Today marks the start of the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend here in Old Town Alexandria. It's my favorite weekend of the year, and is the perfect festive kick off to our holiday season. The town is abuzz, homes are adorned with their holiday finest, and the chill in the air hints of fun, family, and much cheer throughout the month. 

Tomorrow we'll be attending the Designer Tour of Homes to see how other residences in town are all decked out for the holidays (and congratulations to our winner of the ticket giveaway!), but first we thought you might like to see our Old Town Home all gussied up for the season. 

This year we took a more natural approach to our decor. Not only do I love the look, feel, and smell of fresh greens this time of year, but I'm having surgery early next month that will leave me on crutches for several weeks. So the less we take out of the attic now, means the less Alex has to put away next month when I'm laid up. So outside of our trees and a few cherished holiday items, we kept it pretty simple (and recyclable) this holiday season.

While decorating for the season can be a bit daunting, especially on a timeline, I tried to make it more fun this year by making sure we were well nourished to take on the tree trimming task. A great Christmas playlist, bottle of bubbly, and a cheese and fruit board made the evening a great family event. Too bad we decimated the food and drink before a single ornament went on the tree. Perhaps not my best executed plan.

These too lovable goof balls also kept us entertained while we hung all of our ornaments on the tree. As you can see, Christmas has everyone getting along this time of year. 

Christmas happens to be Mel's favorite time of year, when he can snooze under the boughs of the tree, warmed by the twinkling lights. We refer to him as "Sap Head" during the month of December because he sports a sticky noggin from all of his beneath-the-pine slumber.

We did manage to get the trees decorated. That's right. Trees, plural. Let's start with a look at the main tree, snugly situated between our living and dining rooms, with hand blown glass ornaments (218 to be exact, we counted as we hung), plaid ribbon, and red berry sprigs and garland. We love this spot because it's visible from our living, dining and family rooms, and it doesn't require moving any furniture. I added a couple red bows to our mantel topiaries, our embroidered stockings, and a few other touches and called the living room done.

Our second, smaller tree is set up in the sun porch. This tree features a silver and white theme with clear and mercury glass ornaments. The tree skirt is a piece of burlap that we wrap around the stand and wood box the tree sits on. I'm not sure what it is about the feel or smell of the burlap, but we can't keep Mel and Lulu off of it. Most of the month of December is spent crouched over rearranging the burlap as they like to pull it off and lay on it. You can see evidence of their antics in the photo below.

Using greens from a friend's yard and wrapped vases, ornaments and pine cones left over from 2012 when our house was on the home tour, I quickly assembled two small arrangements that I'll use as centerpieces when entertaining and as decor when we're not.

Tonight we're hosting a small group of friends, so in honor of the Scottish Christmas Walk weekend I've decked out the table and buffet with tartan runners. 

We even broke out our wedding stemware and china (after 12 years of marriage, I'm happy to report that as of last night all of our place settings now have the stickers removed!), and for the first time ever are using the leaves in our dining table. 

 A bow, fresh greens, ornaments, and pine cones round out the mantel in this room.

Outside we hung a live boxwood wreath on each window, complete with a tartan bow. Only having three windows makes this a manageable endeavor, no question. 

I also used surplus pine branches trimmed from our living room tree to spruce up the urns out front, and we added two electric candles to each window. 

Overall I'm happy with how our holiday decor came out. It wasn't too overwhelming, and the house still looks ready for the holidays. In fact, the only one of us who needed a nap when we were finished was Lulu. She was probably just worn out from fighting Mel for space on the burlap tree skirt.

What are your plans for holiday decor this year? Are you going all out to be the house with the most, or would you rather enjoy just a little festiveness to allow more time for fun?

Comments 12


Becky Caudill
12/5/2014 at 5:15 PM
I've been decorating for a week and I'm still not done. It's so much harder in the apartment than the house.

Good luck! Are you making cookies again this year?

12/5/2014 at 10:33 PM

Love your fresh approach to Christmas decor, plus the tartan touches. Too funny that all refreshments were gone before any ornaments were hung. Actually, if you two downed a bottle of bubbly and still hung hundreds of ornaments and other decor--hold your heads high!!
And if the "goofballs" picture becomes a Christmas card, I insist you put me on the list!


Sadly I ordered our cards before we took this photo of Mel and Lu under the tree. It would have made a great holiday card though!

Jenifer Ann
12/6/2014 at 1:59 PM
Are you guys doing that walking tour again this year?

Our house isn't on the tour, but we attended the tour earlier today. Beautiful homes again this year!

Franki Parde
12/6/2014 at 2:52 PM

Looks lovely!! Doing it "minimally" this, our first year in our log cabin...always went "all out" in our English Tudor...sadly, now, just a good memory. Back to busy, etc.! franki

12/6/2014 at 10:15 PM

Beautiful as always.

12/7/2014 at 3:01 AM

nice way to prepare for Christmas.

12/8/2014 at 12:10 PM

I'm still very minimal at this point. Advent wreath and outside decorations/lights only.

I'll do the tree and mantle on the 21st and leave everything up until Jan 6.

I usually have two trees as well - a tiny one in the kitchen and the big one in the dining room side bay window where you can see the lights from the street.

The kids (son and DiL) have a huge tree that you can see from the street in their living room and lights across their porch. Most of the neighbors have at least a few lights and the big Victorians a couple blocks down go all out. There are light and cutout displays in all the traffic circles in that neighborhood - Dickens this year (they have three or four sets and rotate through them.)

I love your decorations - especially the blown glass; are you decorating at the beach house, too?


Sounds lovely! I bet it's nice to know the neighbors can also enjoy your (and your son and DiL's) hard work.Alt smile

No decorations at the other house this year other than a wreath on the front door. Since we don't have any real furniture yet, it seemed silly to put forth the effort in a house that's still largely empty.

12/11/2014 at 8:57 AM

I'll bet you are looking forward to that "Christmas Staircase" eventually though!

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