share post

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

A Christmas That Is Memorable

Hello! Hope you all are getting into the Christmas spirit! I am having fun finishing up my Christmas decorating! As always, keeping it pretty simple (remember last year’s simple decor?), because that’s apparently the only way I enjoy doing it. I had to laugh at myself earlier, I was remembering that I said I wanted to do more decorating than last year and for a moment I got all inspired and thought maybe I would try to be a little more fancy.

So in an out of body experience, I set up my entry table, gathering room console and mantel with more greenery than usual and stepped back to admire it. Then I immediately tore it all down. Nope. It wasn’t right. Even though it was just extra greenery, I couldn’t do it. I realized when I dreamed of doing more I meant a touch of Christmas in more rooms, not MORE of anything piled up on every surface. Nothing wrong with more if you love it, but in my house is just makes me feel all twitchy to have an excess of anything. And feeling twitchy is not good. So I grabbed all the extra greenery (leftover from our Christmas tree, nothing I bought extra) and tossed it outside.


I was thinking this week that if I felt the pressure to style my house for the perfect photo shoot as a blogger, I’d be all kinds of stressed out right now. I’m GRATEFUL that simplicity in decor is what I’m naturally drawn to. It saves my sanity and is a big part of why I enjoy blogging, because I’m able to be authentic with you all here. I don’t want to (nor do I) bring in extra furniture style a photo, rearrange, or do a lot of extra “styling” in order to get a perfect photo. I avoid putting a crazy amount of pressure on myself to do more than I want to. I always strive to keep doing what I would normally be doing around my house as much as possible, even if I wasn’t a blogger.

A Christmas That Is Memorable

I think we would all agree that if we try to be or do something that doesn’t feel right to us in this season of our life, we stress. When we do things for the wrong reasons, we feel pressure instead of joy. That uneasy feeling when you pull out all those Christmas bins might just mean it isn’t the right year (or the right style!) to go all out on the Christmas decor. And that’s OK. Or if you are in a season where you love every minute of all the Christmas glitz or enjoy bringing out all your treasured ornaments, that’s wonderful too! I think it’s more about being authentic and true to yourself and doing what is right for your family than it is about following anyone else’s way of doing things. Don’t you think?

Even though I am inviting you all over Monday to see my house for the Holiday Home Tours, I avoid the big stress of trying to do something “Pinterest or photo-worthy” by just keeping the focus on decorating for myself and our family, to keep our own traditions alive (within the limitations of my own time and energy, of course!). That’s what I want to share with you, our home. I do my best to keep it real for you, too, because honestly it’s more important to me to be authentic, realistic and true to my style, myself and my family than it is to create a bunch of images that aren’t really who I am at all. I have to love my home and live with all the projects I do in real life, too, not just do what might impress for a photo.

A Christmas That Is Memorable

I’m really enjoying preparing for Christmas because I remind myself I don’t have to live in a Christmas show house, I just want to create special memories for my family. For us, that means keeping simple traditions, like getting a real live tree that our family cut down together. Last year we cut down a huge tree that we just enjoyed without the pressure to decorate it. My son, Luke, especially loves the tradition of cutting down a real tree and I do my best to keep that tradition alive for him.

I love that we slowed down to make those memories together again this year at the tree farm. Yeah, we have several faux trees in tubs under our house that probably would have looked just as great in photos, but they aren’t the same to my son. It took an hour from start to finish to load up the dogs and go to the tree farm and cut down a tree, but it was time well spent. My son is fourteen and I know there will be only a few more years of creating these memories for him while he is still under our roof! It’s not a burden to keep those memories alive, those traditions matter. He doesn’t care about baking Christmas cookies. He doesn’t care what ornaments I use. For him, it’s about the family going out to cut down a tree and keeping a few other family-oriented traditions.

What really matters to your family?

Those experiences we treasure for a lifetime are what we all really want to create, whatever way we do that in our own family. If I get cranky trying to keep up with Christmas expectations like a crazy woman, it’s my own fault for over-doing or over-emphasizing the wrong things. We are far too hard on ourselves sometimes, we don’t have to do everything. We just need to do what really matters!

So no matter what kind of Christmas decorator you are, all-out decorator or the queen of simplicity, whether you are a blogger or not, remember the goal is creating memories for your family at home, not creating or maintaining a show house!

I think there is a reasonable balance to strive for. Don’t make Christmas so simple that it isn’t magical or memorable for those you love, or so complicated and exhausting that it loses its shine. As cliché as it may sound we need to remember the reason for the season. It’s easy to get caught up in all the decor, the baking, or the gifts and miss out on what our family really needs.

So this weekend let go of guilt for things you don’t have to do, but DO find simple ways to make and keep good memories that your family will remember for a lifetime. Even if it is just you living in your home now, give yourself the gift of a memorable Christmas.

See you Monday for the Christmas tour!


  1. Emily Clark

    This was my favorite post of the season so far. I was just thinking last night that I should probably put up more “stuff” around our house. But, WHY?? My kids certainly don’t care, and I’ve got 1001 other things to do. I love your approach to blogging and life. Thanks for the Saturday morning pep talk :)

  2. Melia

    Thank you for your honesty, and your desire to be authentic…even for the cameras. :)

  3. Ms Maggie

    I agree- simple is the way to go – our second home by the sea has a tree decorated with shells that have a natural hole for hanging. It was fun gathering them and they add that touch that brings smiles and touching of the bits that survived the rough PNW beach enviro!

  4. Lisa N

    Thank you for sharing this today, you have no idea how much so needed to hear this right now!

  5. Patricia

    I’ve gotten a lot simpler in my Christmas style as well. No cookie baking frenzy. No swags of greenery all through the house. No Christmas lights on the extremely high eaves of our tudor revival house (it was always droopy and uneven with lights missing). No themed Christmas tree.
    Instead I put up the pre-lit tree, set out unbreakable ornaments and let the two grandkids at it. They have a lot of fun and it looks pretty good (the nearly three year old hangs everything at knee level). I bake pumpkin bread and gift wrap that instead of cookies. And our Christmas lights all drape at ground level over the bushes and along railings.
    And everybody is happy…

  6. Heather

    Thank you for this beautiful post I needed to hear this reminder / encouragement from another decorator! I’ve been struggling with the pressure to do more but haven’t had the energy to do it due to my health and have felt guilty. I’m going to use the joy odometer this holiday season to decide if things are rigt for our family or not.

  7. Maureen D

    As I read this today I was struck by the fact it is so refreshing and inspiring to hear your truth. No apologies no excuses just owning tour truth and living it. It was an incredibly wonderful way to start my day. Thank you.

  8. Lisa @ Shine Your Light

    Melissa, I really think this is what is so attractive about your blog and posts – you are always authentic. I appreciate that so very much, especially in today’s blogging world of fabulous, House Beautiful worthy home tours. I just want to make our home cozy, special, and meaningful. I love that you cut down a tree every year, and don’t have to have a perfect tree for your blog photos – fist pump – thanks for being so real!

  9. Diane Cummings

    Hi there;
    I so enjoyed your blog today! Yes, I have to agree that those “traditions” really mean so much. For us, like your family, living in Oregon, going to cut down our tree was a huge family tradition. And, just as your son Luke loves cutting down the tree, the same was true for our son Kyle. Kyle also liked using only multi-colored lights on our tree. One year we put up only red lights inside and out and I have to say it was a very disappointing Christmas for him. Kyle passed away in 2010, 3 days past his 25th birthday. It has been such a struggle for our family loosing a big light in our family. So, from now on we will only use multi-colored lights just for Kyle. Right now we are in a transition period. We are building a home so we are currently in a rental that has much to be desired. But, we have a large rose bush right outside our front room window, so I went an purchased a “net light” in multi-colors of course, and threw that over the rose bush-just for Kyle. We will have no tree this year because of the home being so very small. So, we are going very simple this year, and you know what, it feels really good. This causes us to focus more on the birth of our Savior-this is really what it is all about anyway. Love reading your emails and look forward to your books coming out. God bless you and your family this Christmas, and hug Luke for me, I so miss those strong arm hugs.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I’m so sorry for your loss of your son. I can’t even imagine. Thank you for sharing a bit about him, it’s wonderful that you can honor him by remembering what was special to him. I am giving my son a big hug with tears rolling down my cheeks for you, Diane. Take care and Merry Christmas!

  10. valarie


  11. lemonademakinmama

    Sometimes I swear we share a brain. I just posted my house tour…and my sentiments about decorations and they closely echoed what you have said here. I am so thankful for you and all the inspiration you share. ♡ Sasha

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      We are totally kindreds. If I could just move into your house I’d skip the decorating altogether and be happy as a clam, your home is GORGEOUS. Thanks for stopping by Sasha!!!

  12. Barbara (WA)

    Thank you for this well written post. Being forced into only being able to do a little this year (due to the ongoing house chaos & the broken wrist) I’ve mostly felt free of pressure. But then I start feeling expectations creep in – from whom? Mostly from within. My new DILs are taking the reigns and I am pretty excited about that – new & meaningful times coming right up!!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Well goodness, Barbara, you take care of yourself! I’m glad you have great DIL’s to take the reigns and give yourself a break to just ENJOY!

  13. teresa

    Everything about this post was just what I needed to hear today. being empty nesters….it can be hard sometimes to “do” something especially if you are going away to a child’s home for Christmas- I like when you said “Don’t make Christmas so simple that it isn’t magical or memorable for those you love, or so complicated and exhausting that it loses its shine.”
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom-
    Merry Christmas

  14. lisa bivona

    this is a great post. In a time Where families are cutting back, it is an inspiration to read your words. Family!

  15. Penny

    Thank you!

  16. dawn@joyfulscribblings

    Very well said Melissa! I have been feeling overwhelmed and have gotten a late start to my decorating. I also feel pressure as a blogger to keep up. I enjoy decorating and wrapping pretty packages, but it can all be quite overwhelming which then takes the joy out of the season for me. My family gets neglected which is the very thing I should be focused on. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to enjoy every moment and not compare myself to others. You are an inspiration!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks Dawn, it is so hard as a blogger to not compare! So many talented women out there knocking the holidays out of the park! It’s not easy putting yourself up for comparison, so I totally know how you feel. I just have to push those feelings away because I can only do what I do — and it will never measure up, but it will be just right for us and our family and that’s what really counts.

  17. Kristen

    Great post – thank you so much. It’s unbelievable to me how, in “blogland”, everyone is practically fully decorated *to perfection* the day after Thanksgiving. I just don’t believe it. I just don’t believe that those people aren’t stressed and missing out on the true family time that these holidays are really about. I enjoy looking at beautiful homes as much as the next girl, but I also enjoy a dose of reality and honesty. Thanks for always providing that!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  18. Barbara (WA)

    BTW, we always cut down a tree at the tree farm but when the boys started arguing about who got to weld the saw last year I began to take a photo ~ proof of whose turn it was (pre-digital)!

  19. noelle

    Such a wonderful post!!! I am enjoying the simplicity of a few Christmas touches around the house, and not having a crazy long to-do list!!! Looking forward to the week of Christmas when all my children and my mom come home!!! Just a lot of laughter, food, and special memories.

  20. Debbie Price

    Thankyou for this article. It seemed to hit home. It is just me at home now and I am just going to do some simple decorating and that feels ok. I had thought I wouldn’t do any but now I am.; your gift to me. Thanks

  21. Patti

    You are not the only blogger I’ve read about taking it simple this year. I was feeling so out of step, should I cut out my beloved glitter…my coloured lights…my candles….my ME. I’ve got two kids, an 8 year old who only cares about the tree, how it gets in the house he doesn’t care about, he only cares about helping me put the ornaments on it. And a 2 year old, who loves the lights and sparkle, the singing stuffies, and a tree that he can poke. That is Christmas to me, surrounding myself with magic, making magic for my kids. Thanks to you I’m not going to do simple because everyone else is but because I don’t want to. And that’s okay too.

  22. Lorri

    What a great post. What type of Christmas trees are those that you and your son are standing in front of?

  23. Louise

    Melissa you’ve clearly struck a chord! For us this year, the over-hauled kitchen is the Gift as well as the Reason for No Decorations (Yet). My husband and I are thrilled with how it’s looking so far, and our grown children are excited about the look and new venue for the shared family experiences coming up. Which brings me to my son’s favorite part of Christmas–which is diametrically opposed to my own desire/need to simplify. He loves to prepare the Christmas Eve meal, one of multiple courses and multiple ways of cooking fish–the Italian tradition which he loves to carry on. What he has acknowledged privately to me is that it’s the cooking together that he deeply loves, being together as a family. I cannot argue with this, right? so This Show Must Go On! And I’m thankful.

  24. Julie

    Hi! Where do you get the industrial buffet and the plates on the wall!?! I love it.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you! The console is from World Market, it might be unavailable online now but here is my direct link: . The plates have been gathered from different inexpensive places like TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Target!

  25. Janet Lev

    Beautifully expressed and a message for all of us this holiday season.

  26. Brenda Kula

    I find it hard to conceive of styling all my photos. I photograph where I live with my two dogs, which is a one-bedroom apartment. There isn’t a lot of room to decorate. And I don’t want readers to think that is how I live. Because then they wonder why they don’t live like that. It is a fairy tale world. And just like young girls feel the need to look like skinny models, we bloggers need to be real too. So that we aren’t putting on a show that isn’t at all reality-based.

  27. Robbie Zeller


    This is such a meaningful and great blog post! Thanks so much!

  28. Colleen

    Hello Melissa,

    I understand feeling “twitchy”. I cannot decorate too early for Christmas, it makes me feel claustrophobic having all of that decor out, I thought that I was just, well, a bit strange. It’s nice to know others feel “twitchy” with too much stuff. :) I love your post. I so agree, keep Christmas special for your family and needs, keep it simple.

  29. Karen on Bainbridge Island

    Pine needles be gone! Didn’t work. They are still there, and more are sure to follow me into the house.

    The northwest is an inspiration that finds it’s way into my holiday decorating as well. A few years ago I started migrating more toward winter vs strictly holiday. More greenery, more reindeer, and much simpler. I spend a day pulling out those things I wanted to use, then spend another week tweaking it bit by bit until it looks intentional but not overdone.

    I think your home looks so wintry and peaceful. You hit just the right note. Festive not frantic. Well done!

    Looking forward to part two.

  30. Lauren Baxter

    This is exactly what I needed to read, sometimes I get a little wrapped up in the excitement and expectation of Christmas and forget about what’s really important and what matters most, family and tradition. Thank you so much for posting this

  31. martina

    very meaningfull reading,
    but I do not understand how you can kill a tree, because it makes your house smell good,
    sure it must give your family a better feeling, to plant your tree and see it grow after christmas, and use the same tree next christmas, like a friend.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox