Christmas Decorating Home Tour

Now that it is the first day of December, it’s the time of year when I get excited to share my annual Christmas decorating home tour with you!

If you are new to my blog, I am Diane and live in a 1970’s home on a large lake in South Carolina that my husband and I have updated to fit our life and style.

red and green living room decorated for Christmas

When the holiday season rolls around every year, I like to change things to come up with new and creative budget-friendly decorating ideas. This year is no different.

I focus my holiday decor mainly in my living room, kitchen and foyer.

How I Decorated My House For the Holidays This Year

I Focused on 3 Things:

  • BUDGET-FRIENDLY – I didn’t buy any new decorations – everything has been used previously or repurposed to save money.
  • A HINT OF NOSTALGIA – I went with a classic red and green color scheme for a touch of nostalgia that makes my home feel magical to me.
  • SIMPLE – I kept it simple using natural elements from my yard.

Kept The Decor Simple

Over the last few years I have been transitioning to less-is-more when decorating my home and that includes the holidays.

In My Own Style Christmas living room ideas

So when I decorate, I always keep this quote in mind…

“Life is too short to be the caretaker of the wrong details”.

The holidays are stressful enough, I want to feel comfort and relaxed at home. I edit and edit even more to only add the decorative holiday elements that I really love or that have a special sentimental meaning to me or my husband. It wouldn’t feel like Christmas without these items.

Christmas tree with white twinkle lights

Every year I place fewer ornaments on the Christmas tree. This year, I went with twinkle lights only since they are what make the tree and the whole room magical for me.

Seeing the lights twinkle slowly one by one brings back fond childhood memories when I used to lay under the tree and watch the twinkling lights dance on the ceiling.

I didn’t even need to buy new gift wrap. I gathered all the leftover plaid gift wrap from previous years to wrap all the presents.

white tray with favorite Christmas ornaments on it

Since I didn’t place any ornaments on the tree, I chose a few of my favorites to display on a small tray. I made a velvet heart ornament for all my siblings and daughters from my father’s Christmas shirt after he passed away, so it is very special. My mom made the cute little knitted sweater and the little red card has a message to Ed from Ed’s dad inside. The red skates are an ornament I loved as child. Seeing these bring a smile to my face and heart.

I Used Existing Decorations in New Ways

To save money, I reused my existing holiday decorations, but used each in a new way to create a new look.

red plaid holiday pillows on white sofa

I have a few decor items that I use every year, like our stockings, cedar wreaths, jingle bells, throw pillows, ball ornaments and ribbons. I then add natural elements to enhance the look.

Red and Green Christmas decorated living room

For instance, instead of using the candlesticks on the mantel as I have done when Decorating My House for Christmas in past years, I placed them inside the fireplace.

Noel sign on large pinecones

I created a display on my new Round Accent Table by using a cedar wreath and placing 3 big pinecones that I made into Pinecone Pedestals on my mantel a few years ago. The pinecones were big enough to fit snug in the center of the wreath, adding a favorite red tree ornament adds a touch of red.

When the holidays are over all these things will go back to their original states to be used in new ways for my needs.

candle votive in dough bowl

I created a simple dough bowl Christmas decoration by using drinking glasses as flameless votive candle holders and filling in with pine, cedar and pine cones from my yard that I added glitter to make them sparkle in the candle light.

red ball ornaments and greenery hanging on a framed photo

To add a little bit of Christmas to the gallery wall, I used one end of a garland tie to tie a few sprigs of pine with shiny red ball ornaments and jingle bells together. Then used the other end of the garland tie as a hook to place over the center frame on the gallery wall.

Twinkle Lights & Candles

After getting the Christmas tree up with twinkle lights, the next most important item needed to create a cozy ambiance are candles.

white battery operated candles and greenery in dough bowl on console table

Over the years I have been using more battery-operated candles since they look so real and can all be turned on and off with the touch of a button. No smoke alarms going off anymore. :-)

Setting a Cozy & Nostalgic Feeling

White twinkle lights on the tree – check, candles everywhere – check, jingle bells on doors – check, glittered items – check, family Christmas photos – check and what you can’t see…

In My Own Style Christmas Spotify Playlist on TV

…Christmas music playing all day long on Spotify where I even made my own playlist of my favorite Christmas songs. And I can’t forget goodies baking in the kitchen ensure Christmas magic is all around – these are the holiday traditions that make Christmas feel special to me.

red and green and plaid living room decorated for Christmas

I also make sure to add cozy touches to these holiday traditions to make each room feel warm and inviting. Red velvet throw pillows, fur and chunky knit throws on the sofa and chairs.

3 red plaid stockings hanging on a wood mantel

Along with Christmas plaid trimmed stockings hanging on the new fireplace mantel.

Using Natural Elements

If I didn’t enjoy the nostalgic aspect of Christmas so much, I would decorate my house using all natural items. Not only are they free, but all you have to do to get them is go outside in your yard or a wooded area and search for them.

white battery operated candles in a dough bowl and branches with jingle bells

Nature is full of so many beautiful things if we take the time to look.

I use this pair of clippers to gather these branches that I stuffed into a Styrofoam block inside the planter, then tied silver jingle bells to the branches with red ribbon. Simple and it makes a festive statement.

The other nice thing about decorating for Christmas using natural elements is once the holidays are over there is nothing to store in a bin, you simply throw them out or place in compost.

Adding More Touches of Red & Green

Easy Christmas Candle Display ideas.

Most of the photos you see in this post I took during the day, but when I really enjoy my Christmas decorating is at night. The candles and twinkle lights on the tree make the house look magical.

Mantel at night decorated for Christmas

One of the reasons I went with a red and green Christmas decorating scheme this year was to go with the decorative green screen I glaze painted earlier this year.

Roman numeral clock on console table

A few red ball ornaments placed on tabletops among decorative items is the easiest way to decorate when you want to keep things simple.

In the foyer I added more red and green in the way of cedar wreaths and faux pine.

Foyer console table with modern art with santa hat

My husband, Ed even helped me add some red to the foyer when he put a Santa hat on the Modern Driftwood Stand I made a year or so ago.

Christmas tree in foyer with white lights

Sleigh bells tied on the door with red ribbon so that when anyone enters the house they are greeted with the sound of tinkling jingle bells.

ribbon and jingle bell Christmas decoration on a white pitcher

In the kitchen I kept the decor very simple, red and green accents added with greenery and red ribbon.

red Christmas candle in kitchen

And more jingle bells.

Making Overnight Guests Feel The Christmas Magic

Christmas tree shaped glass jars displayed on a buffet
Thrift Store Makeover – How to Make Glittered Glass Christmas Trees

This year, we are expecting overnight guests over the holidays so I added a few small holiday touches to each of the guest rooms. My house is a 3 bedroom home with the primary bedroom suite on the first floor. The other two bedrooms are on the second floor that we use for guests.

To one of the rooms I added a collection of Glittered Glass Christmas Trees that were a thrift store find that I made over.

DIY Christmas card framed for guest room art

In the other room, I framed one of the DIY Christmas Cards my daughter recently made and placed in in a plate holder on the night table.

That’s it for my Christmas decorating. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Take an insider look into this inspiring budget-friendly and totally doable Christmas decorating ideas home tour.

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  1. Diane, I love the simplicity of your tree and your nature inspired decor! Merry Christmas xx

  2. Hello Diane, I don’t often comment, but I was just going over your Hot Buttered Rum pin I have saved on my Pinterest board and I looked to see your newest post.
    I love how you and your husband have transformed your home into your dream home and I love how you have shared your practical solutions with us!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family! I’ve been following you for years and I appreciate your clever ideas!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Shelley – Thank you for being a long time reader and commenting. I really appreciate it and read every comment. There has been lots of hard work and some not so hard projects to get our home to fit the way we live. A labor of love for sure. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy.

  3. Jennifer Hadfield says:

    Hi Diane — I love your home. It’s so cozy and I love that you brought out your very favorite items. I love the ornament from your dad’s shirt. That is so special. I need to see if my mom has any of my dad’s shirts to do this! Pinned :)


  4. Everything is so pretty. Lucky guests to have you as the hostess!

  5. Everything is just so welcoming! I love it all. I am all about embracing what brings us meaning. I started to pare down my holiday bins over the summer. Made many nieces happy to inherit. This year I am loading up our tree with my son’s ornaments…and boy do they have a ton. Even though they live out of state their rentals just don’t have the room. I also plan to pull out my son’s Lego train. Will be interesting to see what his German Shepard thinks of it:) This may be our last year as we are seriously looking to downsize. It is so important to me to make things extra special. Hope you are continuing to heal well.

  6. Bravo to you for keeping your Christmas decor affordable and simple. Your home is gorgeous with just the right amount of holiday touches.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan – Thank you. :-) I hope you have a very merry holiday season.

  7. Just beautiful! You always amaze us! Love the simple greenery and ornament accent on the pictures. And the little hearts from your fathers shirt… what a beautiful tribute and memory. Thank you for opening up your home to us every year! Always look forward to your next email.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marc – Thank you. I enjoy decorating my house for the holidays and making it look and feel special in ways that remind me of fond childhood Christmas memories. Thanks for reading my blog. :-) Wishing you a very happy holiday season.

  8. Kelly Elko says:

    I love that you created those hearts from your dads old shirt! What a great memory for you and your family. I find myself going simpler each year too but you managed to make simple look abundant! Oh, Ed needs his own blog – the Santa hat on the driftwood is so fun!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kelly – The driftwood art usually holds Ed’s golf hat and sunglasses. I should have added them and then we would have one very cool Santa.

  9. Everything is beautiful! Your husband topped it all off with the Santa hat in the foyer! Good work!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Renee. My husband was quite pleased with himself when he added the Santa hat in the foyer. Happy Holidays1

  10. I’ve followed you for years, and I love your style and frugality and creativity! I can’t see myself ever having nearly all white rooms. I love to shop at thrift stores, but I don’t have your knack for changing items. I am keeping things simpler in my house, which gives me more time for other things I enjoy. You’ve given me some good ideas over the years–keep those ideas coming and have a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Thanks for being a long time follower. That is the best thing a blogger can hear. XO. Enjoy and savor every minute of the newfound time you have now that you are keeping your holiday decor simple. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and holiday season.

  11. Debbie Buckingham says:

    I made it all the way back around to your blog again and I wanted to just say one of the things I really appreciate about your blog is the size of the font you use! It’s very relaxing and easy to read even if it may make scrolling thought a bit longer. For me it’s hard to read and I tend to lose interest when the words are small and compact. I feel like I’m reading a book and it takes all my concentration to get through it. So just a kudos to you for knowing even that detail when you blog!

  12. Debbie Buckingham says:

    Diane! I love the pure yet warm simplicity of your decorating! My 2 favorite things are your trees without ornaments and the twig bush with the bells and red ribbons. But honestly everything is just simple and perfect! I’ve not done this home tour before so I’m going to go back to the beginning and see them all. I love your blog and all your creativity on a budget! Merry Christmas to you and Ed!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Debbie – Most of how I decorate for Christmas comes from the heart and a way to relive fond childhood Christmas memories of both when I was growing up and then when I was raising my daughters. I also learned a lot about budget decor ideas when I worked in retail display where we had to make the store look grand using only the items in the store’s prop room. We had to get creative and find stuff for free – like branches we could get outside.

      I hope you enjoyed seeing all the blogs on the tour and got lots of inspiration. Jennifer has been doing it for 12 years I think.

      I also see that you left another comment about the font type size on my blog. :-) With my 63 year old eyes, I have trouble reading so many blogs and made sure that mine was easy to read both on desktop and mobile. I agree with you that when the type is small and too hard to read, I end up leaving the site. I am not sure why more bloggers don’t use larger type as it only helps the reader. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

  13. Ohhhh, Diane, your house is gorgeous with all your Christmas decorations! Thanks so much for sharing. I loved the plaid accents, the flameless candles, pine cones and twigs from your yard, and even Ed’s sweet Santa hat!

    1. Diane,
      You are such a decorating inspiration! I love everything about your Christmas decor! Especially the small ornaments with such family meaning. Things that make our heart smile are The Best!
      Happy Holidays to you and your family. And I’m so happy to know you are making quick progress from the surgery.
      Hugs to you!

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Caren – Thanks for the nice note. I agree with you – things that make our heart smile are the best. I am healing very well since my hip surgery. I go to PT and after every session, I feel like I am almost back to normal. Wishing you and yours a very. happy holiday season. XO

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bobbie – Thank you. Ed is pretty impressed with his decorating skills. :-) Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and holiday season.

  14. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Wait a minute. What happened to your two ‘barnwood’ walls in the living room? I was making my way through the on line tour, when suddenly I stopped to ask, “weren’t there two walls of barnwood?” I scrolled back and found the photos of adding the mirrors behind the sofa and the walls were still the wood look. Guess I missed that re-transformation. Love the green and red you have used. Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Becky – I painted the barnwood paneling white in the Spring. I really liked it and was happy with it, but since my house is small and I have lots of decorating ideas, I like to change things up. Another reason I wasn’t hesitant to paint it was that as much as I loved it during the day, at night with lamps on, I didn’t like it as much. Another reason was after we had to remove the stone fireplace surround, the barnwood just didn’t look the same. You can see the post about the change here: Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season.

  15. Kristin salazar says:

    I adore your home and the colorful decor, always so beautiful! The pops of beautiful greenery are stunning!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Kristin – I am looking forward to taking your tour tomorrow.

  16. Beautifully decorated, Diane! I love the colors you chose for your pillows and the plain tree is always a favorite of mine!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Julie. The plaid pillow fabric I bought at Hobby Lobby about 5 years ago and the green fur ones are from HomeGoods. Happy Holidays

  17. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    I always enjoy seeing what you are up to and wish we could just catch up. I love your house so much. You always have the perfect touch of color. Happy Holidays Diane, hoping you are doing well.