Posts Tagged ‘Christmas 2015’

Properly Organizing Your Christmas Decor

If you’re like me, it takes several weeks to get your home looking the way you want it to for Christmas.  When it’s over, I get a little sad.  I know I will have to put all those beautiful decorations away for another year.  My family loves the lights and decor as much as I do. The house just seems bare when you take down the lights and extra decor.  However, all good things must come to an end and things need to get back to “normal.” There are several things I like to do to make sure my Christmas items are properly organized and put back safely in the attic for next year.

Organizing Your Christmas Decorations

How to Properly Store Christmas Items

  1.  The first thing I like to do is assess what decorations I currently have.  There are several reasons you need to do this.  Some items may not be working anymore or have broken in the process of decorating.   After Christmas is a great time to do any shopping for clearance and sale items.
  2. Use any new inspiration you may have seen throughout the season to come up with new decor ideas for next year.  You may see items that would work with your new theme and you can purchase them for great prices now.
  3. Organize all wrapping materials so you know what you need for next year.  I wrap my kid’s gifts in the paper of their choosing so they are easy to find under the tree.  However, I wrap other packages in paper to match the color palette of my theme.  Knowing this information helps me purchase wrapping paper, ribbon, and gift embellishments year round.
  4. Untangle all lights, garland, and ribbon so items do not become a jumbled up mess in storage.  Use plastic bags or tissue paper to keep items separated.  Label these items and place with the correct storage bin.  I like to hang my wreaths on nails in my attic.  They stay fluffed and the bows stay beautiful all year round.
hang wreath on nails.

Hang wreaths on nails in your attic or storage space.

           5.  Wrapping glass items in bubble wrap or tissue paper is very important. Decorations are very expensive and you don’t want to lose any to improper packaging. Be careful with decor with odd shapes such as reindeer antlers as they tend to be very fragile and hard to store.

        6.   Buy bins for safe and easy storage.  The plastic ones make things easy to see inside.  However, the green and red ones make it visually appealing if you have lots of boxes and bins in your attic.  They easily stand out and you know they are your Christmas items.  Getting the same size bins make it easy for stacking.

             7.   Label boxes with clear packaging tape so you know what contents are in each bin.  You can also move this tape around as your items change or you move the item to another bin.

            8.    Package like items together.  You can group items by theme, color, or specific area such as banister decor etc… It is also a great idea to label what room the bin should go in once out of storage.  That way if someone is helping you bring your boxes down they can easily read where to take the items.

        9.  This is a great time to check your addresses as you receive cards from friends.  Match them with your contacts and change any that you had wrong.  Also purchase cards after Christmas to get a great price on after season items.  Once purchased, you can store with your Thanksgiving items so you can start addressing your envelopes around that time.  It’s never too early to start getting organized.

          10.  Lastly, as you’re taking Christmas items down, deep clean before putting your winter items back on the shelves.  This is a great time to have your home in pristine condition.  I don’t like to put items back unless the house is clean.

I hope these tips helped you get organized and will save you time and hassle when you pull out your items next year.  If you put things back nicely you will be rewarded when you take things out and everything is nicely wrapped, organized, and in great condition.  I hope you all had an amazing holiday and happy New Year to you and your Family.

Yours Truly,


Merry Christmas from the Elys

   Today is Christmas morning!! All the stockings are filled to the brim.

The Christmas lights are all on waiting for the kids to wake up and come running down the

stairs.  I’m enjoying the quiet time

looking at the lights and drinking my tea.  It will soon be chaotic with

Laughter and gifts galore.


I wanted to take this time to thank you for the amazing support

you’ve given me this year. You guys have left such sweet comments

on the blog and on my Instagram feed. Those really mean a lot to me.

I have such amazing family and friends who share in

growing my blog.

Thanks for all you do to help me with my dream job. I will be taking a

couple days

off to spend some time with my family. I will return with new exciting posts

and a winter wedding series in January.


I hope you are able to spend time with your family this

holiday season.  If you aren’t with your loved ones for whatever reason,

I hope you can spend the day with

friends who make you feel special and loved. Most importantly,

that Christ is the true meaning of Christmas.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope 2016 is your best year yet. Peace, Love, and Joy from the Ely family.

Ely Christmas card 2015


Yours Truly,


10 Decor Items That Make me Happy at Christmas

The whole month of December makes me happy. The songs, the food, the decorations, all make it feel like the holiday. There are several things I think of when I’m pulling out my Christmas boxes that I know I just have to include or it won’t feel like Christmas. Of course, traditions are sprinkled throughout the month as well, but here are a couple of my favorite Christmas things.

1. Garland–  I have to have garland on my staircase.  We have a 2 story living room and a large staircase so I have a lot of railing that needs garland.  When I first moved into our current home, I could only afford upgrading the garland that year because I had so much to replace.  I use the 9′ classic garland from Frontgate with pre-lit lights.  It is still going strong after 6 years.  It looks just as good as the day I took it out of the box.  I also have it around the front door outside of our home.

2. lights–  There is something special about the magic of Christmas lights.  Literally, as soon as we wake up my husband turns on the lights and he doesn’t turn them off until we go to bed.  It is so fun to see what your neighbors do outside their homes as well.

3. Food–  I don’t think of Christmas as having one type of traditional food except for cookies for Santa.  However, I know I’m going to eat a ton of it by New Years.  Going to holiday parties and being around family just makes you want to be eat and drink and be festive at gatherings.

4. Christmas Cards–  I can’t wait to get the mail in December.  I keep all the photo cards and cut them down to size and put them in the little picture book albums.  We love to look at the old ones and see how all our friends have grown and changed over the years.  The kids especially get a kick out of how different they look.

5. Wreaths–  I have a special wreath that hangs midway up my 2 story fireplace that I just love.  It’s red and chartreuse green.  It has tons of glitter and sparkle and it is definitely something you can see from the front door when you enter the house.  This is one of the first things I purchased when we found out we were moving to this house 6 years ago. I was so excited about decorating it for Christmas.  I tend to change my themes each year, but the main living space is always traditional red and chartreuse green.

Wreaths artificial or real make it feel like Christmas

I love all the wreaths I put out around the house. I have two on the door that I love and several around the house .


6. Presents– I LOVE GIVING GIFTS. I love buying gifts for people way more then I enjoy receiving gifts. I pride myself on trying to give thoughtful gifts to people that I really think they will like. I spend a lot of time shopping each year and I carefully select gifts and wrapping paper to go along with my tree themes as well. I have it all worked out by family parties we will attend. That way, I know which gifts go to what party and I wrap them accordingly. It makes it a lot easier on me when I’m rushing around party day trying to get ready.

Giving gifts on Christmas morning is one of my favorite things.

I love gift giving. Shopping for that special gift for someone you love makes me happy.

7. Candles– Lighting is such a big deal during the holiday. Not only does it give off such a nice ambiance the smell can actually make memories.

8. Trees– Decorating with Christmas trees is my favorite part of Christmas. I had to give up real trees many years ago because my husband is allergic, but I’m so used to artificial now I can’t imagine having to wait so long to put up a real tree.

9. Mistletoe– This is just plain fun. I  Have this amazing mistletoe crystal that my MIL gave me and I always hang it in the first entry way of my home. I love the tradition behind this little green plant.

10. Family– My family is what makes Christmas special to me.  Spending time with them over the break is the best part.  I love baking with them, watching movies and just being able to have some down time.  I love watching them open their presents on Christmas morning.  Making them happy makes me happy.

What kinds of things make your Christmas holiday special?  What says Christmas to you?  Are there certain things that you have to have present before it can really be Christmas?

Yours Truly,


Decorating Your Christmas Tree

Follow along with me as I show you step by step how I decorate my trees.  Each tree has a different theme and different ornaments, but the steps generally stay the same.  I finally have tree decorating down to a great formula that works for me.  I hope it can help you out too.

This is the first year I am using a flocked tree.  I LOVE IT!!!!  I have always wanted one and I finally took the plunge and invested in one.  I decided to go with the woodsy, rustic theme.  I had already collected the ornaments for the tree a while back.  I was just waiting to find the right tree.  Being patient was hard, but I found my tree at Balsam Hill.  I am not affiliated with Balsam Hill, but I will say I will always buy their trees.  I was able to set it up from start to finish by myself.  It was easy and it looks ahhh-mazing.  It was everything I had hoped for in a flocked tree and they have my business the next time I need to invest in another tree.

7 1/2 FOOT PERFECTLY PLAID TREE–  This tree in my kitchen, is one I’ve changed this year.  I usually do it red and green, but I was excited to change the colors and theme a little.  Here are the steps I took in order when decorating this tree.  I will also list the materials and where I got them from incase you are interested in this look.

Frosted tree picks

Materials for the Plaid tree


  1.  Place frosted greenery dispersed throughout the tree to give it the look of a real tree.  It also lightens up the tree.
  2. Add all berries, sprigs, and twigs next.  This layer adds a lot of texture to the tree.  It also fills in the sparse spots of the tree.
  3. Adding your garland or ribbon is the next step.  On this tree, I decided to wind the ribbon around the tree in a messy in and out pattern.  Wired ribbon is easier to manipulate.
  4. The big ornaments come next.  Place the bigger ornaments (pinecones, mercury glass balls, and larger ornaments) next.  Try to place the ornaments in the holes and layer from the middle out.
  5. Use the smaller and clip on ornaments last.  Fill in where you see bare spots.  Try to mix colors, patterns and shapes throughout the tree.
  6. Stand back and move things around as you see fit.

The materials on this tree are:

  •  frosted greenery, berry sprigs, antler sprigs (Michaels)
  • Red and white striped ribbon (Michaels)
  • Black bulbs (Dillards last year)
  • Red and Black Buffalo check ornament (Pottery Barn)
  • birch wood stars and mercury glass ornaments (Pottery Barn)
  • Black and Red Reindeer (Pottery Barn)

Plaid tree half done

Plaid tree with ribbon

Plaid tree with ornaments

7 1/2 FOOT FLOCKED TREE/BALSAM HILL– This tree is in my library this year.  I love it so much that I think I will put it in a more prominent place next year so I can look at it all the time.   I had already gathered the ornaments for this tree way before I actually had the tree.  The ornaments give this tree a log cabin type feel.

  1. Place frosted twigs in places where you see holes.
  2. Weave Pom pom garland around tree starting at the top.
  3. Place ribbon on the tree starting at the top.  Weave in and out using a wired ribbon for easier use.
  4. Place Noel saying on the tree.
  5. Place biggest ornaments on the tree like the glittered pinecones and the large houses. Most of these will be from the middle toward the bottom.
  6. Finish up with smaller ornaments like the woodland animals.

Flocked tree picks

The materials on this tree are:

  • Brown Velvet Ribbon (Dillards – last year)
  • Most woodland ornaments from Pier 1, Kohls and Pottery Barn
  • Pom Pom Garland (ETSY)
  • Frosted Twigs (Michaels)

Flocked tree picks and ribbon

Flocked tree with garland

Flocked with ornaments

9′ WINTER WONDERLAND TREE- This tree has all white ornaments on it with silver and clear accents.  This room is done with all things to do with winter.  This is my mom’s favorite tree each year.

  1.  Put in the twigs with the little white balls.
  2. Put in the silver leaf picks.
  3. Put on the icy picks.
  4. Weave the silver wried ribbon on the tree.  This is a new ribbon I bought for this year.  I didn’t like the one I had been using.  I love the way this ribbon made the tree look. The other one I used last year was transparent and I didn’t like the final look.
  5. Add the big clip on flowers.
  6. Put on the large ornament.
  7. Add the small ornaments.
  8. Fill in with the the transparent stars and icicles.

winter wonderland with ribbon

Materials are:

  • White ball picks (Michaels)
  • silver leave picks (Michaels)
  • Icy Picks (Michaels)
  • Silver Flower clip on (Michaels)
  • Gray wired ribbon (Michaels)
  • large white ornaments (Pier 1)
  • smaller white ornaments (assortment over the years)

winter wonderland picks

Winter wonderland picks and ornaments

winter wonderland full tree

I hope you got some ideas on the format of how I decorate my trees.  I tried to go with items I had already purchased, but there were several items I added to my collection this year. I always start at Michaels and see if they have what I’m looking for before I head to a department store.   I also like things that not everyone else is going to have. Local boutiques and smaller stores may have decorations that fit with your motif.  Don’t overlook those stores either.  I hope you are checking things off your to do list as Christmas is almost here.  Leave a comment below about how you will spend your holiday this year.

Yours Truly,



My Christmas Trees

It is the most wonderful time of the year! Putting up the Christmas tree is the best part of decorating for me. I love the anticipation of putting up my traditional trees and then thinking of how I might change a couple to give them a slightly different look. It is all so exciting to me. Is it a little crazy that I already have a couple ideas for next Christmas swirling around in my head? It used to be the most nerve wracking part of decorating, because the trees really are the show stoppers. They take center stage in a home. I have always wanted to be good at decorating my trees, but it really is an art form that takes some practice and skill. I finally have a good formula for decorating my trees. I’ve also been collecting my ornaments for about 30 years. It is definitely not something you can just go out and purchase in a year or two. I personally believe you need to spend your money on a good Christmas tree first and then start collecting the ornaments for the look you’re going for.

It always makes me so sad when I see an estate sale with tons of ornaments they’re getting rid of. Not only did they have sentimental value to the owner, but costs thousands of dollars. You can acquire ornaments by going to garage sales, after Christmas sales, using coupons, and going to the dollar store. If you want a certain style tree, I would not settle. I would wait patiently and set out to find exactly what you’re looking for. Start with an amazing tree and fill in the ornaments as you find them. You can also change your tree drastically by just changing up your garland or ribbon. This is a cheaper way to get a different look without changing all your ornaments.  I have found using the wired ribbon is the way to go.  It is much easier to manipulate and place where you want it to go.

Below you will notice all my trees are very different, but all look uniform and done in the same format.  I will show you my trees in this post.  The next post will break down the materials used step by step and how I decorated the tree.  Keep in mind, all of my trees are artificial.  My husband is allergic to the real deal so we haven’t had a real tree for about 18 years.

black and red plaid tree Collage

My perfectly plaid tree was my favorite to decorate this year. I just love the colors and the ornaments.


white tree Collage


woodland treeCollage

These are my three main trees and I love each and every one of them for different reasons. We also have a 9′ family tree that my kids decorate with their Hallmark and homemade ornaments.  I featured that tree last year.  The lights are starting to go out in certain places on that tree and will be replaced next year.  Wednesday’s post will give you a play by play on how I decorate these trees and what specific items I use to decorate each tree.  I also specify where I purchased the item so if you’re interested in picking something up you can check it out.  I would love to hear all about your trees in a comment below.  What is your theme this year?

Yours Truly,


Christmas Home Tour part 2

I hope you saw the first tour and decided to come back for more decorating ideas.  There were just too many pictures to add so I decided to make this a two parter. If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I thought it would be fun to add some frequently asked Christmas questions as well. In my next holiday post, you will specifically see my trees and it will be broken down into how I decorate each tree step by step. Snuggle up and enjoy the last part of the tour.

Plaid table setting

My MIL gave me this centerpiece years ago. I just added the plaid ribbon.

How did you decide on your theme for this year? I found several pieces of inspiration such as a plaid box, a buffalo check pillow and a great ribbon and decided to use these items to build a plaid theme for this year. I was so excited because plaid seemed to be everywhere even in a ton of fall looks. I had no trouble finding everything from plates to wrapping paper. I had a blast creating the look I was going for. I hope you like it too.

Williams Sonoma Plaid plates

I love the Plaid plates from Williams Sonoma.


Traditional red and green with plaid

Sometimes I just love to go back to traditional red and green.

You should never overlook details like setting a gorgeous table. You don’t have to have fancy dishes. White works well and then spice things up with colorful napkins, table runners and place mats.

Traditional table setting

I did the table a couple different ways, but this look was most traditional.


gold reindeer table setting

This table setting was a more glam, glitzy look.

What is your best Hosting tip? Do things in advance like setting your tables and moving furniture. This will give you time to attend to the smallest of details which your guests will surely appreciate.

Glam table

Use flowers to adorn your table. It gives the table a beautiful look.


2 dozen red roses

Two dozen red roses definitely add a special detail to this table.

What is the entertaining rule you live by? Shop your home first and see what you have. Most times you already have what you need and can mix and match things from other holidays to create a beautiful look.

gold reindeer

I got these gold deer from Target. They also had them in silver.


snowflake ornament

I put the snowflake ornament on everyone’s plate. I think it adds a nice touch.


coffee vignette

Set up a little coffee station vignette to give your kitchen that Christmas touch.

Favorite Holiday Tradition? I always make Christmas breakfast and then we eat lunch at my mom’s house after we open gifts. I love that we’ve done that for years.

mirrored chest

This mirrored chest is in my mudroom. This is the fanciest it has ever looked. My husband usually uses that dough bowl for his keys.


cranberries for Christmas

Using cranberries in your Christmas decor is quite easy and inexpensive.


beautiful packages

Beautiful packages can really make your decor stand out.

What is the secret to trimming a perfect tree? Fluff the tree first. Once it is out of the box fluffing an artificial tree is the most important step to making it look more realistic. Also, if you have an artificial tree, stick some real branches in bare spaces.  This makes your home smell really nice and gives the look of a real tree.


I love how this look came together in my upstairs hallway.


Metallics in decoarting

Metallics were very popular for decorating this season.

I hope you made it to the end.  Thank you for stopping by.  If you didn’t see part 1 of my Chritsmas tour, you can check it out here.  Also, I did a collab with my friend Michelle and you can check that post out here.  Please leave me a comment telling me one of your family traditions.

Yours Truly,


Holiday Tray Filled 2 Different Ways

Creating centerpieces are one of my favorite things to decorate for the holidays.  They really dress up dining tables, coffee tables, and end tables. I love getting inspiration from other amazing bloggers, Instagram feeds and Pinterest.  However, you don’t have to use expensive  items to have a fabulous final product. My friend Michelle, from, and I are collaborating today to bring you a special post.  We both purchased the same tray from Target, but we are each going to decorate it differently. Check out her tray at the above link. This way, you can get multiple ways to style the tray.  You will be able to get ideas and see the tray two different ways, but you will also get the advantage of meeting a new blogger who has amazing material.  When you are over on her blog, search around and enjoy her motivational pieces that I love so much.

Holiday Tray Filled 2 ways

Now lets jump into decorating this beautiful tray. I chose to only use materials I purchased at Target and fill in with items I already had.  I wanted to show you that you can have beautiful Christmas decor without breaking the bank.  I got the greenery and the candles in the dollar spot at Target. The cranberry hurricane lamp was with the rest of the Christmas decor from Target.  They also had one with gold accessories if that is more your style.  Let’s get started decorating this tray!

Let’s Get Decorating!

Mirrored Target Tray

You can purchase this mirrored tray from Target’s online store.

Here are the items I purchased from Target to use in decorating the tray.  Most of the items I found in the dollar spot section right when you walk in Target.  I always check this section for great deals and cute items.

Decorations for my tray

Here are all the items I used to complete my look.

I started with the largest item in the center and then used the smaller items to fill in.

Hurricane candle holder

This hurricane candle holder also comes in gold.

After adding the hurricane candle holder, I added the greenery.  The tiny pinecones made it look more realistic.

Tray with greenery

Here you can really start to see what look I’m going for.

You could leave your tray as is.  However, If you follow my blog, you know I love mercury glass.  I collect it and use it year round, but at Christmas time it makes a huge appearance. I already owned the mercury glass balls, but the candles are from the dollar section at Target.

Mercury glass accessories

The mercury glass adds so much to this centerpiece.


Tray works well with the tree

I used this centerpiece on my kitchen island. It is the perfect compliment to the tree in the background.

I hope you got some ideas on how to decorate a centerpiece.  If you get a chance, check out Michelle’s site as well. She has tons of great advice and ideas on how to live life to the fullest. Part 2 of my holiday tour will be coming on Wednesday.  I hope you noticed my new logo.  I have been busy working with Top Shelf Design. They created my fabulous logo and monogram.  I’m so happy with the new look. If you’re in need of a design firm; check them out.  You won’t be sorry.  They are so professional, have a quick turn around time, and made sure I got exactly what I wanted.

 Yours Truly,


Yourstrulyjenn Perfectly Plaid House Tour

I’m so excited to participate in Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday House walk party again this year. If you haven’t seen the amazing line up of homes on this tour, you need to go to day one and check them out at the link above.

It’s my favorite time of year and one of my favorite posts to prepare.  I think I have pulled the best of my holiday pictures to create this house tour for you.  If you are new to my blog, welcome!  I hope you enjoy what you see and will stick around for some other holiday posts.

holiday house walk party

Perfectly plaid tree

This was my favorite tree to decorate.  In the past, I have done this tree in traditional red and green.  I already had the red ornaments, but wanted to do something different this year.  At the end of last year, I started collecting black ornaments knowing I was going to try something a little different.

Birch wood

The rest of the idea for this tree came when I found this plaid box and the buffalo check pillow.  Then I had my theme for the holidays.  I knew I was going to do this tree in red, black and plaid.  I love how the bottom of the tree looks as well.

Two tiered tray

This two tired tray from Painted Fox is one of my favorite things to decorate each season.  I leave a couple things in it all the time and then change out the seasonal items.  The mercury glass candles and buffalo check appetizer plate came from the dollar spot at Target.

one kings lane plates

These plaid salad plates came from One Kings Lane. I knew as soon as I saw them they were perfect for the look I was going for.

Gold centerpiece

I love how this red striped ribbon pulls in the table setting with the Christmas tree.  It’s amazing what a good wired ribbon can do for your decorating.

Cupi & white tree

Someone hopped in to smell Santa’s cookies and milk.  It made the cutest candid shot near my white tree.

white tree with cookies

This tree is done in all white and clear ornaments.  The ribbon is the only thing that is silver.  I felt it needed a little something so I added the silver this year and I really like it.

Plaid centerpiece

My Mother-in-law gave me this centerpiece years ago and I have always loved it.  I just spruced it up with a plaid ribbon this year so it would match my theme.

williams sonoma plaid plates

The plaid table runner and plates came from Williams Sonoma.  The polka dot napkins came from Pottery barn.

glam deer table

I decided to do my table two different ways this year just to give you two totally different looks.  This one is more glam and glitz.

red rose table

I put a gold snowflake on everyone’s plate,  It was definitely missing something until I added this little detail.

lenox dishes table setting

The gold deer from Target go beautifully with my gold rimmed glasses and Lenox china.

coffee station vignette

Everyone needs a little Christmas in their kitchen.  This coffee station matches my theme with  mercury glass and a hint of plaid.

mirrored chest vignette

I love all the frosted white and green in this vignette.  I didn’t really know what I was going to do here at first.  I just started and it came together somehow.  I love using cranberries.  They are so easy and inexpensive to decorate with.

metallics and packages

Decorating with metallics was trending this year.  This was the last place I decorated and it was one of my favorite looks.  Remember, you don’t have to always use red and green in your Christmas look.

black, white and metallics

I had so much fun showing you around my home. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  Please come back and read other holiday posts.  You can see part 1 of my holiday home tour here.  This is my favorite time of year and I have lots to share with you. If you like holiday decor and inspiration, you are in the right place. If you haven’t seen the bloggers on Jennifer’s holiday house walk you must go look at that now. Thanks again for stopping by.

Yours Truly,