Debra’s Impromptu Living Room Photo Shoot, Holiday Edition

Welcome, subscribers of my Celebrating the Joy of Succulents newsletter!

This subscriber-only page has photos of my living room decorated for Christmas 2021. To enhance your enjoyment, I've included tips and ideas. Links are affiliate. Have fun! -- Debra

Card tree

Our 2021 card tree has around 90 cards, some dating to the '70s. 

Interested in doing a one-dimensional tree? Regardless of whether you have cards, you can certainly make a creative, festive and colorful wall display. Discover how on the Card Tree DIY page.

Where do ornaments go? Into a glass apothecary jar on the coffee table. I also display ornaments in a wide, shallow bowl. This and other beaded placemats are from Pier One.

I like bling at Christmastime---bright colors and glittery stuff---but I try to keep it within certain parameters. For example, the shade of red is a rich cranberry that harmonizes with living room rugs and wall art.

Living rooms are like landscapes: Repetition is key to aesthetic design. I repeat the same shades of red and green, as well as the shapes and silhouettes of holiday icons: poinsettias, snowflakes and trees. (There are so many choices. For example, you might do snowmen, globes and wreaths. Or stars.)

One reason I collect blown glass is how beautifully it interacts with light. Don't those branch tips look like ice? To anchor the trees, I chose an heirloom crocheted table runner that contrasts with the dark table and suggests snow. See tabletop trees online. 


Handmade beaded blooms stay year-round in a blown-glass vase. The beaded poinsettia table runner joins them this time of year. At right, a small red ball calls attention to a glass bud vase that echoes the floral shapes.


The neighbor's dog poses with my succulent topiary terrier. Note how festively both are dressed.


Who knew the neighbor's dog was so photogenic? He and my husband have a "thing."


A swirled polymer-clay tree that looks like peppermint candy sits atop a ceramic cake stand on a red-white-and-silver pinwheel placemat. Christmas balls echo a year-round collection of glass paperweights. 

In hindsight, I'd get more of those beaded pinwheel placemats. They add continuity and pizzazz to the decor.

East-facing windows let in a lot of morning sun, which years ago quickly dried out a traditional pine tree. I also tried an artificial tree, but it was a hassle to assemble, disassemble, and store.

This stylized wood creche puzzle dates to my son's childhood. Stuff happens: After Mary (top left) was chewed by our Shih-tsu, we patched her with wood putty. Don't you just love the baby Jesus?  


I don't have a lot of little items on display. One exception is this gift from a dear friend: a Patience Brewster reindeer ornament atop wooden snowflakes. 

Grouping similar items helps avoid a cluttered look...for example...

In my 20s I made and sold baker's clay ornaments. Others are gifts. The 2-foot handmade tree, which stores flat, was cut from plywood with a jigsaw. 

I never tire of gazing at the card tree. There's something restful about it, yet it's dynamic and interesting. Maybe it's the way the eye continually moves through it, and its repetitons of colors and themes.

Most cards encapsulate memories of the friends who sent them. I treasure certain ones for their beautiful designs. But perhaps the ones we enjoy most are clever or amusing. 

Did I mention I LOVE not having to find, purchase, transport, set-up, decorate or dispose of a traditional tree?

2021: My son's family, me, my husband, and my 92-year-old MIL.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual visit to our home. I'd love to know your own decorating ideas and traditions! Do comment below. And remember, as a subscriber, you can always send photos in reply to my Celebrating the Joy of Succulents newsletter. Fondly, Debra

Related info on this site 

Christmas card tree

Create a Wall Christmas Card Tree

Creating a wall Christmas Card Tree is an annual family event. Guests express surprise that we receive so many cards. Actually it’s not a lot, considering some date back to the ’70s…

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Succulent topiaries by Pat Hammer

Succulent Topiary Tips, Care and How-To

Expert Pat Hammer shows step-by-step how to make a succulent topiary beginning with a moss-filled wire frame and cuttings. Pat shares design, DIY, watering, pruning, long-term care, and helpful tips.

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Enjoyed this article? Please share it!