An Update and a Few Things I’m Doing to Prep for the Holidays!

“Some people are born for Halloween, and some are just counting the days until Christmas.”

~ Stephen Graham Jones

Open Dutch Door in Foyer

It’s been a busy few weeks in my little world.

Jim and I took a quick trip to Los Angeles to see The Rolling Stones.

We stayed at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.

A longtime dream of mine.

It was every bit as wonderful as I hoped.

I took a ton of pictures and still need to sort through them.

Two hats on bed


The day after we returned from LA, I sped off, our favorite Contessa in tow, to Salinas.

Cindy Hattersley hosted a fun girl’s luncheon in her spectacular courtyard.

Annie, Most Lovely Things, flew in from the East Coast!

She wrote a blog post about it and shared her photos of Cindy’s beautiful home.

Ladies at Lunch

From left to right, back to front – Annie, Most Lovely Things ; Heidi, Heidi Michelle Art Studio ; Moi ; Elizabeth, The Vintage Contessa ; Kim, Northern California Style ; Mary Ann, Classic Casual Home ; Cindy, our hostess, Cindy Hattersley Design

I transformed Snowberry’s library into a dining room

to host our son, his fiancé and her family for a belated engagement dinner

and wedding wine tasting.

We tasted 11 wines and narrowed it down to five for the big day.

More on that later.

Today I want to talk about Christmas.

Prepping for Christmas.

And a few things on my to-do list in November to prepare

so I won’t feel rushed or overwhelmed in December.

To Do in November …

  • Order 2022 planner and add important dates. I love Erin Condren and ordered this one
  • Update holiday card address list
  • Design & order holiday cards
  • Buy holiday stamps
  • Request wish lists from kiddos in the family
  • Create holiday gift list (and get gifts purchased!!!)
  • Buy holiday gift wrap, ribbon, and tags
  • Schedule a holiday tea date with my sister. Oh, wait, she already did that. We’re going to the Fairmont San Francisco.

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Waechtersbach Mugs in Coffee Tray

Decking the Halls

This year – no surprise – my holiday décor will fall firmly into the less-is-more category.

A lot less.

Last year, our first Christmas at Snowberry, I went all out.

By all out, I mean all out for me.

This year we’ll be away for Christmas

and I’m undecided about putting up a tree.

On the pro side, it’s an artificial tree so it’s easy.

And I’m in love with the woven tree collar I bought last year.

On the con side, we’re going to be away and won’t be hosting any holiday events in our home.

It’s a tough call.

What I will be doing is decorating my front porch,

foyer, and great room.

The day AFTER Thanksgiving.

After revamping and organizing the garage earlier this year,

all my Christmas bins are well marked and easily accessible.

Garage Storage Shelf stacked with bins

Next weekend I’ll haul them out and rummage through to see what makes sense for this year.

The good news is, I’m not in need of much in the way of décor.

But there are a few things I’ve already bought, ordered, or have my eye on.

Christmas Breakfast Table and Tree

For the front porch and foyer …

Last year, our first Christmas at Snowberry, I decorated with a traditional red and green theme.

This year I’m keeping it neutral …

but many pieces from last year will still work and can be repurposed.

  • Remember the wreath I ordered for fall? It arrived a bit late. Or, more accurately, I decorated early. You can read all about it here. It will make its debut for the holidays. It came with a pretty ivory bow, but I may replace it with satin and velvet streamer ribbon in cream and latte. Stay tuned.
  • I always keep lanterns on the porch with flameless candles. And I fill the lower portion of the lanterns with mini pinecones. This year I’ll add a nest of twinkle lights on top.
  • When poinsettia’s hit the market, I’ll add a ring of small, white plants around the boxwood planter basket. And the boxwood will get a twinkle light treatment too.
  • Last year’s ivory, beige and gray plaid and faux fur throw will do a repeat performance on either the porch or foyer bench. Each bench will need a throw pillow … I’m still working that out. I’ve got my eye on this one and this one.
  • Since I’m going with a neutral theme, my fall porch rug will stay in place with a holiday doormat layered on top. I’ve narrowed it down to this one, this one and this one.
  • I’ll also zhush up the window boxes and planters around the driveway bench for a more Christmasy feel.
Neutral plaid throw and pillow on porch bench

Last year’s front porch bench.

For the Great Room …

To tree or not to tree … that is the question?

While I mull that over, here are a few things I’ve got planned for the great room:

(Don’t laugh, but my major nod to the holidays will be a throw.

I know, I know … me and my throws.

I’m obsessed.

In fact, I think I’ll devote an entire post to all my favorites.

I get asked about them so often and I have thoughts.)

  • Speaking of my throw obsession, I just bought the thickest, coziest most luxurious throw ever … in cardinal. Yes, cardinal … as in red! I think it will highlight the hint of red in our Roman shades.  It’s going to be so good, and I can’t believe how excited I am about it.  Now … where to place this big, thick, gem colored beauty? I’ll throw it – pun intended – around the room to see where it works best.
  • Large, glittery pinecones for my big wooden bowl on the bookcase.
  • On the coffee, a repeat performance from last year. This year I think it will be pretty to add twinkle lights to the hurricane, on top of the sugared cranberries.
  • On the mantle strands of faux garland with pinecones and votives interspersed. This is tricky because because of the TV.
  • And finally, an amaryllis in a terra cotta pot on my console table. Early to mid-November is the time to get amaryllis bulbs for a Christmas bloom.
  • Oh, and a big, white poinsettia in my blue and white planter on the dining table.
Fireplace and Mantle Decorated for Christmas

Last year’s coffee table.

Getting into the holiday spirit …

Hallmark’s Christmas movie extravaganza gets underway this weekend.

Martha Stewart Living published the entire lineup, you can see it here.

And there’s nothing like a good holiday themed book …

these are a couple I can’t wait to read.

  • Christmas in Peachtree Bluff by Kristy Woodson Harvey. Have you read Kristy’s Peachtree Bluff series? It’s so much fun … heartwarming and addicting … and left us wanting (needing) more of the Murphy women and their stories. Kristy heard us and she delivered … with a Christmas tale no less! It’s already on my nightstand. Oh, and it’s officially a NYT Bestseller!!!
  • A Christmas Legacy by Anne Perry. As a longtime devotee of Anne’s Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Victorian era mystery series, I’m thrilled that her annual Christmas novel revolves around the Pitt’s former, investigative-minded, maid, Gracie. I pre-ordered on Kindle, it will be released next week.

And, while we’re getting in the spirit, how about a fun holiday cocktail, or two?

Cranberry Tequila Punch

Apple Cider Sangria


Cranberry Tree, Bell, Stacked Books

Giving thanks …

Enough about Christmas, we still have Thanksgiving to look forward to.

It’s just three weeks away.

Are you hosting this year?

I’m not.

You can check out last year’s Thanksgiving table here.

We’re going out for dinner this year, and I need something to wear.

I wore this dress to last weekend’s engagement dinner.

Don’t you think it’s perfect for Thanksgiving?

I wore it with sandals, but I’ll pair it with suede booties for Thanksgiving.

Probably something like this, but wouldn’t these be fun?!

That settles that, or so I thought.

Last week, while shopping at Target and minding my own business,

this fabulous faux leather pencil skirt jumped out at me.

Then it followed me to the check stand and now it’s in my closet.

I have no choice but to wear it, right?

Maybe with a cashmere sweater or black turtleneck and these boots I just bought.

I don’t know … which is your favorite?

The dress or the skirt?

If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner,

get excited about this new cookbook Gobble: The Quintessential Thanksgiving Playbook

by Nadine, PK and Christopher Isacs.

They’re the Sista and nephs of one of my, and probably your, favorite bloggers,

the Preppy Empty Nester!

Over the years I’ve seen the Preppy Empty Nester and her Mister enjoy

spectacular hospitality at Sista’s home.

And now she, and her food and wine loving boys (I mean adult sons), are sharing their secrets.

It would make a great gift.


Holiday Pin Collage

So those are my plans, I’d love to hear yours.

For  now, my fall décor remains firmly in place until the day after Thanksgiving.

Teak bench in front of shingled house decorated for fall

Although one of my real pumpkins succumbed to Mr. Squirrel and his family.

They’re so cute and working furiously to prepare for winter

and I don’t begrudge them a free meal.

As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheers from Snowberry!


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  • Juliet, I love all of your HOLIDAYS plans. I alwasy find it best to prep and do things ahead or I find myself behind and mailing my Christmas cards from the airport. One year on the way to Paris I wrote my cards while sitting in the Atlanta airport, I went to mail them in the airport and the box was nailed shut so back to the crowm room I went and a fabulous Delta employee said she would mail them for me, and she did. Wheh I arrived back from my trip everyone had their cards.
    I love you decor and touches of Christmas in every room and on the porch. I love Christmas and grew up in a house where more is more as far as Christmas is concerned. We have Christmas trees in our bedrooms and in the family room, living room and on the back deck. I love it. Here at my house we have 4 or 5 trees but most of them are only 4 feet tall and are easy to decorate with favored ornaments and themes.
    Love the dress, and think it is perfect for Thanksgiving with booties.
    As for your other finds I have to go and follow the links to see all of your great finds. I cannot wait to get my copy of Katie of the Preppy Empty Nester, sister/sons cookbook. They seem like a lovely family and this is a beautiful tribute to their husband/father.
    Have a wonderful weekend Juliet, looking forward to seeing your holiday decor after Thanksgiving.

    I vote for the BIG TREE even though you won’t be celebrating christmas at home you can still enjoy putting it up and decorating it and the lights, etc.

    • Everyone’s voting for the tree. I feel out numbered!!! That’s funny about your Christmas cards. Mine have turned into New Year’s cards a couple of time, that’s why I’m determined to get them done early. When I went to the post office for stamps, they were already out of holiday stamps and I had to settle for something else. I guess this should be on my September checklist. Haha! xo

  • Your posts are always fun and make me laugh! I DIDN’T know you had a son. Congratulations on his engagement. Look forward to hearing more about the party.

  • Oh my gosh! You’ve been very busy! So many great tips in this post and I can’t wait to see how you decorate your porch! I think I would skip the tree if I were you…especially since you won’t be there!
    Thank you for the book recommendations.! I’m always looking for a good book! Great Post!


    • Miss Daisy … I knew you would be a YES to the tree!!! I haven’t been to the City in eons either … it will be fun! xo

  • I love the dress for Thanksgiving. I like to put our christmas tree up even if we are going to be home for chri stmas. I don’t bother to decorate it. Just turn to lights On. It makes the house look mOre christmasy withouT all the woRk. Sorry for all caps. Your sight won’t let me use lower case.

  • all your Plans and ideas have left me inspired.
    As for the Tree, out it up but maybe just with lights? You can enjoy iT with minimal effort. We wint ne home for Christmas either., so that is what i am planning. Go for the wrEath and berry pillow!

  • Super ideas Juliet! I am coming back to this for for gifts like the books and throw. i am with you- I don’t go overboard on decor, but there are some sentimental things I need to have out and the tree is a must. It just brings me joy all season seeing the light from it. I get traveling, so maybe artificial would be less stress? I know the whole fire thing.

    How have I missed all these books? I will check out the Thanksgiving book. I love a good guide! We have one from the NYTimes food guy that is our Thanksgiving bible. As far as outfits, how can you go wrong? Both super pretty. Isn’t that skirt fun? Love the dress on you and looking forward to the post about the engagement party.

    PS Jealous about Shutters- it’s been on my lisst. We usually stay at Loews or whatever right next to it. I’ve been to shutters for drinks and it was gorgeous! Great post!
    xo Kim

    • Kim … so funny, we went for drinks at the Casa Del Mar (I think that’s the name) and wondered if we should have stayed there … it’s gorgeous too!

  • Hi Juliet,
    Sounds like you had a fun escape to see Mick and the boys! I will ask you all about it the next time I see you.
    I think a tree is important for the holiday if you’re going to be there, but otherwise I understand why you wouldn’t want to bother. As for me, for years now I’ve been toying with the idea of getting an artificial one. We need a really tall tree and they are getting harder to find due to the drought. But, I love going out and stomping through the forest to find ours every year so I doubt we’ll ever ge t one in a box!
    I have a throw OBSESSION too! I need get rid of some things to make room in my linen closest s for more throws! a quick and easy way to bring in color, and oh so cozy when the heater isn’t quite doing it’s job!
    I like your spare decorating style for the holidays, no matter how hard I try not to be turns outI’m a “more is more “kinda gal. But not til the day after Thanksgiving!
    You can wear that fabulous pleather skirt for dinner and then change into the long dress for the evening when you get back. You know, to lounge around the fire with a drink.
    XO Heidi

  • Loved this post, juliet! You’ve given me all sorts of ideas and inspiration for the holidays. And thanks for the book recommendations — I always love having something new to look forward to sitting on my nightstand! xo

  • hi juliet
    i hsve come back to rerrad your post over the last dY! cong ratulations on your son’s engagement.
    we keep waiting for one our end ;0)
    i do love a tree!
    love the boots
    loved the girls day
    happy saturday!
    ps just doenloa the first book in the series

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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