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Hi.

Thanks for visiting Joy42. Follow along on my adventures as an American Expat, a newlywed, and someone trying to figure out how to take care of myself. I hope to encourage you to seek out the little joys in your life.

Home Tour: Christmas Edition

Home Tour: Christmas Edition

But wait, you're probably thinking, did I miss the regular Home Tour? 

Nope! I've been wanting to write that post since my Home Update back in August, but I didn't want to until we got more settled and my crate arrived with the rest of my things. By the time it arrived, it was time to decorate for Christmas. So I'll show you our Christmas decor and then in the New Year, I'll work on a regular home tour, which will likely be more expansive since we have decorated our entire house for everyday use (duh), but only the bottom floor for Christmas.

So, come on in and have a look around! Grab a steaming mug of hot chocolate or even some mulled wine!

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When we first moved in, we didn't really use our front room for anything other than a coat room. We didn't have curtains up for the longest time, so we felt so exposed to the street, whether we were playing a board game or having dinner. We finally got around to getting some curtains at IKEA earlier this autumn, so we've spent more time in there lately. (Though we're still hoping to get some lace curtains for the bottom row of windows.)

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I tried to keep it simple on the buffet table, just adding one of my deer, our first Santa, and the antlers, along with a number of tea lights. My mom collects Santas and gets a new one every year, so she bought us our first one while she was here and we were visiting Statford-Upon-Avon.

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On the table, I have the candle holders I got for me and both of my sisters a few years ago. They're made from a real birch tree and one of my favorite parts of the Christmas decor! I think my sister Rachel keeps hers out year-round, but I usually pack them up after the holidays. I also picked up the tree and car salt and pepper shakers a few years ago at Target.

Tea Light Holders | Reindeer | Antler (Similar) | Birch Candle Holders | Salt & Pepper Shakers (Similar)

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We have a built in shelf in the corner, covering some meters that are by the door on the other side of the wall, and it usually turns into a pile of junk, but I've reused the eucalyptus from Thanksgiving and put out my Willow Tree Nativity. I'm absolutely in love with this nativity and I hope one day I can expand it with a few more pieces, like the Three Wise Men or an angel. The set I have comes with everything in the photos: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, a shepherd, two sheep, and a donkey.

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On our book shelf in the corner, I put the JOY mugs out on top and popped our succulents in the J and Y. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them and I can't even think of where they were last year or what they had in them. I'd like to get some small poinsettias to put in them ideally, but I'm not even sure if they have small poinsettias!

Monogram Mugs

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Without a doubt, this is where Luke and I spend most of our time. Whether we're playing a game, watching TV, or just chatting, we're usually in here. Because of that, it's always been my favorite room in the house, but my love for it has grown so much more since we got my crate and decorated for Christmas. It just feels more festive and a lot more cozy. 

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When we first moved in, we talked about putting our Christmas tree in the front room by the window so it could be seen from outside, but as Christmas grew closer, we decided instead to put it in the sitting room so we could enjoy it every day! We moved our record player into the front room instead and it fills the corner opposite the TV.

Fur Rug | Knit Blanket | Bucket

I mentioned to Luke a few weeks ago that we needed to get a tree stand and a tree skirt, but he said his family has always just popped their tree into a bucket! He used some rocks to keep it up right and I quite like how it looks with the red bucket, so no tree skirt necessary!

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Every year, Santa brings my family a new ornament. When we were younger, they were characters we liked (I have Minnie and Simba) or things we were interested in (turtles, soccer, etc.). In recent years, there's been more of a theme where all the ornaments are either the same thing (gnomes, fairies, etc.) or made from the same material (wood, brass, etc.). Because of that, I've accumulated a decent ornament collection, but Luke just has the one -- his ornament I gave him last year. (The penguin!) I didn't want the tree to be 99% Hannah, so we didn't put up the ones that have my name or initial and we filled in the holes with some baubles from IKEA. Now we just need to get something for the top! We both would prefer to have a star instead of an angel, but it's just a matter of finding the right one.

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I added a few white and gold Christmas decorations to the mantle (because is it even Christmas if your mantle doesn't look like it is?), but we still need to find stocking holders to put up our stockings. I put a quote from Elf on the letter board and Luke thought it was fitting since it's against the mirror, but I was just trying to flirt with him! (I've since changed it, though.)

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I was so excited to find in my Christmas box a Bath & Body works candle from last year when they had fantastic labels. I happily put it front and center on the mantle, but the next day, the mirror titled forward and pushed the candle off, shattering the container. We were able to salvage the candle from the broken glass, but we're not quite sure what to do with it. They get so liquidy when they burn, so I don't know how we'll be able to burn it down. I decided to keep it up anyway because the green looks nice with the mirror.

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For the last four years, I've set up a Hot Chocolate Bar at Christmastime, even though I'm not the biggest hot chocolate fan. This year is no exception. It might not get as much use as I originally hoped--and that's not necessarily a bad thing, of course--but it's great for those holiday hosting occasions. Also this year, Luke introduced me to hot chocolate made from milk. HOLY YUM, BATMAN! I've always made instant hot cocoa with hot water and it just doesn't even compare to milk, does it?

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This year, I more or less created the same iteration as last year, minus the Irish coffee mugs since they weren't in my crate. I even have some of the goodies I got last year at Anthropologie since peppermint stick and marshmallows last fairly well.

Mitten Shakers | Fair Isle Ball Garland | Reindeer | Tray (Similar) | Car Figurine (Similar)

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I also picked up two incredible smelling candles just at our grocery store and put them on the window sill in the kitchen. The smell like Christmas and definitely make the view a bit more festive while we're washing up.

As I mentioned above, we need to get some stocking hooks for the mantle and we still want to get a wreath for our front door. We were planning on getting one over the weekend, but it's been snowing a ton so we just hunkered down yesterday, played games, and watched movies.

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