Something Old, Something New in Holidays

Thank you so much for reading and entering the drawing for Jodi Helmer’s book, “The Green Year: 365 Small Things you can do to Make a Big Difference.” The winner of the random drawing is Becky! Congratulations, Becky! Please contact me via email at with your address. I would also like to thank Jodi Helmer, who made this giveaway possible. I recommend you get the book (there’s great deals online today!) it is truly one of the best books out there.

This was so much fun, I’ll be doing giveaways throughout the holiday season, so make sure you check back regularly!

Now, for today’s post:


I didn’t spend Friday trying to grab the latest deals on more stuff, nor will I spend Cyber Monday trying to find the greatest deals online. We used to do the mad shopping dash, but do very little holiday shopping now.

Still, this weekend was spent with some old traditions and with many new ones here at The Little House. When Dale and I had tons of family to spend to spend the holidays with and we usually had to eat more than one turkey dinner to make everyone happy, we decided that when our family was gone we would eat tacos on Thanksgiving. Since his family remains in KC, we’ve been doing just that for the past three years here at The Little House.

We did bring a couple of old traditions with us, we watched “Christmas Vacation” this past weekend, an annual event we’ve been doing since the movie was released some 20 years ago. I also got my pumpkin pie. My mother was the best pie baker and I’ve been eating pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. My aunt is now the best pie baker in the world, and she always brings me a pie down so I can continue that tradition.

We also put up the Christmas décor this weekend. When I was growing up, my mom waited until the weekend before my birthday in mid-December. I think this probably went back to her own childhood, as they still used candles on their trees then and couldn’t put them up too early or the tree would dry out and cause a fire.

Dale’s family always decorated the weekend of Thanksgiving, a tradition I also adopted as I couldn’t see going to all of that work to only enjoy it for a couple of weeks.

However, stringing lights is new for us at The Little House. I pleaded and our two daughters begged, but we could never convince him to hang outside lights at The Beige Split-level in KC. Hanging lights there would have required a very tall ladder and I think he pictured himself as Clark W. Griswold, stapling his sleeve to the gutter and tumbling from the roof.

Here, we hang the lights from the deck, basking the woods in beautiful white light for the season. The outdoor décor makes up for the lack of space I have to decorate inside.

Now we are ready for the holiday season, which we spend enjoying our home, each other’s love, and sharing with new friends on Christmas.

For us, at The Little House, those are the things that truly bring joy to the season.

What are the traditions you enjoy that doesn’t involve shopping and being stressed during the holiday season?

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12 Responses

  1. for outdoor decors, the best thing to use are those that are made of natural fibers or ceramics.”,:

  2. I have outdoor decors at home that are made of organic materials.~–

  3. I have outdoor decors at home that are made of organic materials.;*-

  4. Amy says:

    This is one of my many hang ups this year… I grew up in a singlewide 2bd/1ba trailer with my parents and 4 brothers. I LOVE Christmas and promised myself growing up that I would someday have a nice home and I would deck it out every year for Christmas and until 2007 that is exactly what I did. The past couple of years though have been really hard on us and I’m feeling the need to start “decking the halls” again but there is only so much space to be had in our wee home and what space there is has already been taken by something else. There is no room for my 7ft tree with all the trimings nor my other trees (I had trees for every room in our last house). There is no room to store anything either after the Holiday season is over. Such a problem. Gave some serious thought to putting lights up out side but we have three issues 1. we would have to use a ladder and ladders are off limits. 2. For some reason my outdoor outlets that I asked for failed to get installed. AND 3. On our tight butget we really can’t afford the increase in the electric bill however small it may be. I don’t know… I just need this Christmas to be anything but blue.

    • Kerri says:

      Amy, I’m so sorry you’re going through a rough time. It is that way for so many people. My husband went through a layoff last year and we are also learning to live on a very reduced budget.
      I also have very large trees and many decorations I will never use again in The Little House.
      I think even the smallest tree and decor helps to brighten the home and bring on the Christmas spirit. I took a lamp and another fixture and put them downstairs for the holiday season while the tree is up.
      I do hope you find your spirit.

      • Amy says:

        Thanks Kerri,

        I’m sure I’ll find the spirit somewhere! I know lots of people are having problems right now and I can understand to a point. I wish all we had to deal with was either of us getting layed off. I could handle and make sense of that in my head. Jan 07 my truck driver hubby was in an accident and suffered a nasty brain injury. Everything changed for us in a matter of seconds. About 6months after the accident my Father became ill and then one of my 3 disabled brothers fell ill also. Then if things weren’t bad enough we almost lost my mother… We rented out our home and moved up here so I could help hubby and everyone else. The Feb 08 tornado came within a mile of the house we were living in the wind loosened the roofing of the old place I got up there and nailed it down as best I could but then a record snow lots of rain then Ike and Gustav came through and when they were finished the old place was declaired unlivable. We have some awesome friends! Which is such a blessing! They came together and built our little place for us. We moved in during March but since then getting settled has been a slow and sometimes painful process. There are times I love this little place my father calls the Moon Shine Cabin cause our friends came here after work and worked many a night by the light of the moon. Then there are times like now that I just want to run away. I apologize for being negative I’ll try to be more positive when I comment in the future.


        • Bj says:


          As an ex-truck driver who has switched to teacher, I can appreciate what you are going through. I lost my husband to an aortic aneurism while he was driving our rig. Thank goodness I was able to stop the truck, but in the blink of an eye, everything I knew to be good and right was gone. Nothing has been the same since, and I finally got out of the trucks and into college.
          A brain injury has changed everything for you, and you can never go back to the way it was. It is hard now, but we trucker wives are strong stuff! I know you will soon be back on the sunnier side of life! Life can and often does make a 180 degree turn on the blink of an eye. God bless you Amy, as you continue to take care of all the ones in your care. Make sure to get some time for yourself in there. It will get better!
          When I was struggling financially through college, I only had a 25 ft motor home, and my Christmas trees were watercolor paintings that I could tack on the wall. This is the first year (since 1999) that I have had the big tree out..and I tell you I bawled like a baby putting up my ornaments. It was worth all the years I have kept it in a storage shed at my dads house. Remember, that Christmas is not about the tree, or the presents, it is about being with those who we love and care for….all the other is just extra tinsel!
          Don’t worry about sounding negative-you sound like a real gal with real tough times! Again,
          God Bless you!

          • Kerri says:

            Thanks, BJ for your reply. You’re both very special people.

          • Amy says:

            Thanks Bj! I needed that pep talk!

            Kerri Thanks I really look forward to following and learning from your adventures in green and small living.

          • Bj says:

            Kerri, Thank you…I am only glad to be in a position to help others.


            There is an old song, “Lean on me, when you’re not strong”…Right now you need to lean, someday you will be the one to offer someone a safe place to lean. You are welcome anytime. Glad to know I have two (you and Kerri) in my new area once I move up to my cabin.
            Christmas blessings to both of you!

  5. kerri says:

    What a lovely tradition, Kathy! I agree, you should enjoy it as long as possible. Maybe you can adjust it some when they get older.

    You don’t have to, but I appreciate you giving others a chance to win! 🙂

  6. Kathleen Winn says:

    I love the photos of the Little House and Belle writer’s studio- so cozy and charming! My own Christmas decorating has been scaled back considerably since our daughters are grown and gone. I like getting into the spirit of the season, but don’t do nearly as much with Christmas decorating as I used to.

    My current favorite tradition that involves no expenditure of money, is having my brother’s two daughters, ages 15 and 13, over to our house for a weekend of playing games, doing manicures and whatever else they think would be fun. If we’re lucky enough to have snow when they stay with us, we pull them on a sled around the neighborhood to look at all the lights. I realize that at their ages, this is a tradition that has a time limit, but intend to continue as long as they want to still come over and spend the weekend with Aunt Kate and Uncle David.

    Kerri- since I won the subscription to Mother Earth News in your last contest, I’m voluntarily disqualifying myself from your current contest, but of course will continue to read and comment on your blog. Happy Holidays!