Christmas Decorating at Our Home

ornament garland

If you could come over and visit this morning, you’d get to see our Christmas decorations. And have some coffee. There’s always coffee.

Hanging Christmas ornaments is one of our favorite traditions, but in our apartment there is absolutely no room for a tree. We do the next best thing: our collection is displayed on a garland over the fireplace. I love seeing them all together this way.

All of our Christmas decorations are stored in one blue box, and it’s a fun event to unpack it each year.

Christmas tree

Because it’s just one box, Doug is totally on board with helping to decorate.

So is Lane.

Lane's ornament

This year Doug took her shopping for an ornament to start her own collection.

We put a wreath in her room, and she hung her new little ornament on it.

We hope to add one more for her each year. She didn’t seem to mind only having one ornament — she’s frequently moving him from one branch to another.

Add a red table runner in the dining room and a red bow to the front door, and that’s it!

I think this must be the year of the garland. Did you see all of the pretty photos at Nesting Place? So festive.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. that’s my kind of decorating! I don’t like to over-do.
    Lane’s smile is all the decoration I would need – so precious.

  2. What perfect timing. I was just stressing out over whether to spend more money and less time on Christmas gifts or less money and lots more time, and Lane’s smile was exactly what I needed to keep it all in perspective. Thanks!

  3. What a lovely alternative to a tree. And look at that smile …

    Nicki´s last blog post..Ever Have ‘One Of Those Days?’

  4. I love her smile.

  5. I love garland!

    We have a house – but there isn’t a place in it for a tree – especially since we heat with wood and the only somewhat appropriate place is right next to the woodstove – I string garland on the mantle and over the curtain rod in the living room – it’s pretty, festive & simple!

    Blessed´s last blog post..A Great Program for Kids

  6. Very pretty garland and a good idea if there’s no room for a tree.
    Lane looks “grown up” in that photo – so cute to see her excitement.

    Have a good Friday!

    Kelli´s last blog post..Say Cheese

  7. Lane is so adorable! I love the garland idea. And one box of decorations certainly beats the monstrosity of ornaments that we store for our large tree.

    Sarah´s last blog post..the weekly quote

  8. Oh.. that picture of Lane is too sweet! Frame that!!

    Dana @ Letters to Elijah´s last blog post..Live feed: Tub Finished!

  9. Lane is so precious – what great photos! I love the idea of starting an ornament collection for her, on her own little wreath, I’ll have to “borrow” that for Sweetpea!


    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last blog post..Friday Funny Fieldtrip

  10. Its good to see you carry your ‘simple living’ out in your holiday decorating as well. I need to stop looking at what others do and just be happy with what works for me! Thanks for the peek into your home!

  11. Thanks, I do kind of miss having a tree occasionally, but I like this.

    Dana, I think I’m going to make a little book of photos to keep with Lane’s ornament collection.

  12. love that garland – what a great idea! I had so wanted to put one up this year, as I was inspired by the Nesting Place, but decided it was just too much stress for this year…maybe next!

    jodi @ bpr´s last blog post..Crawling Back Out

  13. We didn’t put up our little tree this year…I may do what you did over your fireplace! But higher…Leo-Monster loves my ornies (hence no tree this year).

    My parents bought my sister and I an ornament every year from the time we were infants. By the time we left home we had a nice collection for our own tree. My mom is continuing this tradition with my niece and nephew.

  14. I enjoyed that. Thank you. : – )

  15. Just lovely Rachel :)

  16. that is a beautiful photograph of Lane smiling with unabashed glee!!!! I finally put my tree up today – had to move the furniture around so that it was in a place where I could actually see it rather than behind the armchair were it was the past three Christmases!!

  17. I like the easy decorating. It’s sometimes fun to put up a tree but doing every year can be too much. Some years I like to just decorate the fireplace, the stair banisters, and a few table tops. This year I must bah humbug because I’ve done nothing.

    Geri´s last blog post..Toothache Home Remedies

  18. I love that last picture, with Lane smiling – what a wonderful capture your lens made! And, I really like the idea of a simple Christmas…

    Lance´s last blog post..Kindness Comes In Small Gestures

  19. Looks delightful! and I agree that the picture of Lane’s smile is just gorgeous! This year I decided just to have a simple nativity in the unused fireplace. Simple is a lovely way to do Christmas :)

    angelvalerie´s last blog post..Surprised by time

  20. Such a creative idea for showcasing your ornaments when you don’t have space for a tree. So cute!

  21. I love your idea of decorating the fireplace instead of a tree to save space. :) No mess or hassle. and your little girl is adorable. :)

  22. Great idea! If you do ever want to do a tree, my tiny fiber-optic tree would fit in any apartment. ;)

    CC´s last blog post..Real Men…

  23. absolutely darling shot of Lane – but really, has she ever taken a “bad” picture? i think not.

    I adore the idea of giving children wreaths to start their own ornament collection. I do believe I will be borrowing that idea from the Small Notebook home for our own girls. Thanks, Rachel!

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post..Troubleshooting and Testing (with a big dose of GRRRRRR)

  24. We have a collection of mini trees, and we haven’t put on one ornament as of yet. I kind of like the simplicity of just only having the lights for this year. However, one year we had to move on Christmas Eve, and we were so tired that we didn’t partake of any Christmas activities. We were just happy to be situated in our new home — where we are now.

    Your husband and little one look happy, and your decorated garland is sweet with all the pretty ornaments. I’m learning that “simple” is a beautiful thing. :)

    Suzy’s last blog post…~ a merry little Christmas ~ with few favorite things or not ~

  25. One small cut tree, a few ornaments, candy canes (to eat), popcorn for the birds, two stockings and a red table runner (too) and that is all. Sitting by the glowing light from the tree is wonderful and more than enough.

    Nina´s last blog post..Cybils Picture Books (21 quick takes)

  26. Lane is so beautiful and full of joy. Love the garland idea and love that Lane enjoys her one little ornament of her very own.

    As always, you’ve shown us that less can be oh so much more.

  27. This year a tree would take up too much precious room in our tiny family room so we let the garland be the only decoration and put a smaller tree on a table in the playroom. What a big hit it was with my boys! I love that your daughter was so happy with her ornament–she doesn’t care if you have a tree!

    The Nester´s last blog post..Tour De Rental: Christmas Version

  28. I am so impressed by the beauty of this I might just steal it for my house! I’ve yet to set up the tree and since I have ongoing construction something simple on my new fireplace seems like the trick! Thanks for the idea Rachel!

  29. she is so cute! we are working to develop traditions of our own (separate from those with our parents) and one i love is to decorate our tree with ornaments of meaning, that come from somewhere we have been, someone we know has been, we have made, etc. and each year, we add a new picture frame ornament, with a current photo of our little family. my husband and i began this tradition when we moved into this house, before our kids were even born.

    nicola´s last blog post..i swear, this only coincides with the new year.

  30. Debbie Raymond says:

    Love your blog! Regarding your ornament tradition – here’s a little hint. I’m so glad I did this over the years. Like you, I purchased an ornament for each child each year. BUT, I also got the same or similar ornament for myself each year. Admittedly, it felt like a materialistic thing to do, but I persisted. Now thirty-three years after we bought that first little wooden airplane, three of my four kids are grown and gone. The most wonderful moments at each of their bridal showers was giving them their box full of tissue-wrapped, treasured ornaments. Best of all, I have a set of my own. Each ornament and cooresponding memory makes me happy!

  31. Thank you so much for this post! I have a bookshelf in the basement filled with Christmas “stuff.” But this year in an attempt to simplify I did just 3 things: wreaths for the doors, decorating the front window and putting up a tree. It looks great, I’m no longer frazzled about the huge task of decorating and I got to focus on the things that really make me happy. Unpacking the ornaments I have collected over the years reminds me of fun events and caring friends and family.

    I’ll be tackling that bookshelf in the basement very soon. There is a trip to Goodwill in my future!

    Juice´s last blog post..I Need An Intervention

  32. Love it love it love it. We have no tree this year because we have a nineteen month old toddler and a first Christmas new-to-us Beagle this year. The baby I probably could have handled but the Beage is a little much just every plain day. The tree would have been way more than I could take. We were getting grief from one of the Grandmas but I decided to talk to the kids about it so they could deflect the questions themselves so I wouldn’t have to get into it with her. Actually I already did explain it to her but then she went after the kids, too. Anyway, I hung tension rods in the windows at the front and back of the house, then used ribbons to hang the decorations from the rods. Once cards started arriving in the mail, I just placed them over the tops of the rods and we can see the pretty fronts above all the decorations. Perfect! And I dont’ spend all my time telling anyone “don’t touch that.”

  33. What a creative idea for an alternative to having a tree.
    Very pretty.