Simple & Heartfelt Christmas Decorating


My little white tree is the cottage’s Official Christmas Tree this year. I wonder how it feels? Usually, the little white tree is the runner-up; loved, of course, but slightly overshadowed by a bigger, green and fragrant tree in the den.

This year? It’s a whole new world.

(Note tip of Scout’s ear in lower left hand corner.)

I’ve really only decorated one room, the living room. The den has been left as is. So has the kitchen.


(Again, the ear. This time, two of them.)

This has been an interesting experiment. What is the bare minimum I can use to decorate for Christmas?

A wreath for the door. Check.

Lights on the porch. Check.

My bottlebrush wreaths because I love them so. Three of them are hanging in the living room windows. The fourth is hanging above the piano. Check.

My little white tree. Check.

Some of my bottlebrush ornaments. Check.

My Necco Snow Globe. It’s on display year round. Check.

The lights on top of the big white cabinet in the living room. (They are there year round, too.) Check.

And the dollhouse, of course. Check.

That’s it.

I find I’m liking it.

If Don was going to be here, of course we’d have a big tree in the den. I’m a fan of real, green, fragrant trees. So is Don. But he’s not going to be here and a large tree just seems like a lot of work. I have a lot of ornaments and decorations in my bins. Lots and lots of vintage Shiny Brites. And I love them all. But, surprisingly, I’m not missing them this year.


Normally, I have about ten of these large bottlebrush ornaments on the tree. This year, I hung three of them on the chimney. I have to fight the urge to hang even more. I think three is enough.


I bought this tree from Michael’s a few years back because I won a beautiful handmade mini tree skirt in a giveaway. So I had to have a tree to go with it. I’m so very glad I bought it.

The bottlebrush wreaths were first glimpsed on Dawn’s blog a few years back, where she shared the fact that she found them at Big Lots. Off I went to Big Lots, where I somehow managed to dig through everything and find 4 of them.

The bottlebrush ornaments were accumulated over time from Heidi’s shop.

Can you tell I like all things bottlebrush?

Back to the tree. No special ornaments were used, just tiny glass balls and some glass garlands that I’ve had for a long time.

I don’t like a lot of clutter and in a small house like this one, clutter is an ongoing problem. My usual amount of Christmas decorating, though lovely, can add to that. A bit of cozy clutter? That’s fine. Lots of stuff?  Not so fine.

For this year, at this time, this seems like the perfect level of decorating.

Simple. Heartfelt. And – surprisingly – more effective.

Happy Wednesday.


You Might Like

Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPrint this page


  1. just cats says

    It’s just delightful, Claudia. So, so pretty. I was aiming for ‘simple’ but I seem to have gone off track. Maybe next year.

  2. says

    Love the way it all turned out Claudia, just peaceful and white. I can’t resist the bottle brush trees…can’t seem to find the wreaths though, they are spectacular in the windows. You have created such a beautiful setting for a winter holiday!!! I do love the little ears in the corner of all the shots, aw Scout, just want to hug you!!!!
    Your village in the bottle is gorgeous, I may have to try that if you don’t mind my using your idea of the bottle on it’s side!

  3. says

    It’s gorgeous, Claudia. Your white brick chimney is the perfect architectural background for the tree and the large bottlebrush ornaments. I just love it! I also love the wreaths in the windows. (And Scout’s ears! haha)

  4. deb says

    Perfect and Pretty! And Scout’s ear looks so warm and soft! I just LOVE those bottle brush wreaths and ornaments! You’ve done a marvelous job of capturing simple and peaceful! Add a cup of hot chocolate and I’ll be right over! ha! Thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    Claudie it’s really beautiful! I am doing one small tree this year and will be sharing it today. I love all your bottle brush ornaments and wreaths. They go with you style perfectly. A simple Christmas seems to be a theme in blogland this year.
    hugs, Linda

  6. says

    It’s beautiful, Claudia. And perfect. The white is lovely, and the simplicity is, too. And besides all of that, it is color-coordianted to Scout’s fur!

    Love it.

    Love you more.



    • Claudia says

      Earrings would really grab the spotlight, wouldn’t they? Not to mention enlarging my ear lobes.

  7. Donnamae says

    Lovely…charming…perfect for this Christmas! Love those bottle brush wreaths…have to find one. Scout’s ears are a nice touch too! 😉

  8. GinaE says

    Your tree and decor look perfect in your home, Claudia. I love the three stars on the chimney! I scaled back too this year, but it was hard getting out just what I loved (have a lot I love). I sent three boxes to charity and still found I had plenty. I have a young 10 month old kitty and am shocked that she hasn’t bothered the tree at all. Got rather lucky on that!

  9. says

    You did a beautiful job, Claudia! The tree and decorations look sweet and festive. We accumulate so much over the years sometimes we all have to decide what to put out and what not to. My house is small, too, and it looks crazy when I decorate every surface (though the kids love that!). I love your wreaths and the stars…great places for all of them.

    Just popping in before I head to the shower and then the hospital. Hubby is doing SO well after the surgery. It may be a wonderful Christmas after all!


    • Claudia says

      I am so happy to hear your husband is doing well! That’s the best Christmas news of all, Jane!

  10. sharron says

    So sweet that you posted your minimal Christmas decor today as I was just thinking about your bottle brush wreaths.
    I remember you buying them and posting about them and going to Big Lots to try and find them!
    I never did but I love seeing yours! Your look is so pretty this year just right and so perfect for your cottage.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    • Claudia says

      Those bottle brush wreaths were very sought after that year. I think it was all in the timing, Sharron. I just happened to see that post of Dawn’s. I wasn’t even aware there was a Big Lots in our area and when I found out there was, off I went. The four I got were the only four left. There were a couple still there in red, I remember.

  11. says

    Maybe you stopped when it was just right. So hard for me to know how to do but yours seems so lovely and restful. I love the 3 bottlebrush ornaments on that wonderful chimney, and Scout’s ears in the photograph give them “human” interest!

  12. says

    It all looks so lovely, simple and serene. I especially love the ornaments on the chimney. I must have missed that Don will not be there. Stay warm and cozy. Ann

    • Claudia says

      Don is going out to San Diego on the 17th to be in a production of Pygmalion at the Old Globe. Why the heck they are starting rehearsals a few days before Christmas Eve, I don’t know. But they are. So we will be apart at Christmas for the very first time. I’m trying to stay positive.

  13. Judy says

    For years I was Tied to Christmas being the same, exactly the same every year, trying to recreate the Magical Christmases my Mom made for us growing up. The year my Mom died Suddenly (@ a very young 63) I realized I had never created those “Same” Christmases and never could! That year I spent Christmas in Colo.With my siblings.Now I know Christmases can be different and still be magical! I wish all three of you a ‘different’ but still Magical Christmas
    -Judy A- p.s. I wish I had ! 1/100000 of your talent for,,, ,well everything!

  14. says

    It looks perfect, Claudia. I think you are doing the right thing. I am pinning those ornaments against the brick. Love it.

  15. says

    It does look perfect. I am enjoying decorating with less as well. It still looks like Christmas in your home. I love the brick fireplace wall being white, too. And Scout’s ears match just perfectly.

    • Claudia says

      If only there was a fireplace to go with the chimney, Debby! I think there used to be a wood stove hooked up to this chimney many, many years ago.

  16. Linden Townhouse says

    We too must decorate very simply in our little townhouse. (Unlike the old days in a big house with our four children at home!) It takes me about 20 minutes to place misc. decor here and there and a wreath on the front door and then about another hour to put up and decorate our small, artificial tree. I like what you have done very much!

  17. Dottie in Missouri says

    Your home looks lovely, simple and cozy for you and Scout. Have a great Skype visit with Don! Merry Christmas to all of you.

  18. says

    Can you believe our fire clean-up is STILL going on? 2 weeks! She will be done this afternoon. So, we’ve got the minimal thing going here, too. For some reason I can’t finish when she’s still cleaning cabinets. :-) I love what you’ve done. It’s serene. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  19. says

    Love the Christmas feeling you created with minimalism. I notice that I am putting up/out less this year, just vignettes and plants so far. (Wait until you see what I am posting for your A Favorite Thing this week, I amazed myself).

  20. Renée says

    Agreed! It is very effective. Over the last 7-8 years I have found that the less is more approach is very effective and very comfortable. So much so, that last year when putting the decorations away, I took the opportunity to pare down a bit and took almost 1 bin (out of 9!) to the Goodwill. My obsession appears to be coffee mugs…just how many we truly need hit me as I was packing up the decorations, so probably half that bin was coffee mugs. This year as I was replacing fall dishes with Christmas dishes, I packed up another box and off to Goodwill they went. We plan to retire in 5 years, and I just don’t want to be moving things I don’t use, and haven’t used for years, one more time. I have been purging this past year and I’m sure that will continue this next year.

    • Claudia says

      I’m starting to get in a purging mood, Renee. We have too much stuff stored in the shed, for example, that we never use.

    • Claudia says

      I got them at Target. Or rather, my niece got them at Target and gave me hers when they moved overseas. I bought a couple of more panels to complete the set.

      But I’m getting tired of them!

  21. says

    II love it Claudia! Less to put away after the holidays. I put out less this year too, but there is still quite a bit since we’re having a big holiday gathering this Saturday. It’s prompted me to get a lot of little projects done around the house. I love the your window coverings and the white-washed look of the chimney. Your tree is beautiful in all it’s simplicity.

  22. says

    Merry Christmas, Claudia! I’ve not been to Big Lots this year; have you? They always seem to have some little surprise tucked in amidst the “stuff” that isn’t my taste. Your home, as always, is charming and cozy.


  23. Julie says

    Claudia – it is so beautiful and serene. I’d love to have a white tree. Your decorating is perfect. J

  24. says

    So pretty Claudia! Talk about irony. I was in HomeSense and they are winding down with the Christmas decorations. I love that store because they have really good repros of vintage ornaments. I found 2 large bottlebrush snowflakes like yours but these are a cream colour with red little balls on the ends. I just adore them.

  25. says

    Hi Claudia- your decorations are so pretty! I love the bottle brush stars against the brick wall.
    Everything looks so wonderful and dreamy. You always describe your home as Christmas Cottagey… (or something to that effect) it definitely has Christmas Cottagey going for it now.
    So sorry you and Don won’t be together at Christmas time… but on the bright side, I’m grateful (and know you are too) that he is well enough to work. I know he was sick a while back (earlier in the year). I hope you are able to get work soon too.

    Merry Christmas, Claudia.
    :) Pat

    • Claudia says

      “Christmas in Connecticut” is how I describe it – after all those 40s era movies with overstuffed furniture and comfy Christmas scenes. Yes, I am grateful Don is able to work, but I wish we could be together so I could keep an eye on him.

  26. says

    I’m dreaming of a white Christmas….and, your cottage fills the bill! I have enjoyed you post and am smitten by all your bottlbrush additions to an already charming cottage setting. Oh…boy! I guess I need to start popping in to Big Lots more often. I have gotten so thrifty in my old age that the local thrift stores have become my main squeeze.
    Thank you, Claudia, for sharing your wintry white surroundings….Now, for the snow to top it off!
    Blessings and Merry Christmas!

    • Claudia says

      Yes – no snow here as of today. We had a little bit last month that disappeared within hours. I wonder when it’s coming? I’d really like a White Christmas!

  27. says

    Of course you know how much your Christmas decor appeals to me, lover of all things white, cream, grey, neutral and bright!! It looks fabulous there Claudia, just enough pretty things and all go together so well in your beautiful room. Love the bottlebrush wreaths and stars.

    Now I really have guilt pangs about my lack of decorations this year – next will have to be better and I must stay home!
    Hope Don is doing better and that all is working out even though you won’t be together for the holiday. Seeing Scout’s ear peeking out makes me so happy knowing she will be there with you dear!

    Hugs – Mary

    • Claudia says

      Thank you, Mary. I’m so glad I’ll have my girl with me. I’m getting sad about not being with Don. We’ve both shed a tear or two.

  28. says

    I think it looks beautiful, Claudia. I love the off-white and how the tree and the ornaments compliment one another so perfectly. (And I love Scouts ears, by the way… “Helloooooooooo”)

  29. Debbie Taylor says

    Hi Claudia! Don told me about your amazing website! I began to tear up when I saw it and your beautiful house and your beautiful photos…and items…I wish you were here in San Diego…but I rather be with you in your beautiful home…Love you! Debbie

    • Claudia says

      Hi Deb! Thank you so much for stopping by! I miss you – you are welcome here any time! I’m thinking of all of you in rehearsal for that amazing play! Have fun and keep my husband laughing, okay?


Please check back to follow the conversation!