To think that much of the world, in one form or another, stops and celebrates Christ’s birth is beautiful to me.
Though it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, I especially love it when Christmas is celebrated with a Mary Heart and a Martha Home.
Open heart & open home…
Christie Chaussee has been my best friend since high school. I always look forward to going to her house because I immediately feel welcome. She has the gift of hospitality.
It’s a take-off-your-shoes-and-put-up-your-feet kind of comfort, yet due to her amazing design sense, you find sips of beauty everywhere you look – a beauty that feeds the soul.
Because Christie lives in the Portland, Oregon area and I live in Montana, we don’t get to see each other very often. But last December, I spoke at an event in the area so we were able to spend some time together.
Life had brought some changes to Christie, and with them, a change in address. But although she’d only been in her new place a month or so, the rented condo felt like home.
“Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.”
These are the words posted in Christie’s entry way (see the graphic above.) They describe my friend’s approach to life. She’s truly one of the most beautiful, optimistic and loving people I know.
Making the most of what you have…
When Christie moved into her new place, she didn’t have a lot of money to work with, but as an interior designer specializing in staging homes, she had a wealth of ideas.
Her former home was gorgeous, but the style featured a lot of dark tones and furniture. Christie was ready for light and lots of it.
“The first thing I did was paint the entire condo,” Christie says. “This ‘Felt’ color by Miller Paint really warmed up the space and provided the backdrop for the creamy white theme I wanted to use in the living areas.”
Don’t you love the round candle chandelier Christie found at Z-Gallerie? It pulls the room together while making the most of the high ceilings. Raised and lowered by an added pulley, the candles can be lit for special occasions.
Always a savvy shopper, Christie found the coffee table, white couch slipcovers, bookshelves, and dining room set for super cheap during her regular weekend yard sale forays.
Twinkle-twinkle little star…
Choosing to feature several little trees rather than one big one, Christie used inexpensive snowflakes and icicles to decorate, then topped the trees with darling little plastic stars she found at Ikea. (Designed to be used with light strings, you can see them here.)
The stars appear throughout the living room and in the dining room china cabinet, along with Christmas trees collected over the years.
Christmas is made to be shared…
When I arrived, the dining room table was set for a Christmas luncheon Christie planned to host the next day for some friends. (So sad I couldn’t be there!)
“I try to do as much as I can ahead of time so that I can enjoy my company,” she said. The fact everyone was bringing a dish to share promised to make the celebration even more enjoyable!
When I asked Christie if she had a favorite Christmas recipe I could pass on to you, she immediately offered a family favorite.
Grandma Marjorie’s Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 cup of white Karo syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups peanut butter (crunchy Jif preferred)
- 1 cup salted peanuts
Bring Karo syrup and sugar to boil on stove, then remove from heat. Add peanut butter. Fold in:
- 6 to 8 cups Rice Krispies
Pour mixture onto wax paper. Allow to cool briefly, then rub butter on hands to roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Cool completely.
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (dark, milk or white chocolate – preferably Guittard’s)
Melt chocolate in double boiler pan until soft. Remove from heat and dip peanut butter balls until covered. Place on wax paper to harden.
Christie likes to dip the Peanut Butter Balls into different types of chocolate for variety – white chocolate, milk and dark chocolate. “The white chocolate makes them look like snowballs,” she says, “and the three different colors look really pretty on a plate.”
A heart-felt Christmas…
Being with Christie reminds me that it isn’t an abundance of things that brings happiness. It’s appreciating what we do have and using it to the best of our abilities. Especially when it comes to making a home.
It’s cultivating creativity, contentment and beauty all year round so that our homes and our hearts welcome the presence of Christ as well as our friends.
Remember my friend’s yard-sale tendencies?
Always resourceful, she was snagging the gift tags to reuse for her upcoming party. I love how she used them to tie her silverware together.
Well, guess what? You can do the same thing – minus the digging!
Print on cardstock and use a tag punch from Michael’s. Add string or ribbon, and…
“Tag!” Everyone will think you’re really it!
I’d love to hear from you…what’s your favorite Christmas decorating tip or recipe?