Christmas decorating | family room

by | Dec 3, 2014 | Decorating, Family Room, Holiday, My House, Winter | 19 comments

I am not detail oriented when it comes to picking out a Christmas tree.  I figure one is just about as good as the next, so I don’t angst over it.  I had the guy at the tree farm hold out one and it was clear that the bottom was a bit mangled, so I asked if he could show me another one.  He lifted it up and gave it a turn to fluff the branches.  Jeff was standing behind me and the boys were yelling from the next aisle over that they wanted an 11′ tree.  I looked over the tree the gentleman was holding out.  “What do you think, Jeff?”

 “I think it’s fine.”  He is even less detail oriented when it comes to picking out a tree than I am.

“Okay, then.  That’s the one.”  We had it wrapped up and on the roof of the van in a few minutes and went back home to set it up.

In the driveway, it looked like every other tree we’ve had…maybe a little fuller.  When we got it inside, though, its true size was revealed.  It was big.  Really big.  It filled up the entire space left vacant by our table and chairs.  Jeff then told me he thought it looked too big as we were picking it out.  I just laughed.  That information would’ve been nice before we strapped it to the top of the van.  It’s our tree now, so we’re going to make it work.  We pulled out the hedge clippers and gave it a little haircut.

It is a beautiful tree and I’m so glad neither of us was detail oriented when it came to picking it out.

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I took a couple of pictures of it without the lights, first.  I love having the lights on, but it can be so tricky to balance the light in a picture.  I need to try it with my studio lights or something…

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Of course, I love the bokeh when the lit tree is in the background…

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Here it is all lit up…

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I think this tree took about 1200 lights!

I’ve used antique sheet music bunting on my tree the past few years, but it was really ragged, so I had to pitch it last year.  This year, I ordered some felted wool garland from Anthro and I love how it looks.  I’m going to keep an eye on it after Christmas in the hopes of snapping up a few more strands on sale.

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The ornaments are mostly ones I made with German glass glitter as well as some wooden and mercury glass ornaments and silver bells.

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When Jeff and I were in Charlottesville, I purchased this “cheer” pillow at Pottery Barn.  I usually forego shelling out money on something like this in favor of making it myself, but I really liked it and decided to splurge.  I don’t knit, but I think this could be an easy DIY with old sweaters.

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The other side of the room is pretty simple.  I just put out a dough bowl with greens and pine cones.

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Since we don’t have a mantle, I hung our stockings and some greenery from the wainscoting.

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And I always put out a couple of bowls of mixed nuts.  My Oma always did that and I remember sitting at her coffee table cracking walnuts.

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Our stockings were custom-made for us last year by one of my readers, Kim Jackson.  It’s not always easy to find blue * white Christmas decor, so these are absolutely perfect.

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Under them is our “side foyer” table with some ironstone on it.  I kept it simple and just tucked in a sprig of greenery.

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Underneath the table is a basket filled with sugar pine cones.

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I’m working on a sort-of tutorial on how I made the grain sack tree skirt and will post that in a few days.

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I’ve been hanging out at home to decorate for the past couple of days, but I need to get back into the studio tomorrow.  There are new milk paint colors to introduce, products to list in the online shop and workshops to schedule!


  1. Jeanine C.

    This is all so lovely and cozy. It has a simple elegance to it. I laughed about your tree story. We have a tree story of our own. A few years ago we thought it memorable and romantic if we went to my in-laws’ ranch in CO to get a Christmas tree from their property. I had my heart set on a somewhat tall but narrow-ish tree. Of course you can spend hours picking a tree. Long story short the perfect one was cut. We drove it all the way home to our house to find that what looked like a midsize tree in the forest was a gigantic, Madison Square Garden size tree that dwarfed even a grand piano! Let’s just say my ceiling in that room is about 18′ and we had to cut off a bit for it not to scrape the ceiling. Oh, the laughter that year when seeing peoples’ eyes enter our home and feeling like an elf! And yes, we needed a full size ladder to decorate it!

  2. Liz M


    As usual, your decorating is wonderfully and thoughtfully artistic!! What an amazingly talented woman you are–you have so many creative gifts; inspiring so many women, including me, on a daily basis! I literally thank God for you and pray for you often – for strength, energy and wisdom. You are truly the Proverbs 31 woman!!

    What you do is so important– inspiring women to live productive, creative, beautiful and powerful (mountain moving) lives. I wonder if at some time (when you can’t think of anything else to blog about -ha, ha!) you would share the time management tips and daily routines that make you so successful and productive with your time. You have obviously mastered the art of juggling- maintaining a family, keeping your house picture perfect, while creating the endless stream of wonderful things you sell and blog about.

    So many of us, not so organized but creative women, could really benefit and be blessed by hearing how you do it all!! I can use all the helpful hints I can get!


  3. Kathy

    Everything looks beautiful! I love your big gorgeous tree too!!


  4. Karol

    I love this post and all the pictures. it is so inspiring! I work at a vintage store in Jacksonville, FL and we carry your milk paint. I love sharing with the customers the different techniques and looks they can achieve! 🙂

  5. Cassie T - Lovely Weeds

    Beautiful! I love how simple and understated your Christmas decor is, it’s very classy!

  6. Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    I love how simple your decor is this year! It’s so pretty but feels like a breath of fresh air. The best design is refreshing without feeling too overdone…kind of like make-up. I love the light and airy look! Beautiful!

  7. Katy

    So stinking pretty!!!!

  8. Anne Boykin

    Dear MMS, Your look is always simply understated and I’m inspired to lean down my decorating. Love your look! Hugs, Anne Boykin

  9. Rebecca Kiser

    So nice to see your home again! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Ronda Zalenski

    I love everything you do! Your Family Room looks great…so Christmas(y) and calm at the same time. The tree is beautiful and it’s fun to try different sizes each year. It makes each year exciting and a little unpredictable.
    Oooooo and I LOVE the big basket next to the sofa….I don’t remember you mentioning when you purchased that.
    You always may my day a little brighter!

  11. Debbie C

    I have to ask–how do you keep the fresh greens from getting sap on your furniture, walls and anywhere you put it? Or how do you clean it up after the holidays? I love the look and smell of them but don’t appreciate the sticky mess afterwards!

  12. April

    Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous. Love your tree skirt and funny post about it. My goodness, I may have been in tears. I had the same idea as you about getting felt garland from Antro after the holidays, but it looks like they have sold out of the one you have. It inspired me to make the pom pom one that you have and I love it! I may try my hand at little felt balls…or not. 🙂

  13. Walker

    I love the beautiful simplicity of this! Thanks for sharing, especially when so much is being published with more, more, more Christmas decorations – it’s refreshing to see beautiful Christmas decorations without boxes and boxes of storage being needed!

  14. Jennifer Brennan

    I was telling my daughters the other evening of how we always had a bowl of mixed nuts at Christmas time. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, my mother would get a huge bag for mixed nuts for my father. To this day, I remember sitting in the chair next to the pedestal table with the mixed nuts trying to crack them open. Need to run out and get a bag now for my girls to experience. Thanks for the memory.

  15. Jeannine @ The Concrete Cottage

    Gorgeous! Everything!! I splurged on the Cheer pillow this year too. I’m totally in love with it!!
    Sorry to be a bother because I’m sure you’ve answered this before, but what is the paint color on your family rooms upper walls? I adore it!!

  16. Debbie

    Hi Marian ,
    Amazing! That is what you are! Can you please share the wall paint color used in your family room? Thanks so much for sharing your talent with the world around you!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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