Decorating for Christmas (plus a few excuses)

I wanted to get my Christmas decor posted, oh about 12 days ago, but well… It obviously didn’t happen. I was hoping to be able to join in on all the fun link parties around the blog ‘hood. Better late than never!

I don’t like making excuses on my blog. If I don’t post for a few days, you generally won’t see an apology from me. I’ll just pick up where I left off. I get annoyed when I read excuses on other blogs, so I try to leave them off of mine.

With that being said, I’ll be honest with you guys. I haven’t been as motivated lately with decorating and blogging. I haven’t been feeling well for awhile now, and it’s finally really catching up with me. I don’t know if it’s the cold, or the allergies, or what, but I feel even crappier than I usually feel.

I never feel 100%. Ever. I’ve struggled for a long time to figure out why I feel so run down and tired all the time. I have to drink an energy drink just to get basic tasks done. I’ve finally narrowed it down to two things that I’m pretty sure are the root causes of my feeling like I have a mild flu every day.

I’m about 99% sure I have Non Celiac Gluten Intolerance. Sucks. Really Bad. But at least when I don’t eat any gluten I feel a whole lot better. My sister was recently diagnosed, and we share the same symptoms. I’ve been gluten free for about 3 months and am feeling better already.

I’m also pretty sure I have Hypothyroidism. The more I read, the more I think I’ve had it for years and it’s just getting worse and worse. I have an appointment with an Endocrinologist next month and am anxiously counting down the days. It’s genetic, and my dad and grandma both have/had hypothyroidism, so I feel I’m a pretty good candidate for having it myself.

So, I’m sorry I’ve been posting less lately. I genuinely want to be here with you guys, I just haven’t felt awake enough.

This year I decided to go “minimal”. I brought down all the Christmas decor, and after a week of it covering the floor and me not feeling motivated to deal with it, I put out a few decorations, boxed the rest back up, and stuffed it in the garage. We do have a beautiful tree and mantle though so I don’t feel like too much of a Scrooge.


I decorated with tons of Target Dollar Spot ornaments last year {here & here}, so this year I just added them to all my glass jars and my big red lantern.

2011_christmas_decor_3  2011_christmas_decor_2


I also added all my glitter pinecones to the mantle because I’m pretty much obsessed with sparkly glittery things. In addition to the glitter pinecones, I also added my glitter framed vinyl tree to the mantle.


Last year I hung our bright ‘n funky Old Navy Stockings on the mantle for a more casual feel, but I decided to go more traditional this year with my handmade velvet stockings I made years ago.


Besides the mantle and the tree, I also decorated the railing on our staircase. I couldn’t resist the Old Navy Stockings. They are so bright and cute. The kids are so confused now and keep asking if Santa is going to fill both of their stockings. Maybe it’s a faux pas to have multiple sets of stockings in the same room but I don’t care one bit. I love them all.


Some Walgreens glitter trees and Target reindeer (both from last year) have been added to my green cart in the entry.


Ben and I have a set of glass ornaments from Russia that we try to put out each year. They are too fragile to put on the tree so I hung them from an ornament stand I picked up at ikea.


Here are some snow and candles on the shelves in our dining room, which I shared with you last week.

The rest of the decorating is on the headboard turned sofa table that I dragged from behind the couch. I might leave it here instead of putting it back behind the couch. I really like it here so much better.


Some of the decor on the sofa table are my terra cotta Christmas trees, West Elm Nutcracker Knock-Offs, and Silhouette Advent Calendar. There’s also a bowl of candy, a stack of children’s Christmas books, and a few of random decorations.

And that’s pretty much it for Christmas 2011. This is the year of simplicity. Even though I haven’t been crafting like a crazy person, covering everything in glitter, and decorating every square inch of the place, I still think it’s safe to say my mantle is looking a lot prettier this year than last.

Last year:

This year:

I think it’s safe to say I’m slowly getting better at decorating. Not perfect by any stretch, but better.


I hope you have a nice easy simple holiday season!

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  1. Can I just say how much I hate you, seriously! Your house is so clean, and decorated so nice. I really hope you can figure out 100% what is making you feel bad. I was low on Vitamin B, and once we upped that I started to feel way better.

  2. It all looks classy! I hope your doctors can help diagnose what is slowing you down and help you get your pep back!

  3. Oh Allison! I know your pain! My dad was diagnosed with gluten intolerance about 10 years ago. When he was diagnosed practically nothing was known about the disease, but now there is so much out there. My mom has gotten so good at making the food and most of the times you can’t even tell. Let me know if you need any good websites, recipes, or tips! I hope you feel better. It took him about 6 months to feel back to normal so you’re well on your way 🙂

  4. I haven’t even got the boxes out!!! They are still in storage! My house is a disaster. You are doing amazing – especially if you feel sick every day! Yuck! I hope you figure out what is going on and can solve/treat it! It’s no fun feeling sick all the time.

  5. HEY! LOVE your decor, it’s clean and perfect. Wanted to mention (sorry, you don’t know me and I’m giving you my two cents) that I also experienced hypothyroidism ( Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis) and am gluten intolerant. They can be linked in that the nutrients that it takes for your tyroid to funtion properly isn’t able to be absorbed because your intestines can’t absorb it. Been gluten free for a while now, and starting to feel better and notice when I’ve been glutened:) I’m excited for you to be able to live in a way that makes you feel healthier. Merry Christmas!!

  6. Well, phoeey, Allison! I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling so bad- would have never guessed from all your great posts and projects. I recently figured out I was gluten intolerant- it isn’t always easy to give up all those goodies, but feeling so much better sure does help motivate me. B12 is a necessity for me as well- great energy booster. Keep us posted on your test results, ok? Praying for ya!

  7. First, you don’t have to apologize and I hope you start feeling better soon. Honestly.
    As a Celiac who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 27, I spent the better part of my teenage years and all of my 20s in the same run down state so I know how difficult it is. I also suffer from hypothyroidism (huge link that you’ll notice as you do your research). Not that it matters if you are a true Celiac or just have a major gluten intolerance, sticking to the diet, or should I say, lifestyle, will make the biggest difference you will ever imagine. For your peace of mind try and find a doctor that has a good history of Celiac research and info under his/her belt to make sure that is ruled out completely. The lifestyle is the same if you are Celiac or gluten intolerant but there are other factors to consider in long term health with Celiac disease as well as the genetics to consider. After I was diagnosed my dad, paternal aunt and several cousins all came in line shortly after.
    Hang in there. Feel free to shoot me a note to vent or for questions. I sit on the board of a local gluten free support group so I have plenty of info to share. Big hugs.

  8. I love all of your decorations…and I also love seeing the transformation of my style every year!

    Also – both of my parents are gluten intolerant…there’s lots of great recipes and substitutes you can make that will make you feel 100x better soon!! Best of luck!

  9. Sometimes, less is more…it looks great! On my scale, that’s not minimal…I must be, like, negative…

    I have Non-celiac gluten issues and I feel horrible cuz I’ve OD’d on the stuff this week… gotta cleanse now..ugh! I wonder why I ever put the crap back in my mouth…Oh, I know, it tastes GOOOOOD… blech! Hope you get to feelin’ bettah!

  10. The house looks great! Hope you can get a good diagnosis and move forward and start feeling better. Keep being awesome.

  11. Everything looks beautiful and I hope you start feeling better real soon!

  12. I was the same way about blogging excuses…then I quit blogging at all.

    Your house looks beautiful. I wouldn’t worry about not having everything out. It’s less to put away later. 🙂

    I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism four months ago. It was the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. My TS3 levels were severely low. I looked back at pictures of myself and I can tell you when my thyroid stopped working. All of a sudden in pictures my face is swollen. My ears, under my eyes, my eyelids. I have been on Armor (a non-synthetic thyroid) for four months. I am a different person. I have energy. I wake up after a good nights sleep and I don’t feel like I need to go back to bed. I have lost 34 lbs. The brain fog has lifted. That was the worst…the brain fog. I wondered if I had ADD or early onset Alzheimer’s. I just had my hairdresser cut of 14 inches of hair. My hair growth in the last 4 months has been silky and shiny and healthy. That 14 inches was dry, thin and brittle. My fingernails aren’t falling off anymore and my hands and feet are no longer tingling. I am not cold all the time…well, except for frigid Utah winters where I am less 34 lbs. My cholesterol has gone from dangerously high to the low end of normal and I am no longer severely Vitamin D deficient. My face is no longer swollen and my fingernails are no longer falling off. There are so many things a malfunctioning thyroid can cause.

    Taking care of your thyroid will be such a good thing. I had to push and push until I found a doctor that was willing to dig deep and figure it out.

    I wish you well. When you know that something is just “off”, you need to trust that.

  13. I hope they get you a correct diagnosis (or 2!) so you can get back to feeling like you again! I know what it’s like to deal with chronic illness and feeling like crapola all the time girl. Got my fingers crossed for you and will be thinking about you. and just so you know you’re way ahead of many of us… I haven’t even gotten the Christmas stuff out of storage LOL

    big hugs to you!

  14. Your tree is beautiful and I love the colorful stockings on the stairway!
    They are so adorable!
    And the glass jar with the Christmas balls is wonderful! I must do that…thanks for the inspiration!

  15. I too hope you can find the right kind of diagnosis, and start to feel like yourself again.

    My four year old son was looking over my shoulder at your post at your this years mantel and said “I like that one the best, mom…I think we should make our house look like that tomorrow.” only if we could…. : )

    My best to you…

  16. Take care, Allison! I hope you get lots of answers at the doctor – and that eating gluten-free continues to make you feel better!

    (Love the Christmas decor!)

  17. Heather Anderson says:

    Feel better, BFF! I think my issues are related to thyroid as well. Finding a doctor that wants to deal with it is another issue all together. Keep me posted! Love ya!

  18. Less is more and everything is beautiful! I have hypothyroidism and felt the way you do. Once it was diagnosed and meds taken I became a new woman. I know nothing of that celiac disease but hope that whatever it is they diagnose it an you can get on with your life. Chin up!

  19. I’m so glad your starting to feel better. It sucks when your not 100%. I’ve kinda felt the same too. And my blog shows it! Turns out I had allergies and the meds I’m on now are REALLY helping. AND your house looks WONDERFUL, Allison! I like simple. You ever notice how when you go to that “certain” someones house that’s decorated their home with enough stuff to decorate a 3 story mall, it’s like being smacked in the face with Christmas! LOL!

  20. Hope you feel better! I have many friends who have gone off gluten and within 3-6 mths there was a huge difference!

  21. Gluten-intolerant & autoimmune here, too! The best I’ve found in the past 18 months – quinoa pasta (it takes longer & takes more water but is terrific), Mi-Del gluten-free gingersnaps, 100% corn tortillas, making my own steel-cut oats in the slow cooker, and gluten-free Bisquick. I haven’t found a terrific bread or pizza crust yet, but this is enough to get by. Asian rice noodles are fantastic for chicken noodle soup. Glutino crackers taste burnt (all the ones I’ve had – blech). There’s a hard-to-find lentil flour cracker that’s tremendously good.

    And this info is just a small, insufficient thank-you for getting to read your blog and see your wonderful ideas!

  22. I am sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well. I hope things improve soon.
    As for the gluten intolerance, I feel for you. Thankfully, I have never suffered with it but have several family members who do. I know it is not fun and can be a big challenge. Thankfully, more and more stores and restaurants are recognizing the need for gluten free items. That should at least make it easier for you to find the things that you can eat.
    Lastly, I think your house looks amazing. It is way more than I probably would have accomplished if I was feeling under the weather. I especially love the jars with ornaments. It is amazing how something so simple can have such a big impact.

  23. Margaret Langenberg says:

    I hope the Dr. can get to the bottom of it. I have struggled myself with poor circulation and then hashomoto thyroiditis for almost 20 years. I finally broke down and had the left lobe removed and felt wonderful for all of 5 months. I discoverd that sometimes you are either hypo or hyper thyroid and the lab work in certain individuals won’t show it. So that might be something to bring up in your appointment. Also get your Vitamin D level checked as I was seriously low. They say that also can make you run-down and tired all the time and is also hard on thyroids. Hope they can figure it out. Good luck.

  24. Take care of you! Enjoy your family.
    The house looks great.
    I hope you feel much better SOON!
    Merry Christmas!!

  25. Looks great, Allison – I have 2 trees up, and only one is 1/2 decorated. Lame. But this is the first day in 8 days I haven’t had a full calendar. Only a short work day and then….you’ve inspired me to finish at least one tree – thank you!!

  26. Hope you’re feeling more peppy soon! I am glad that I’m not the only one who has trimmed down on the decorations this year! I have everything my kids have ever made, and this is the 1st year I haven’t put it all up 🙂 Maybe next year…

  27. Can’t wait to hear what your doctor says…because you are like one of my best friends and I care about you….even though we’ve never met nor had a conversation. I hope that it is something as cheap and easy to take care of as hypothyroidism!!

    HEY!! Can we be BBFs, Best Blog Friends?

    I’ll take your silence as a yes. 🙂

    Take care, Allison.

  28. I really am glad I stumbled onto your blog and I like that you’re a real person and not pretending to be all hunky-dory but admit when you’re not feeling well. I am a physician and specialize in women’s health but also do primary care and so many people in mid-life just don’t feel good anymore. I also think that hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance are rampant and connected. So I hope the endocrinologist you saw was open minded if your thyroid levels were off and didn’t just look at the TSH and T4. There’s a lot more to it than that. But if not then email me and I’ll send you a guide I wrote for my patients that’s a work in progress. It’s never really done and needs more editing but it explains a lot in 38 pages. And if you are ever never Peoria or Chicago, Illinois give me a call!
    Rebecca Knight, MD

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