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The Gift of Christmas

giftsThis Christmas Day has been a gift…a sleep late, no rush, enjoy the little moments day.

Christmas morningA day with simple treats from my sister-in-law.

Christmas treatA day of silliness while enjoying opening presents. (Santa scored daughter some Coach shoes for an amazingly reduced price.:))

Christmas shoes

A cozy day.

Among the gifts my husband gave me was a load of firewood.  He knows me well.


A fun day.

My mother found my original John Denver album from my teenage years – played at least a zillion times.

(He was my true first love.:))

John Denver albumA day when I realize I love the box almost as much as the gift.:) Have you ordered anything from Mark and Graham?? Our sons sent me a gorgeous linen table runner bordered in red grosgrain ribbon, and it came wrapped with so many beautiful details….grosgrain ribbon, a lettered paper, tags in cute envelopes.  (The boys also sent me the make up bag you see in the photo below.)

Mark and Graham packageYes, today was a much needed restful slow paced day – a day to reflect upon and enjoy the true gift of Christmas…God’s Son.  Last night we enjoyed a party at my parents’ home, and we drove around our small town to see Christmas lights after dinner.  I thought the walk leading up to our church was so pretty with all its lights.

church with Christmas lightsAcross the street from the church is a stable, built by my brother-in-law with help from some other church members. The star you see above it is suspended on a cable.  When the stable was first built, the star was across the street, but each night it has moved closer and closer – until this morning when it was directly above it.  The stable is lifesize, and as I waited to take a photo several groups came up to have their photos taken with Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.  :) They are the real stars of this season.

manger sceneI hope your day has been one full of simple pleasures…a day full of joy.  I thank you for the joy you bring me each and every day with your comments on posts, your uplifting emails, your love for this blog shown when you pin my images to your Pinterest boards, and your willingness to spend your time here with me and read my rambling words.  My gift for you on this Christmas night is a Christmas song.  It starts out with organ music and then moves into a choir, (and around the 3:25 point I get a lump in my throat and good tears in my eyes.:))

I hope you enjoy it.

Come Ye to Bethlehem (Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful)

Merry Christmas!

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Joan - December 25, 2014 - 10:23 pm

Hope you can view this card, Kelly. Thanks for all the happiness and beauty you bring to my life as I am inspired by your photos and writing…..and especially all the happy red! Be blessed. Be well.
Thank you Joan! I was able to see the cute card. How thoughtful of you. :) (Loved the bells for the maids a milking.) Merry Christmas!

Maria White - December 25, 2014 - 10:36 pm

Merry Christmas! I love everything about this post. Sleep in again tomorrow! Merry Ho Ho!
I just might! Merry Christmas to you Maria.

Louvina - December 25, 2014 - 10:38 pm

What a comforting posting– I could just feel the peace and restful mood of your day. I, too, have had that kind of joyful flow of not having to rush — to just let the day progress at a leaisurely pace. Just now getting everything tidied up and sitting down to enjoy the soft glow of the tree and the mantel. God is so good– blessed be His name and the Gift of His Son. Merry, merry Christmas, Kelly! Your blog sister, Louvina.
I’m so glad you had a slow paced day today Louvina. It certainly makes for a wonderful Christmas Day to me. Enjoy your tree this evening.
Merry Christmas sister!

Jeanne Bell - December 25, 2014 - 11:03 pm

Dear Kelly,
Enjoy the quiet moments, we all need that sometime.
My 4 year old grandson wanted his own “Baby Jesus Play Set” aka a Nativity Set. We went to see him open his presents this morning and he had it all set up, but he didn’t think baby Jesus had a proper bed so he had him laying on a hockey puck… least he knows the reason for the season.
Have a blessed and merry Christmas. Also, your church looked beautiful.

Vickie - December 25, 2014 - 11:04 pm

Merry Christmas from my family, to yours! Thank YOU for a year filled with beautiful, thoughtful blog post that I always enjoy reading!!!!

Vickie White
Tallahassee, Fl

Merri Jo - December 25, 2014 - 11:16 pm

Kelly, what a lovely post to read before I am ready to drift off to sleep on this Christmas night. It is wonderful to hear that you had a quiet, cozy day–just what you need after being sick. You have incredibly thoughtful sons–it’s so great that they’re together , since they couldn’t be with you all for Christmas.
Your church and the lights & luminaria are beautiful! Enjoy your remaining break, and your dear family.

Carol - December 26, 2014 - 12:20 am

Merry Christmas Kelly! Thank you for the beautiful, inspiring posts this past year. I have a long list of “must visits” for retirement thanks to you. I didn’t know you were a John Denver fan too. I have all his albums and the matching CDs. Did you ever get to see him in person? He was AMAZING at Red Rocks, CO. He was in his element and hands down the best concert I’ve ever been too! Can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2015. Happy New Year to you and your family!

Katrina - December 26, 2014 - 4:43 am

Merry Christmas Kelly! Everytime I see in my inbox that you have a new post, it is just like a pretty wrapped Christmas present to me!
So glad you had a restful Christmas Day! As a gift to yourself sleep in the rest of your break! Don’t overdo it getting ready for your BHG shoot ( can’t wait to see the pictures!)
Thank you for the lovely pictures of your church and the reminder of the true meaning of Christmas!

Judy - December 26, 2014 - 6:52 am

well Kelly I’m a little late but I wanted to drop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas! I’ve been laid up since Monday with the crud and flu and need to be taking care of sweet baby boy…but of course I have to stay away until I’m better, hoping that’s today…the meds have finally kicked in! My poor mama wonders what happened to me! My sister visited with her yesterday and told her I was sick.

You bring such joy to all of us with your posts. I always feel like I’m visiting with a good friend when reading your blog….so well thought out and presented…along with your “sweet voice”.

Merry Christmas sweet friend and Happy New Year!

Mary Ellen Doris - December 26, 2014 - 8:09 am

Merry Christmas to you also and to your family! Your post, today, was so delightful…most especially since it all related to Christmas in spiritual terms. Our Church decorated a Christmas tree in our town with ornaments related to Christmas and titled our tree “T’is the reason for the season”! Your church photo was so wonderful. We had just the same day as you as my husband has not been feeling well so this year we did Chinese food and cocktail franks for dinner…ha! I even took a nap! Fantastic. But we all enjoy your posts so much I would never forget to open each one and spend a few minutes with you! Thanks for all that you do for us out here and feel better! Happy New Year.

Arlene@Nanaland - December 26, 2014 - 9:47 am

Now I know we are secret sisters, Kelly! I had that same album and just about played it out!! I had it at Nursing School and played it all the time. Actually I knew I would marry Marvin when he took me to a John Denver concert in Atlanta while we were dating. :) Hope you are feeling better! Loved seeing your family’s Christmas! Sometimes small celebrations are the best.

Dawn - December 26, 2014 - 9:55 am


I am so glad to hear that you had a peaceful day that included some silliness. That is a perfect day. We had a wonderful day spent with family. I do love packaging almost as much as the gift. The catch in your breath as you wonder what could it be? Then you think whatever it is you will love it. The person who bought it for you knows you so very well that they shopped at your favorite store! I always feel so loved when at this time of year! Thanks for sharing your holiday with us. I love the nativity at your church. It is one of the largest I have seen. (I love nativity scenes so much that I now collect them since my family gifts them to me). I hope today finds you sleeping in, resting and just hanging out. Blessings to you and your family.

Amber L. - December 26, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Oh, my goodness – I want to live in your town!! So charming. I was lucky enough to see John Denver in concert in Louisiana when I was a senior in high school. This would have been in 1979 or 1980; to be honest, we were more into rock at that time, so JD wasn’t as popular as he had been some years before, but a group of us went and it was phenomenal! We were amazed :) I’m grateful for that memory…

Kim @ Vintage Pretties - December 26, 2014 - 9:46 pm

Merry Christmas to you as well! Thank you for always sharing your lovely home.

Kathy - December 27, 2014 - 12:10 pm

Sweet! Your church is beautiful. What a great idea for the star to get closer to the stable each night! I am so excited about your BHG news and your son’s acceptance to Yale. Merry Christmas to you in so many ways! (Praying for your father-in-law.)

Carmen - December 29, 2014 - 3:45 am

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!!

Debra - December 29, 2014 - 1:01 pm

Still recouping here, from the hustle and bustle. It looks like you had a Christmas that brought you needed peace and comfort in a new form. Its ok to rely on our cherished past Christmas memories to sooth our heart when all our loved ones can’t be under one roof at Holiday season. You have a beautiful home and family Kelly and I thank you again for all your sharing through your wonderful blog. From the looks of the cozy fire, to the cinnamon buns and that photo of your church (so calendar worthy) I’d say you had a pleasant holiday. How sweet was it too, having your mom nurture you with dinner and that special album. Blessings and Goodness to you and your family Kelly.

Jane C. - January 3, 2015 - 8:50 am

Just catching up on some computer time. Your post was absolutely beautiful. What a lovely church and stable. My daughter, Claire, used to have a thing for Nativities when she was little. I think she had six of them, in all shapes and sizes. Everyone here has had some kind of bug, so we have been really low-key (lazy) for the last two weeks. Not a good start to New Year Resolutions for exercise and cleaining up the house…LOL! Enjoy the rest of the remaining holiday season. I look forward to following your posts in 2015.

Historic Macon Christmas Tour of Homes: The Interiors – Part 1

house 7 kitchen sitting area cornerI know there have been a zillion home tours in blogland this season, but I hope you have time for one more (well actually 2 if you count tomorrow’s.:))  I am saving my favorite home for a post all its own.  There is a wide range of styles here…some are obviously not my taste, but nevertheless it made for a fun tour since our group of 5 had very varied likes and dislikes.  I am going to keep my writing here brief because we are all quite busy! So here we go…the interiors to go with the exteriors you saw in yesterday’s post.:)

House #1

This home was very period appropriate and had speakers telling about the history of it.  I only photographed the main living area here.

house 1 parlorHouse #2

The owner of this home loves decorating for Christmas and has a massive collection of just about everything imaginable.  If it related to Christmas – she had a collection.:)(Sorry for the fuzzy photos – in a hurry and no tripod.)

house 2 nutcrackershouse 2 dininghouse 2 kitchen cabinetshouse 2 breakfast barhouse 2 breakfast room

House #3

This old home was very well done and classic in feel.

house 3 living roomLoved the fabric on the chairs 3 fireplaceCute vignette on the kitchen 3 kitchenAn amazing stove…house 3 stovehouse 3 diningThe staircase was beautiful,house 3 staircaseand this stained glass window was at the first 3 staircase landing stained glass windowA gentleman’s 3 libraryhouse 3 bathroom

House #4

This home had a dark rich color scheme.

house 4 diningThe butler’s pantry was one of my favorite things on the entire 4 butlers pantry

Here is the breakfast area off the kitchen.  On the table, they had photographs of previous owners and old newspaper articles that told the history of the home from when it was built to the present.  I thought that was a great addition to the tour.

house 4 breakfast roomHouse #5

This was a little cottage that was currently being renovated.  The ceilings were made from reclaimed lumber. The owner was such a sweet lady – offering all the guests warm chocolate chip cookies and hot cider.:)

house 5 kitchen

Isn’t the cabinetry beautiful?house 5 kitchen sink

House #7 (yes, I am skipping #6)

This home was over the top.  I believe a professional designer did the holiday decorations (and possibly had his home on the tour last year…but I am not 100% sure about that.)

house 7 foyer chest

house 7 hallway

house 7 staircasehouse 7 stair landinghouse 7 living roomhouse 7 living room village

There were 2 fireplaces in the living 7 living room fireplaceA little nook off to one side of the living 7 living room nookhouse 7 dining roomhouse 7 dining room tableThis is the kitchen island set for 7 kitchen islandThis wall of cabinets was behind the 7 kitchen cabinetsThis is the tree that you see from the 7 kitchen sitting area tree

And this area, right off the kitchen, was my favorite space in that home.  Love that corner seating with all the cute red pillows!house 7 kitchen sitting area

It is a lot of work to prepare a house to be on a Christmas tour, and it also involves a huge dose of trust in people to allow a large number of strangers to roam through your personal residence.  Because of that, I have purposely split this tour into exteriors and interiors and did not match them together to protect the privacy of the people who so generously opened their homes to visitors.  Obviously, I did not photograph everything about every home.  There were some whose exteriors were more to my liking than their interiors, and vice versa. I have numbered the houses just for the sake of my photo files, and the numbers do not match up with their number on the tour.  Got all that?  I just wanted you to understand my thinking on all of this.

Still scurrying around here.  BHG called today.  In addition to the photoshoot for the Christmas Ideas magazine, they are going to send a crew an additional day to do a video tour for their website.  Glory! I said Yes, as long as I don’t have to be on camera.:)

Much to do…………………

Thank you all sooooo much for all the get well wishes for both me and my father in law.  My mother in law was also hospitalized yesterday but has since been released.  I am doing much better.  Wish I could say the same for my father in law, but I am afraid not.  Keep those good thoughts coming for him.

I hope to be back with part 2 (my very favorite house on the tour) tomorrow.  If I don’t make it then, it will be Christmas Day.  Hope you are enjoying time with your family.

Until next time…

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Teresa H. Fields - December 23, 2014 - 6:55 pm

Thank you for this post. I found a solution to my snow village issue. I have mine on two small long tables. Not many places to put it. House #7 has one that looks to be set up on a square arrangement. That set up would work better for my home. Now I can’t wait to try it next year!

Dawn - December 23, 2014 - 7:19 pm


Thank you for the sweet tour. I appreciate all of your nice photos. I am sending prayers your way for good health for all in your family and extended family. Enough of the sickness and hospitalization all ready. I wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas eve and Christmas!

Louvina - December 23, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Love looking at all the different decorations– however, I enjoy your decorations and tablescapes the most and especially your porch!! It is just my favorite place to “visit” in your home!! Every season it seems you come up with the best ideas and make it feel all different. The chalk boards are so “you” and it truly amazes me how you keep coming up with all the ideas to feature on them! I now have 3 in my home and enjoy creating on them. Usually a couple of sayings and a menu. Baking is done and tomorrow one more run to Publix and an all oven meal on Christmas Day!! Trying to keep it simple but still having something everyone likes. Hope this bad weather front passes you by! Peace, joy and love to you and yours.

Mimi - December 23, 2014 - 7:47 pm

Okay, now I’m not feeling so bad about all the nutcrackers in my house…someone else has a far more serious addiction–er, collection. :-) I’m with you on that butler’s pantry–love at first sight (and second, and third sights too). Beautiful!

Continued prayers going up for your father-in-law. I’m glad you and your MIL are feeling better. Praying that 2015 brings you all joy, good health, and rest!

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - December 23, 2014 - 8:01 pm

Any house with a library, leather chair and loads of books gets my vote for favorite room. So many beautiful things to see. You are wise (and thoughtful) to mask the locations of the homes.
Hope everyone feels on the mend soon.

Merry Christmas!

Laura Ingalls Gunn - December 23, 2014 - 8:27 pm

For the three years I lived in Warner Robins I attended the Macon Tour of Homes. Never attended anything since that rivaled it. (It’s been 10 years.) So this was thrilling. It also made me think about Maconite Mark Ballard, whom I haven’t thought about in years but man, could he decorate!

Health and happiness to you and yours in the new year!

Cindy - December 23, 2014 - 10:44 pm

Kelly, what wonderful news about you son. That is something to be very proud of. Congrats to him and you for your BHG house shoot. Looking forward to seeing your home in print.
Praying that your strength holds up and for you father in law and for husband, I know from experience this is a difficult time for him.
Merry Christmas, Cindy

Andrea - December 23, 2014 - 10:51 pm

Kelly…..what a great tour…while there have been so many, this was one of my favorites….I can’t wait to see more!!!!

Garden, Home and Party - December 23, 2014 - 11:06 pm

I liked some of the furniture in each of the houses, overall I think I liked the most in House #3. I can’t wait to see your favorite, I usually love your favorites.
I’m sorry to hear your father in law isn’t recovering as quickly as hoped. I will say a little prayer for him and for your continued recovery.

By the way, I’m preparing the tapanade recipe you posted several months ago. I made it once before and everyone voted it a winner so I’m preparing it for an appetizer for our Christmas Eve dinner.
Best to you this holiday.

Ruth - December 23, 2014 - 11:34 pm

Many years ago, my family’s home was on a Christmas tour. Even at 9 years of age, I worried (more than my parents did, obviously) about someone using the tour to “case the joint.” Consequently, I applaud your thoughtfulness and sensitivity in taking measures to protect the privacy of the homeowners whose houses are showcased.

Not to sound like a Fan Girl, but I LOVE your blog and get a “leap of the blood” whenever I see a new Talk of the House post among my emails! You are right on target with my decorating sensibilities — or the ones I wish I possessed! Of all the gorgeous places you’ve highlighted, none is more appealing to me than your own warm and inviting home. I all but drool over your holiday photos, and have added many of them to my idea book for our house re-do, whenever that may occur.

I’m sure I speak for many of your readers in extending deepest thanks for the many bursts of happiness you’ve delivered via your posts! I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts for the holidays, and wish you all a swift return to good health, and all good things in the new year.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - December 24, 2014 - 12:31 am

Beautiful homes Kelly…May you have a most joyous Christmas with your family!!!
Merry Christmas!

Nan - December 24, 2014 - 7:33 am

Love these homes!!! I want to come visit next year!! Thanks for sharing with us!!

Emily - December 24, 2014 - 8:11 am

Kelly, thoughts and prayers for you and your family. Thank you for thinking of us and providing these posts during a difficult time. I always look forward to your blog. Congrats to your son and to your magazine photo shoot with BHG! ! And last, thank you for introducing me to Mitford. I am on a wonderful journey!

Take care.

Cheri - December 24, 2014 - 9:13 am

You and I have similar taste as I also like the stove, staircase and Butler pantries. These make me drool.

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Jayne - December 24, 2014 - 9:19 am

What a tour! So many styles! Can’t wait for part two. So excited for you! You have come a long way in a short time of blogging! Congrats!

Amber L. - December 24, 2014 - 2:15 pm

Gosh – my Christmas wish is for all of you to get well! Lovely post. Hope you don’t mind me including links to my two favorite Christmas commercials :)

PATTI - December 24, 2014 - 7:31 pm

Merry Christmas & get well wishes to ALL in your family! Congratulations also on your son’s acceptance to Yale-you & your family must be extremely proud. Thank you again for a great “place” to come visit.

Historic Macon Christmas Tour of Homes – The Exteriors

Christmas tour house 1It is dark and rainy outside today…which actually seems more Christmas-y to me than our often sunny and 60 degree December weather.:) But we are going for a walk and forgetting about that rain for a bit.  Okay?

Christmas tour house 1 front doorWe are strolling through the historic district of Macon, Georgia today to have a peek at the beautiful old homes there – dressed up in their holiday best.

Christmas tour house 2This late in the season you don’t need one more idea for Christmas decorating.  That would mean more work!

So just enjoy the decorating that has already been done by others.

Christmas tour house 3Just look at this gorgeous old three story! I love that they used so much fresh greenery on it.

Christmas tour house 4

Christmas tour house 4 front doorDon’t you like the planters for the little trees in this next one?

Christmas tour house 5Macon is hilly, and we have done a lot of walking.  Let’s rest under this huge magnolia tree here at the corner. Do you see that porch with those peppermint striped columns over there?  I know this house is going to be beautiful.

Christmas tour house 11Most definitely.

Christmas tour house 11 frontDid you enjoy our walk?

This tour was actually one my husband, mother, daughter, daughter’s roommate, and I took a few Sundays ago (and yes, it was a very hilly walk.) I want you to go inside these grand old homes with me in my next post.

You’re going to love it.:)

Here is a sneak peek of something fun that was in one of them. (You know I can’t resist a bicycle with a basket …especially a red bicycle!)

bicycle for ChristmasStill working on Christmas here.  The tree is up and decorated as of 11:00 last night.  Hallelujah!

Merry Christmas!

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Marianne in Mo. - December 22, 2014 - 10:23 am

Just found time to read this and the previous post, hope you are well by now and that your father in law is doing better. I finally got my tree up on Friday – took me the entire day, had to keep stopping to rest!
Get better and have a great holiday!

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - December 22, 2014 - 10:55 am

Macon has some gorgeous homes, and they look even nicer at Christmas! Glad you are on the mend, and the tree is up! Merry Christmas to you!

Dawn - December 22, 2014 - 11:37 am


Thanks for the pictures of the beautiful homes. I like those. I can’t wait to see the insides. That bike so so you!

Sandy - December 22, 2014 - 12:02 pm

I smiled when I saw the cute white containers with the trees that you pointed out. I have the same ones with small artificial trees and white lights on the sides of my front door too. Glad you have recovered from your illness. Our grandson has been to the doctors twice with a terrible cough. Andrew will be ten in January. He asked us (retired teachers) for a desk and lamp for Christmas. That’s fine since his sister asked for an American Girl Doll (Julie.) Thank you for sharing the houses. I’m interested to see the decor inside these spacious homes.

Louvina - December 22, 2014 - 3:12 pm

What a lovely holiday walk!! It felt like we were right there with you and your family. I love looking at holiday homes. Even like peeking inside windows at trees and lights at night– from my car, of course!:) Dreary here in central FL, too– almost looks like it may “snow” before nightfall!!:) Cleaning and doing little last minute tweaking– also cuddling with my little Yorkie, Holly Berry– it really is the most wonderful time of the year!!

Debra - December 22, 2014 - 6:42 pm

Such Grand homes. I haven’t been on a house walk in years. It must have been fun to be able to see the interiors. Can’t wait to see your pictures. Loved your daughter in the first picture. She looks like she is giving you the “look” with that tilted head, or is that a “model” pose? So cute. That’s what happens on a blog photo shoot. :( So glad to read that you finished your tree. I hope your father in law is doing better. I finished cookies this morning and will wrap tonight. Just had to take a quick break again, to peek at your blog. :) Talk of the House addiction… :) I don’t know how you do all you do. Thank you for putting so much into your posts Kelly!

L J - December 22, 2014 - 10:44 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed the walk–nice steady pace–and I needed the exercise cuz I’ve been in kitchen all day baking up a storm of “goodies”. Yikes–my tree is not quite finished–but looking forward to visiting the Macon interiors.

Genie - December 23, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Oh my sweet beautiful hometown where I was raised…I remember these homes and many more that are there.
Our wedding reception was in the Sydney Lanier cottage… thank you for such a lovely post on a beautiful city.

Shar - December 23, 2014 - 3:29 pm

Merry Christmas Kelly! I love “visiting” your lovely home & wish you the best for the holiday season.

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