Bringing a Southern Christmas to the North...Carolina.

I'm so excited to be a part of this year's Christmas Tour of Homes!  I just recently started this blog and remember when my sister-in-law Rachel participated in this tour of homes last year and I thought it was so fun!  So as soon as I got mine up and running, I found the blog that was hosting and planned to participate this year.  But then, the date snuck up on me and this working lady had to fight I-40 traffic to run a couple errands at the mall and then go to the grocery store, followed by dinner/clean up, etc, so hopefully I'm not too late! :)

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Christmas is my FAVORITE time of year!  And in the short year and a half that Ryan and I have been married, he's already learned that I'm a sucker for Christmas stuff...especially Christmas stuff on sale! Even if it's the middle of July. :)  So he is constantly trying to put blinders on me and steer me clear of the Christmas displays, haha!  (I get it from my mother...) I love when Christmas songs come on the radio, I love walking around the mall when it's decorated, I love decorating, but mostly I love the time spent with family and friends treasuring the relationships and the reason for the season and the hope that we have in our Savior who was born!

Welcome to our apartment! I found this cute wreath at Belk for $40 last year, so I waited til after Christmas and bought it for $8!  Last year was our first married Christmas (but our 8th together!) and since we were in a pretty small apartment (and turns out we're still here!) and were going to be spending Christmas at home in Georgia, I decided to not go all out decorating and to just wait until decorations went on sale after Christmas.  So this year decorating was a little bit more fun! ;)  Now, come on inside...

Mr. Snowman on the wall was a find from this year when I was shopping for a baby shower.  He had a broken arm, so I got him for $4 and with a drop of super glue, he's all better!

Here's a view of the living room when you walk in the door.  I'm glad I'm posting these pics since a lot of our friends haven't made it to Durham yet and haven't seen where we live.

When Ryan and I were home for Thanksgiving, we picked a whole trash bag of holly and magnolia leaves from his parents house with the help of our nephew Samuel and niece Ellie Kate.

Here are a few things I did with the Holly and Magnolia leaves...

I put together this centerpiece for the coffee table with some cranberries around the outside, some of the holly in a vase in the middle and then...dun, dun, pottery barn candles that I spent a total of $10 on last year...for ALL of them.  The candles are sugar cookie scented and they make the whole room smell delicious - it's the first thing I smell when I walk in the door from work.  I love the holy family in the background of the above picture.

And this is the centerpiece I made for the breakfast table, although it's not a very good picture between the shadow and the fact that you can't see the bowl it's in.  I also did not have my table set with the Christmas dishes yet when I took this picture (and the magnolia leaves and holly aren't looking as fresh now for a retake).

Since we have no fireplace...therfore no mantle...we decorate our TV stand instead.  $100 to anyone who can find where we hang our stockings... :) I don't have a hundred bucks to give away, so I thought that would be a safe bet.  You won't find our stockings because I left them in Georgia over Thanksgiving to have them monogrammed.  Besides, I can't really figure out a good place to hang them.  So as you look through these pictures and see our apartment, let me know if you have any suggestions!

Here is where we display all of our Christmas cards, which I just love!  I love reading the updates on people's lives that I don't get to talk to and see nearly enough and the adorable pictures of everyone's ever-growing families!  I love the "JOY" nativity scene on the left - it was a wedding gift from the Cagles, some good friends of my family and Georgia's Lieutenant Governer.  They gave us a whole basket of ornaments for our tree too, which was one of my favorite wedding gifts!  I thought it was so creative for a summer wedding.

And here's a closer look at the Willow Tree Nativity on the right side of the table that I also just LOVE!  It was also a wedding gift from a sweet sweet family that I babysat for - Tricia was my Sunday School teacher in high school and her husband Jeff was our veterinarian.

And here is our tree!

Thanks to Ryan's parents who bought it for our first Christmas, it was one of our only decorations last year and the ornaments from the Cagles filled it up! One day when we have more room, I want to get a live tree - nothing smells better than a Christmas tree!  But we will always keep this tree and put it out somewhere since it is special to us and will always bring back so many sweet memories from our first married Christmas living in North Carolina.

 And here's the kitchen...

 A closer look...

And our Christmas dishes!!!  You have NO IDEA how much I love these...but oh, Ryan knows! Poor guy...  I registered for these dishes and got a couple of pieces surprisingly (with it being a summer wedding) and intended to just add pieces each year until I had completed the set.  So last year, I waited until they went WAY, WAY, WAY on sale after Christmas and bought whatever was left, random pieces here and there.  Well this year, I planned to do the same, until they started disappearing off the shelves.  So, it turns out they have been discontinued, so I have spent the last week searching high and low for anywhere with ANY remainging pieces (Lenox, Macys, Belk, even!) and have had to have dinner plates shipped from New Jersey and accent plates shipped from Atlanta and the bowls from somewhere else. It's been crazy trying to round up the whole set and I think Ryan would be happy to never look at the again at this point, but I FINALLY got all of the ones I needed to complete my set.  

And these are the plates I hope to use with kids one day!  I think these are just so cute!  This was another after Christmas find from last year.  Ryan and I went to Wilmington on the North Carolina coast a couple hours from here during the dead time between Christmas and New Years when I was still off work and he was out of school.  I found these in a little Christmas shop at the Cotton Exchange there and the lady gave the whole set to me for $10!  They had originally been $45.

This Jim Shore angel was given to us as a gift recently from Lisa Cook, my mom's best friend and a very special person in my life.  She brought it to us when she came to visit recently with her grandson, KJ, who was a ring-bearer in our wedding. It's hand-crafted from wood and I just love the brilliant colors of it with the nativity scene on the body.

It sits on the desk in the guest bedroom...

And lastly, also in our guest bedroom, is our beautiful Fontanini Nativity set that my Crossett babies - Ked, Luke & Marigrace - gave us as a wedding gift.  I was blessed to spend two of my college summers with these precious kids while helping their busy mom, my dear friend Ashley, with them when they were 3 years old (Ked) and 18 months old (Luke/MG are twins).  Crazy life for sure, but a FUN one! :)

This is not only a gorgeous nativity set made by the Fontanini family (family-owned business) from Italy, but it's also such a kid-friendly nativity set as all of the figurines are made of a rubbery-plastic material so they won't break if they're dropped or played with.  Leave it to Ashley (supermom) to think ahead like that, haha!

The Fontanini set is also really cool because you can pick from a variety of different mangers and can add pieces over the years - they have hundreds!  Wise men on camels or wise men on foot, different angels, donkeys, shepards, and on and on... Also, Baby Jesus is a separate piece from the manger he lays in, so one day with kids, I can leave the manger empty until Christmas day as an activity to teach that Christmas is celebrated because of Christ's birth in the manger.  

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests"... Luke 2:14

Goodnight y'all - hope you enjoyed the tour!


Jennifer Poppy said...

Beautiful! Love the kitchen towels & the nativity scenes the best:)

Julie said...

Sooooooo beautiful!! Thanks for the tour of your place! Since we can't really find Christmas decorations where we live, maybe I'll just print pictures of yours and hang them around our house!!! ;)

Becca said...

I love your tour! I really wanted to do the tour this year too (i did it last year) but I'm a hot mess lately and my house is a disaster . . . not to mention I have no clue where my camera cord is . . .

Rachel said...

Loved seeing your apartment all decorated! I love your nativities too!!!! How special! Now, I want one of those sets!

Britton & Tara said...

Hey Erin!!! Everything looks so good! We have GOT to get together sometime! And you guys gotta see our place too :o) Once again...our tastes match :o) We have the same Christmas China! I actually need a few pieces to complete my set too...I had no idea it had been discontinued. This makes me sad :o( Oh well, maybe I'll come across it sometime. Anywho, you guys have a great Christmas and let's plan to get together maybe sometime in January!

Anonymous said...

Love it and can't wait to have y'all home for Christmas. Ryan, Erin is showing you up with the posts bud, hence all the women making comments ect. We dudes need a little masculine touch...come on, it's for the good guys after all.