The Undecorated Christmas & Best of 2014

Hey, hey, hey!

This is the first day in weeks that I have not woken up and popped some cold meds. Buckley’s has been the only reason I have been able to function for most of December. Well that and a heavy dose of antibiotics for bronchitis. I spent these past holidays not being able to taste anything. You know Christmas dinner with all the turkey and mashed potatoes and apple pie goodness? Nothing. My taste buds have been annihilated thanks to endless cups of hot water and honey with lemon juice. Both my kids were sick too so it’s been an exhausting month.

But now I (we) are slowly coming back from the land of kleenex and it’s been a long time since I was this excited about my blog and where I want to take it in the coming year. First I want to take a minute to talk to do an end of the year wrap up and share my favourite and best projects of 2014.

Let’s start with Christmas and how I got owned by my 7 year old this past week. We were driving home from the store and she said randomly “Mommy you said that we could decorate the stairs and the walls and porch for Christmas and we never did. Why?” I looked at her and replied quite honestly like a bad parent, “I don’t know…” and looked at my husband for help and he couldn’t find an answer either.

She’s right. One look at my project gallery for Christmas will tell you we’re a heavily in favour of Christmas decorating family. Our overall decor this year however compared to last year, was dismal.

This year was the year I nicknamed The Undecorated Christmas.

In fact the only major decoration I did for the house was the wood NOEL wreath for our living room. Our front porch featured an almost 10 year old wreath that James bought at Shoppers Drug Mart back when we lived in our old condo before our first child was born.

Christmas wreath front door

Then I hung up a wooden Merry Christmas sign. Also a million years old. That’s one sad little red lantern. It needs its own meme.

Christmas porch

Compared to last years porch and unfaltering enthusiasm, this was bad. We didn’t even hang up Christmas lights outside.

I tried making a Christmas cloche which took me ages to get that perfectly formed pine cones, nuts and cinnamon sticks to land the way they did inside the glass.

Christmas cloche - northstory

Then I took a step back and said “This is the most ridiculous proportion gone wrong cloche I have ever seen”. That birch tree “slice” was a mess with the size of the glass cloche. And let’s be serious, this wouldn’t last 5 minutes on my kitchen table before the kids would knock it over.

Christmas Cloche fail

I finally said enough and went and got some pine branches, stuck them in the jar vase I made earlier this year. Then I bought – yes bought and did not DIY – a star marquee sign from Target and called it a day.

Simple and Natural, White and Wood Christmas Decor - northstory

So what exactly was the catalyst for this undecorated Christmas?

Well it was a combination of the entire family getting sick and I think a bit of a revelation that started late this year around Halloween, where I wrote a post about the differences in celebrating a holiday as a blogger vs before I started a blog. It was very tongue and cheek in its tone but there is a grain of truth to how complicated I think we make holidays for ourselves. Going to the stores around Halloween I thought how out of control it had gotten with the decorations and merchandise compared to what it was like when I was a kid. And then I remembered a post Dana from House Tweaking had written a long time ago that really stuck with me, about why she didn’t like to spend a lot of money on holiday decorating. For the first time in years, I really resonated with that. I mean I fully got it.

We have SO much work that we have to do to our home this coming year. There’s a kitchen reno, basement stairs, a hole in the main floor bathroom ceiling, new flooring, a new bathroom vanity and on and on. I’ll get into all that in my 2015 goals post. Spending money on more stuff that was going to be put out for 30 days just wasn’t in the cards right now. The funny thing is the above photo cost me almost nothing. The jar was upcycled, the branches from our tree were free and the marquee sign was $11 on sale. And that above made me the happiest. Because it was simple, natural and felt like my decor style.

Our daughters shared bedroom was the only exception in terms of Christmas decor because at the end of the day, Christmas means so much to them. We made them the wooden tree and the mason jars and then they just decorated the rest of it in the messy (very messy) colourful way that kids do.

Did you catch the dead cactuses? I am now convinced I am the only human being alive who was talented enough to kill not one, but three cactuses. Maybe they just don’t like Canada.

L & C's room Christmas 2014 (1)

L & C's room Christmas 2014 (2)

I have to tell you, I don’t have any regrets about the lack of Christmas decor. We had our trees, we made some decorations, the kids had their happy Christmas Day with presents and we had endless family movie nights with tons of popcorn.

My older daughter may have a different point of view. Then again she still doesn’t understand where the puppy she asked Santa for has been for the past 5 years.

As for 2014, here are some of my (read: our, as I can’t do half of the crazy home decor ideas without my amazing husband James) favourite and best projects from the year.

northstory Projects 2014

From Left to Right, starting at the top row:

Jar, Tea, Hearts, Swiss Cross

Wood Cubes Air Freshener, Easter, Desk, Planter

Pipe Shelves, DIY Boxes, Wood Wreath, Lantern

Pom Pom Ornament, Halloween, Felt Wreath, Sugar Shapes

It’s very interesting for me to even look at that collage as it’s pretty obvious to see how after all this time, especially with the small craft projects I am finally finding my true style. For years I thought I loved and experimented with rustic and farmhouse and even retro decor. But it’s quite obvious that I have moved very far away from that and it is definitely is going to reflect our home decor in the coming year.

I hope you all had an amazing Holiday Season and I wish you all the best in the coming year! Thank you for visiting my corner of the internet whenever you can and I hope you continue to drop by in 2015!


  • Reply
    January 2, 2015 at 1:56 am

    I think that my favourite project of yours is the rosebud tea set – although the Sky full of Stars jar is pretty fabulous too!

    That aside, I think that you’re going to have a wonderful next year, lady. I can feel it!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I love the undecorated Christmas – so simple and festive. Each year, I think I don’t have enough decorations, but realize that when I put up just a few and use some natural elements, it looks pretty darn good. Happy New Year.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 4, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I love your style – so simple and classy…I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2105 Alex! You are so talented and smart…

  • Reply
    Sandra McCall
    December 11, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    cute, cute, cute! Love the simple but elegant and at the same time, playful style of yours

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