deck the halls

It’s December and the halls of the Hayes house have been fully decked for Christmas… so let’s talk decorations!

I’ve had this wreath made from red glass ornaments for a couple years now, and I love the contrast with the navy door… and how light and bright the entryway is with some garland/lights strung around it. I wish the garland was more full, but such is life… maybe I’ll remember to get something better next year. Not pictured are cute little wreaths hung on each of the 5 front windows with a red ribbon, as well as the front bushes covered in white lights. Yay for Christmas lights! It makes me so happy to pull onto our street this time of year… so many festive houses all aglow!

I wanted to update our dining room decorations without having to buy a bunch of new pieces, and when I found these feathery white balls at West Elm, I knew I could do something fun involving a couple of them. I bought 2 and decided they needed to be strung from the light fixture above the dining room table. Instead of the usual colorful decor I’ve had the past several years, I went more neutral and sparkly with white, gold, and silver. I strung a couple unused ornaments from the remaining arms of the chandelier for a fun, flowy effect.


Every Christmas, my grandmother Nana has given a Nutcracker to all of her children’s families. Once her grandchildren have a home of their own, she gives them one as well. Here’s my little collection of three — the new guy with the sparkly red and green jacket is my favorite. I have them displayed in the dining room on the buffet that Craig’s grandfather built. It’s a fun tradition to look forward to each year!


I love having a big, tall fireplace to decorate for the holidays. This giant wreath  is from the Martha Stewart Collection at Home Depot, and these great metal reindeer stocking hangers (and decorative reindeer on the left) are from Pottery Barn. They look like they’re made of silver sticks, and the bases are heavy and deep enough to hold really full stockings — the more goodies, the better! Except that Craig swears our adorable stockings are only big enough to hold a dollar bill… apparently they don’t stretch enough for his liking.


I grew up having live Christmas trees every year and just loved them — the smell, the feel, the fullness. But that was probably partly because I wasn’t responsible for buying/hauling/setting up/decorating/watering it. Now that it’s our turn, we opted for a fake, pre-lit tree from Home Depot. This is our 4th Christmas with our fancy tree, and it’s still going strong. One of my favorite parts is that all we have to do it set it up and plug it in, and it’s all shiny and bright! No unwrapping what seems like miles of tangled lights that we threw in the box the year before. No bristles to clean up, no tree-watering duties. However, I am a little jealous of all those instagram photos I’m seeing of friends at Christmas tree farms lately… so maybe next year, we can add a real tree somewhere in the house for a little extra festiveness.

Last year, I got a little crafty and made a big bow for the tree topper. I went with a shimmery gold ribbon that has wire through the sides to I could shape it nicely. As for how it came together…. staples. Lots of staples. But nobody coming to our house is tall enough to see that, so I’m ok with it.

I always ooh and ahh over those grand, immaculate trees covered with lots of colored glass balls and ribbon, but my favorites are the ones with personalized ornaments that have been made out of popsicle sticks, painted by hand, or filled with a photo of family. For years, I have been collecting special ornaments from all of our travels…. Austria (where I studied abroad), Charleston (where we got engaged), Peter Island (where we honeymooned)… you get the idea. Those ornaments fill much of our tree, and I love looking at them year after year and remembering those special events, people, and trips. Several childhood ornaments have also been handed down to us by our moms – Craig’s favorite is the one featuring Ninja Turtles riding a sled. And my mom just gave us the cutest personalized Coco replica, which is now front and center on the tree.

After a couple years of searching, I finally found a nativity scene that I really like. I got this at an antique market in Jacksonville last weekend. It’s more abstract than the typical nativity scene — each piece is made of rusted metal and secured to a little wooden base. Aren’t they fun?

I think this recipe is from the December issue of Food Network Magazine, and I’ll definitely be breaking out the crock pot for this one. I just need to find ‘Home Alone’ on TV and I’m set! I hope y’all have fun decking your halls, too!


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