s a juggle of calendars and commitments and an 8 hour window were I can squeeze it in on my one day off a week.  I know that if I don’t plan ahead, it probably won’t happen.  That might seem sad, but it’s workin’ for me, and I’m okay with that.
So, here’s the thing. I don’t do “pretty” Christmas. I have plenty of decorations for my little home, but I’m just not an extravagant person, so you won’t find an abundance of fancy ornaments or over the top decorations.  I don’t deck out every surface in garland and lights.  I don’t put up 16 Christmas trees or even (gasp) put lights on the house (I’m not big on tall ladders).    My version of “Deck the Halls” is more about the memories – an assortment of Santas given to me from my grandmother, nativities curated from estate sales or travels over the years, and other odds and ends that are sentimental, but also just blend in with my style.

Here are a few of my favorite things:


Señor Nutcracker (the official looking one with the white wooden mustache).  I’m not sure why in my mind he’s a Mexican grandpa, but he is.  He was my first nutcracker to “save” from an estate sale last year.  Until then, I was kind of afraid of them- I had always thought nutcrackers were sorta creepy.  Since then I’ve added a few more (but don’t worry, I won’t go crazy – I still think they’re creepy en masse).



My paper nativity scene.  It’s from the 1950′s and my mom has one just like it.  This one I got from my friend Tony, and every year when I put it out, I send him a photo.  It’s such an amazing  piece of history (with its spot for the “colored wise man” and all).  SO crazy to think that wasn’t offensive at the time.

My tree.  Now that I’m an adult, I get a real, honest-to-goodness live Noble Fir every year.  I always wanted one as a kid, but my mom’s allergies were too bad – the one year we tried, that poor tree spent all of 10 minutes in the house… before it was sequestered to the back porch and eventually chopped into firewood. (sadface)  Where are all the ornaments, you ask?  Let’s just say having two dogs and a few unfortunate Christmases have led me to keep it simple!  I only use plastic globes on my main tree (and this year I ventured out with a little ribbon- so far, so good).

DSC_0331My sled.  Scored at a neighborhood garage sale for $20.  Love it.

DSC_0415Ice skates.  Got this pair of skates in Michigan when I went to visit my mom during one of her “nerd conferences”. I love finding cool, local antiques when I travel!

DSC_0262My favorite hallway.  All decked out with an over-sized print of the hymn, “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come” and a nativity from my grandmother.


This picture.  An enlargement of my brother and I (circa 1984?) mounted on foam core. It fits snugly inside the frame I usually keep on the mantle, but I think it adds a really fun, personal holiday touch.


My hand-carved Santas.  These are whittled by artist Dan Rankin in Post, Texas.  Since I’ve discovered them at Caprock Heirloom, I buy one every year.  Just love how cute and unique they are!


My “monthly” themed Santas.  Always a favorite at my grandmother’s house when I was a kid, she gave them to me when I bought my first home in Dallas.  They’re so special to me, and I proudly display each Santa (depicting a different month) in my entry way.

DSC_0351Jingle all the way.  This little ditty was a pinterest project from a few years ago.  It’s easy to store in a Ziploc bag and re-assemble every year in my existing shadow box frame!

DSC_0373I may have saved the best for last… this is my favorite nativity set from my childhood.  All of the pieces are made of wood, and I just makes my heart do a somersault when I pull it out.  I keep this one inside a domed cheese board for a little extra protection.

So there you have it.  It’s not all of my decorations, but I think you get the idea.  No PRETTY Christmas for me.  Less is more, well-worn is good, and sentimental is best.

As Christmas grows closer, I hope that you enjoy the season (and decorations) as much as I plan to!  Cheers, friends!


  • Inkling Design Studio

    Kandice! I just LOVE your Christmas decorations! The picture of you and your brother and the mini nativity on the cheeseboard are my favorites! We too prefer to deck the halls with sentimental decor. Our tree is well decorated with ornaments from both my husbands and my childhood. We also pick up ornaments where ever we travel to, so our tree is FULL of memories! I think it’s so special to have items that bring back good memories! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Kandice! :)

    • kandicem

      Thanks Rita! :) Collecting ornaments when you travel is a great tradition! I hope your Christmas is great too!

  • Kari Joy

    I find your Christmas decor very pretty, for what’s it’s worth!

    • kandicem

      Well, thanks Kari Joy! :)

  • sgbrinker

    so awesome!!!!!!!!! I love your house.

    • kandicem

      Thanks! You’re so sweet!

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