Monthly Archives: December 2015

12 days of Christmas: days 8-11

12 Days of Christmas

Days 8 through 11


The 8th day of the ‪#‎12daysofChristmas‬ is about a classic…the Christmas tree. It is my firm belief that you can never have too many trees. Before we moved into our house we only had room for one small tree in our condo. I simply could not have put another tree in that condo without making it feel incredibly cluttered and uncomfortable. It was sweet and fun and I loved it. But now that we have a house, theres space for more holiday fun. So we have the big family tree in the living room, a smaller tree in the dining room, the two small trees in the boys’ rooms, and a teeny tiny tabletop tree on our dining table. I love having the twinkling lights all over the house, especially at night. And I love how they add cheer to every room. Now to drink hot cocoa while sitting in the glow of the lights.

IMG_2510On the 9th day of the ‪#‎12daysofChristmas‬ we have another tree, but this one is different. In our kitchen we have a wall with chalkboard paint (there will a blog post on my love of chalkboard walls at some point in the future, for sure.) The boys love it. And we almost always have a theme drawing up high–a turkey for Thanksgiving, a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s day, a cake and balloons for birthdays, and this year a Christmas tree for Christmas. The boys can still draw down low but the theme drawing decorates that corner for whatever celebration is on the horizon and acts as inspiration for the boys to begin to learn to draw more themselves. That corner turned out to be beautiful, festive, creative, and inspiring–exactly the type of home I want for my kids.


On the 10th day of the ‪#‎12daysofChristmas‬ it’s about…trees again…kind of…but not really. My love of Christmas trees and twinkling lights runs deep (as evidenced by previous posts) but today I’m talking about what goes at the bottom of the tree. I love decorations with history like those passed down in the family. But I did not like the country quilt tree skirt we had while I was growing up and was sent to me by my mother when we had our first big tree. Then I saw an amazing “why didn’t I think of that” idea on @realgirlskitchen blog. Check out her California Christmas blog entry earlier this month to see how cozy and beautiful her tree looks. And look at the difference in our tree with the green & white check blanket, which we already had, (and a train track for the boys). I will be on the lookout for a fuller, more textured throw for next year but much prefer our new tree skirt to the quilted one that didn’t speak to me at all. Your home, your clothes, your holiday decorations should be a reflection of you.


On the 11th day of the ‪#‎12daysofchristmas‬ we have the small (and sometimes forgotten) spaces. I am a firm believer that no front door should be without a wreath during the holidays. Our lovely wreath is a @llbean wreath that my uncle sends us each year. (FYI this is a great gift idea; I look forward to receiving it every year.) I also believe that every space should be sprinkled with holiday love. From the shelf up high to the cup rack and the window over the sink, I want to see Christmas everywhere I look, even if it is only a small reminder.

12 Days of Christmas

Day 7…a family tradition

The 7th day of the ‪#12 days of Christmas‬ is about tradition as much as decoration. (I like family traditions…a lot.) This year is the first year my boys have small trees in their rooms. They were so excited about the trees and twinkle lights, but even more so when I told them that I had bought an ornament for each of them every year at Christmas and they could hang their ornaments on their own trees if they wanted. It’s a Dwyer family tradition. And it is one of the greatest. IMG_2476Growing up my mother would put a new Christmas ornament by everyone’s seat each year for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a festive favor for any guests we had and an amazing tradition for the kids. It was something I looked forward to each year, as these ornaments went on the small trees we each had in our bedrooms and meant by the time we became adults we already had a collection of meaningful ornaments. By the time we left our parents’ house we would be ready to decorate our very first Christmas trees in our own homes. I love that in doing something so small each year, my mother really was doing something so big. It never occurred to me as a young child that each ornament was part of a larger plan, but I was so grateful when I got older and put up my first tree that I did not need to spend a fortune on ornaments and my tree was covered in beautiful memories. I still hang those same ornaments on the tree each year with my kids. And while I never host Thanksgiving dinner, I love the tradition so much that I have bought a new ornament for each of our sons each December and presented it to them before adding it to our tree. You could also give an ornament as a present for the feast of St. Nicholas if you celebrate that or have your elf bring an ornament for each child every year if your an elf on the shelf family. Or you could add an ornament to the gift wrap on a present to each child on Christmas morning as my grandmother used to do (she may have been in on the plan or she may have just been super fun and festive, she was probably both). But it is a tradition I loved as a child and continue to love as a momma.

12 Days of Christmas: Days 5 & 6

12 Days of Christmas

Days 5 & 6

I planned on writing up the blog posts for #12daysofChristmas in three posts each covering four days, but I have decided to update the blog more often so I can share a little more than the small entries I write for Instagram and Facebook. While many of the Christmas decor ideas I share are to inspire the holidays to be as festive and beautiful as possible, others are inspired by something greater, like family traditions (make sure to read day 7) and the true meaning of Christmas (check out day 6 below). I hope my ideas inspire you not only to decorate your home (or office or any other space you live, work, breathe) beautifully but to truly enjoy this special time with your loved ones and begin some traditions of your own. Now onto days 5 & 6…


For the 5th day of Christmas we’re talking tree decorations. I strongly believe each Christmas tree should represent all of a home’s inhabitants and there should be a good mix of old and new. Our family Christmas tree has ornaments passed down from parents and grandparents, others that represent my husband and my alma maters, some bought from our favorite vacation destinations, & some that were made with our boys. There is also a good mix of new ornaments that are just fun, beautiful, or deemed necessary by our boys (i.e. Thomas the tank engine). The tree is a beautiful representation of our whole family (big lazy dog included) and what the season is all about: love and gratitude.



Day 6 of ‪‎the 12 days of Christmas‬ is celebrating the nativity. If Christmas is a religious celebration for you, as well as a secular holiday, a nativity is a must. It is a great way to begin talking about the birth of Jesus with your kids while they are still young, but the nativity is also a visual reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. And it is a reminder that we could all use from time to time throughout the holidays as the craziness and stress of all that needs to be done becomes overwhelming and can impact our attitudes and behaviors towards others. In our home the nativity is mix and match, of course. The basic nativity was a present from friends and is supplemented perfectly by the three wise men made by my mom from discarded chair legs. I love these three wise men. And every Christmas they remind me to be thankful for the absurdly creative mother I am blessed to have.

Have you noticed themes to my decorating style? If not, you will over time. Just in the #12daysofChristmas posts there is at least one theme repeating: DIY, one of a kind items. 

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

Days 1 through 4…

Last Wednesday I began a series of instagram/Facebook posts entitled the 12 days of Christmas, a post every day (Monday-Friday) through Christmas Eve with my favorite ideas for celebrating Christmas. (Quick aside: if you aren’t following me on instagram or following me on Facebook, click the links above and follow and like away!) It’s taken me a couple days to have the time to bring the 12 days posts to the blog so today I will be sharing the first 4 days and will add days 5-12 in two additional posts, each sharing four additional ideas to spread holiday cheer. Without further adieu…days 1 through 4…

For the 1st day of Christmas I shared an idea that suggest not all clutter is bad, and when the additional “things” are a collection they can be quite fun and festive. At our house we love Santas and snowmen & women, but you could choose anything you love: snow globes, Angels, reindeer, whatever brings a smile to your face. Place them all together (the closer the better), in one or two chosen spots for holiday fun with a decorators’ flair.


For the 2nd day of Christmas, we talked holiday cards. I LOVE getting holiday cards. (Who doesn’t love getting holiday cards now that so many have updated photos of our family and friends, many of whom we don’t get to see nearly as often as we’d like?) And I love incorporating them into our Christmas decor. Use your favorite basket, find a fun holiday basket or bowl (like mine below), or buy a large glass canister (Crate and barrel’s heritage jars are great) to corral your cards in a beautiful display that you can enjoy throughout the holidays.


The 3rd day of Christmas was all about gingerbread! I will admit that the making of our gingerbread house and tree may have gotten a little tense (I may be a bit OCD which doesn’t always combine well with a toddler and preschooler and crafts) but we survived and everyone was happy (at least by the end). A gingerbread house (or tree or train or sleigh or whatever else you can find, there are so many options these days) is a must do if you have kids but also a great activity for a couple or super creative festive single as well. In the end homemade decorations are always everyone’s favorite. And a tradition that involves making one is even better!


For the 4th day of ‪Christmas I shared my love of advent calendars! I have long loved advent calendars and when I was young my favorite way to countdown to Christmas each year was hanging handmade felt ornaments on the handmade felt Christmas tree, all painstakingly made by my super creative mama. How she had time or the patience to make it while home with three kids? I do not know. But I am so glad she did. Receiving it last year made my heart flutter with happiness. Sharing it with my boys, who love it as well, makes my mornings brighter. I said it before and I will say it again, homemade decorations are always the best ones. And you could never go wrong with an advent calendar. Start searching Pinterest for ideas for one to make today! (You’ll probably need to start brainstorming now in order to find the time to make it by next year. 😬)


Follow me on Instagram or Facebook for daily doses of Christmas inspiration or check back here in four days for the next recap. Until then, drink some hot chocolate, sing holiday songs, watch some Christmas movies, and enjoy time with your loved ones….