Small Holiday Decor with a Big Impact

Decorating a little house is a challenge anytime of the year, but the holidays present more challenges.

When we moved from our larger house in the city, I had boxes upon boxes of holiday decorations, including a large and a small tree, kitchen décor, bathroom décor and décor for the porches and exterior doors.

I now have to be very selective, putting out only a few small holiday decorations that can have a big impact to the room.

Before we moved to Our Little House full time, I had a tabletop tree as we spent at least a week of our vacation between Christmas and New Year’s each year. I do have special bear and woodsy themed ornaments.

That tree worked for a couple of years after our move, but I really wanted a tree that fit more with our cabin in the woods décor. When we were at Log Cabin Furniture, one of our favorite stores in Harrison, Arkansas, a couple of months ago, I saw two pine trees. One was about four foot and the other about six foot tall.

I thought the smaller one would fit perfectly in the corner where I usually put the tabletop tree and I was right. It also has more of a woodsy feel and when I can get to the store that sells the environmentally friendly oil, it will also smell of pine in Our Little House. I also have a set of caroling bears on my small desk in our tiny living room. In the kitchen is a wooden gingerbread house my mother made and a Santa nightlight.

I did need someplace to hang our stockings. Since we have a wood burning stove and no mantel, my initial thought was to hang them on a magnet hook on the steel door. However, Dale couldn’t find the hooks in our small town, so for now I have them on the doors to the laundry closet.

I think Santa will still find them there!

If you’ve downsized, how do you overcome the challenges of decorating for the holidays?

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22 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    When we bought our house, I asked for two specific Christmas decorations for my birthday (in March, so they were on clearance)– about eight long plastic holly garlands from Vermont Country Store, and enough battery-operated window candles to put one in each of our windows on three sides of the house. Both of these things were investments, but they’re just about all I put out as holiday decorations, and they only take a few minutes to get out and put up. I still love them.

    We do a real tree each year, but this year I figured out how to seat it in a huge red pot to make it look 2′ taller– so I’ll save about $20 by buying the smaller trees each year. (Decided to invest in the pot when I learned that buying yearly real trees are far more environmentally friendly than one fake one.)

    • kerri says:

      I love the lights in the window, Kim. It is a small thing to do that has a big decorating impact.
      I’m still not convinced with the real vs. fake tree thing. We don’t buy artificial trees but usually 1-2 times in a lifetime. My mother would still be using the huge tree she purchased in the 1960s if she were still alive. I think the quality of the tree, which helps them last, has something to do with the longevity.

  2. Alexandra says:

    Loving your tree!

  3. NoPotCooking says:

    There is a great 3M product that lets you put hooks up anywhere – and remove them with no damage to the wall. It has a special adhesive back on it and when you want to take it off, you pull on it and it releases. We have stockings hanging by our mantel but I also hang some in the stairway and I use these hooks every year. I am always amazed at how they work!
    I like that there are narrow trees available these days that will fit in small spaces. I have one in my office with my book ornaments on it.

  4. Kristi says:

    After having cleaned out two homes this year, my Father’s and my Sister’s, I am all about getting rid of clutter. I have not been decorating for the seasons because there is just too much stuff and the more stuff you get out at the beginning of the season, the more stuff you have to put away at the end of the season. I have challenged myself to get rid of the most of it and just keep what I really enjoy. I have so far loaded up three laundry baskets with stuff for the Goodwill and have limited myself to one vignette in each room. I have really enjoyed decorating this year and feel so much better for having streamlined the tubs of decorations. The house looks festive. I even “gasp” got rid of the ugly, stained “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments that my kids didn’t even want on their trees. What point is there keeping them in a box in perpetuity?

    Now, on to the boxes of pictures. I am becoming ruthless.

    • kerri says:

      You go, Kristi! I’m very proud at how much stuff you’ve purged! Maybe you should come here and help me go through the storage buildings this spring. I bet you could do a great job! 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    Down sizing for me has dimed my Christmas Spirit. Back when hubby and I had our 2000sqft home outside of Little Rock I had at least one tree per room and had everything decked out for the holidays… Last year we managed to find a tiny tree that fit the tiny space we had for it and then this year that tiny tree just happens to be buried in a box in the middle of our makeshift storage shed (ez-up booth with tarps over it to keep everything dry). It is going to be an all day chore to go through everything and find that little tree…. But in the Spirit Of Christmas I will give it a go when I get the time on a good calm weather day.

    • kerri says:

      Good luck with that, Amy. You better hurry. A little bird said there might be weather heading our way this weekend.

      • Amy says:

        I was able to get out there and do some sreaching and sorting… Did not find my christmas decorations and now I’m worried that they may have got mixed up with the donation pile earlier this year and have now gone bye bye…

  6. I love your stockings. I’ve never seen anything like those before. So cool!

    I like to decorate each room, but I have to clean them first, so it takes awhile. And I’m always looking for new, creative ideas. You’ve done very well with your small space.

    • kerri says:

      Thanks, Heather. My mother made those stockings over two decades ago. She had one of the first craft consignment shops outside of the Ozarks in the KC area and these were a staple and good seller for a couple of years! I like them because they’re not only made by her hands, but unique and old fashioned.

  7. Since our girls grew up and flew the nest, decorating for Christmas became much less important to me. Most of our boxes of ornaments and decorations sat untouched in the attic each year. But, we recently moved to a new house and I found myself motivated to go through all those boxes and bring out many of the decorations that our daughters remember from Christmases past. It was fun to decorate our new house for our very first holiday season here.

    Unfortunately, the tree we used in our old house, wouldn’t fit in the area of our new house designated for the Christmas tree. My husband, ever “thrifty,” (read “cheap”) didn’t want to buy a new one and actually suggested that he could just “trim” the old one and we could still use it. I asked him how he planned to trim a plastic and metal tree and with all seriousness he said he thought he could do it with his chain saw! I am not making this up! He even said that we could just leave off the top of the tree and it would fit just fine. I told him that yes, it might fit, but our tree would look like somebody hacked off the upper half.

    We don’t often argue about spending money and usually agree on most financial decisions. However, there are those times when I find it necessary to put my foot down and insist on spending a little money rather than do something, well, dumb! I bought a little tree that fits nicely in the corner of our living room and for now, our old one remains in a box- unmutilated by my husband’s chain saw!

  8. I do very little, but I do love decorating for the holidays. My husband is not into holidays. Over the years my daughter has sent me three little Christmas trees; one is living outside, a decorated one for the dinning table, and the other one is on the sun porch. I do decorate the fireplace mantel and hang a wreath outside.
    Happy Holidays to all.

    • kerri says:

      Your story reminded me, Mary, of my mother’s brick Tudor. We had a sun porch and she put the big tree out there, it was beautiful!
      What’s up with these men and the holidays, anyway? I’ve been trying to instill the spirit in my husband for years, but I finally gave up.
      Happy Holidays to you as well!

  9. Olivia says:

    Being a minimalist by nature I don’t do a lot. (Kitchen and bathroom decor?)

    We have a tree, a homemade wreath for the front door and some outdoor lights (LED) on the lilac tree, a small nativity set and a small, one piece carved wooden nativity that my brother gave me one time. Cards are displayed and there are one or two small items on windowsills, candy canes in a glass vase and the stockings are just draped over the back of a chair for now as we do not have a mantel, either. DH bought a small poinsettia and I have a red tablecloth.

    Hmmm . . . sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s really not as our downstairs living area, aside from the all purpose back room, consists of a big kitchen and a large main room with high ceilings. It’s all painted white (my choice; DH would prefer colours) so I put these colourful decorations out to please him.

    • kerri says:

      Yes, kitchen and bath decor. I had soaps, towels, candles, nightlights, place mats, etc.
      What you have sounds like a lot in my house, but depending on how big your space is, could be very little too.
      I would be happy now with only the tree. The lights do it for me. 🙂

  10. Susan says:

    I also have a tree like that , think mine is 5ft …love your decorations. Although my house is 1800 sq ft I prefer just some simple decorations here and there. Have a Nativity creche that was my husbands grandmothers, that was made in Italy and is one of my favorite pieces.

    • kerri says:

      I think less is more now too, Susan. If I hadn’t lived in a little house, I’m not sure I would have quit the big decorating though! I have a nativity scene that was my mother’s but it is way too big for our little house. I’m hoping my great nieces and nephews will settle soon and I can start parting with some of these family heirlooms, knowing they will go to someone who will treasure them.