Christmas Past Home Tour

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!”

-Charles Dickens

Oh the joy of Christmas past. So many memories fill my heart, and each bauble and bead brings back a forgotten one that cheers a weary soul through the challenges this year has certainly brought to all of us. 

It seems we all need some Christmas cheer this year, and this tour is the perfect place to find it. Thanks so much to Marty for organizing everything. She always does such a great job, and welcome to those of you coming over from Shayna’s beautiful home at The Wood Grain Cottage.

I love Christmas. I love everything about it from the most important aspect – celebrating the birth of Christ, right on down to the cultural traditions and customs, from trimming the tree and hanging stockings by the fire to singing Christmas carols and the first taste of my mother’s fruitcake. My memories of Christmas are absolute magic and the stuff dreams are made of, not because we had lots of gifts, but because of the wonderful family times, church services, and brown paper bags filled with an orange, an apple and a few candy canes. 

The older I get, the more I want to keep that old-fashioned magic alive, and to be honest anything from the 1880s until about 1979, captures my attention. I particularly love the open, imperfect trees strung with tinsel, colored bulbs and icicles that were fixtures in pretty much every American living room until the early 1980s when clear lights began to gain favor, and icicles and tinsel faded away into the past, replaced by clear lights and themed trees.

Since I built the mantel out of wood from great-granddaddy Porter’s house here, I wanted something that could have been in a parlor anywhere from 1896 to the 1940s. All the Christmas tree details are in THIS post. 

I love color (obviously), and Christmas just fits right in with my normal decor. In our living room, I like to add velvet pillows and warm throws so we have a comfy place to watch Christmas movies or vintage TV. 

I decided to put the little cardboard house replica I made of the old house on my great grandfather’s drop leaf table. I’ve never been a Christmas village kind of person, but adding the vintage ceramic church and some faux fur, definitely made this little vignette have that feel.

The windows were salvaged from the old house, and I attached picture wire to the backs then lined with sheet music. The Chinese ancestor prints were inherited. I cut juniper and euonymus to hang over each window.

The mantel is certainly a joy to decorate in any season, but Christmas is definitely a favorite. The Perfection Kerosene heater is from the early 1900s and is original to the property here.

I made the red velvet mantel scarf this fall, and that’s just the touch it needed for Christmas.

The 8-day clock is from 1920, and I thought my great grandmother’s portrait from 1921 was perfect to go beside it.

For the antique buffet, I really wanted something different this year so I added a plaid runner, silver tea/coffee set, and great grandfather’s antique oil lamp.

An old wagon wheel hub holds juniper and nandina berries from the yard. Underneath the buffet is an antique book/printing press.

I saved the oranges I dried last year and used them again in the greenery around the light and on the centerpiece. I layer a faux garland then add fresh pine that can easily be pulled out and exchanged for fresh.

I always use my J & G Meakin Romantic England dinnerware at Christmas time so I set the table using silverplate trays and a Mikasa Italian Countryside plate as a charger. The sterling flatware is Wallace and Sons Louvre from 1893, and the crystal glassware is Cristal d’Arques Durand Longchamp I started collecting back in the 90s.

The oil lamps are from the old house.

Our kitchen and dining are all in one now, and we have loved having it like this since we took out the island. 

For the kitchen, I added greenery to the tops of the cabinets and some other seasonal touches with towels, plates, etc. 

If you’re new, we made the wormy chestnut countertops about eight years ago from reclaimed wood off another little house here on the property. 

I forgot to share, but I changed out the white-painted shelves when I found a stack of stair treads from the old house. These stairs went to the third-floor room where this tongue and groove wormy chestnut was. How amazing to have it in its original, unpainted condition. 

On the shelves, I used a combination of vintage Blue Ridge Poinsettia, Meakin Romantic England and Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles.

My son loves the hot chocolate station, and now that he is home doing remote school, he really likes to have a cup in the mornings  – like he’s drinking coffee😉

I actually bought those Santa mugs at Walmart a few years ago, because all my vintage mugs are small. These are great for a large cup of hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream on top.

For the centerpiece on the table, I used an old board to contain everything and to make it easy to remove the entire thing if needed. We always eat buffet style, or I serve plates, so we never need space to have food sitting on the table.

I layered different varieties of greenery and pine cones then added sparkly fruit Christmas ornaments my mother gave me many years ago.

For the center, I chose my great grandmother’s castor cruet set from the late 1800s and filled it with what I believe to be proper Victorian condiments – salt, pepper, oil, vinegars and dry/powdered mustard.

I love knowing these very lamps lit the darkness for many family members before me, and that my great grandmother filled those very bottles to grace the center of her table. I’m very happy that these things ended up in my care and not in a thrift shop or antique store.

We do enjoy this cheery, little house, and it really feels cozy and welcoming at Christmas. Surrounded by things passed down from family and living here next door to my parents, on the homeplace my great grandfather bought, is definitely a blessing I do not take for granted. 

And in the spirit of my grandfather, I have finally, after all these years, added new items to my online version of Knight’s Store, so please come by for a visit to find a handmade gift or something special just for you.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please be sure to check back and visit all the links this week so you don’t miss any of these fabulous tours! Next up is my crazy talented friend Cristina atRemodelando la Casa, so be sure to hop over there.

Merry Christmas friends!!

 

Monday December 7th

A Stroll Thru LifeWorthington CourtClean and ScentsibleStoneGablePink Peppermint DesignDecor To Adore 

Tuesday December 8th

Modern GlamIt All Started With PaintTown and Country LivingHymns and VersesMaking It In The MountainsLife On Cedar Lane 

Wednesday December 9th

Designing VibesInspiration For MomsGrace In My SpaceThe Wood Grain CottageWhispering Pines HomesteadRemodelando la Casa

Thursday December 10th

CitrineLivingOur Southern HomeSouthern State Of MindDuke Manor FarmWhite Arrows HomeThrifty and Chic 

Friday December 11th

11 Magnolia LaneFollow The Yellow Brick HomeDelightful OrderSouthern HospitalityCassie Bustamante

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17 Comments

  1. Laura @ duke manor farm
    December 9, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    Anita, the glow, the color, the nostalgia….. It's all so beautiful! Enjoy the holiday season.

  2. Decor To Adore
    December 9, 2020 / 3:38 pm

    Anita your beautiful home delights my heart. I adore your red mantel scarf. So happy to be on tour with you!

  3. [email protected] Stroll Thru Life
    December 9, 2020 / 4:00 pm

    I drool over ever single picture of your home and how you always add the perfect seasonal touches to every corner. Your Christmas this year is especially beautiful. Your photography skills are amazing too, each picture is a work of art. Thanks so much for sharing all your amazing family heirlooms and how you create the feeling of Christmas Past. Stunning. Thanks also for joining the tours again this season, your home is especially pretty.

  4. Cristina Garay
    December 9, 2020 / 4:30 pm

    Anita, your home is beautiful year round, but at Christmas time it simply glows!!❤️ It's always such a nice treat to tour your home and read about the story about most pieces, love it! Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  5. Christy @ 11 Magnolia Lane
    December 9, 2020 / 4:34 pm

    Anita–I didn't realize you'd changed your blog name until I started looking at photos and realized it was you! So many lovely heirlooms in these photos; I know you feel surrounded and enfolded by your family here. Kudos on that tree–it's one of my favorites this season. Merry (early) Christmas!

  6. Cassie Bustamante
    December 9, 2020 / 5:13 pm

    Oh Anita, your home just shines!!!! So so beautiful! I love how your jewel tones pop against your dark walls!

  7. Mom
    December 9, 2020 / 6:55 pm

    Breathtakingly beautiful. I will walk over when I feel better. The trees are the most beautiful I've ever seen bar none. Just gorgeous.

  8. Erica
    December 9, 2020 / 10:40 pm

    Anita, your home is just perfect for showcasing holiday decor…the red looks so awesome.

  9. Amber Lyon Ferguson
    December 10, 2020 / 1:11 am

    Oh how I love coming to your home for the holidays! Absolute authentic-vintage perfection! I am also going for a more authentic look for my home this year, with English country and some Victorian Christmas influences.

    I will be visiting this post again!

    Merry Christmas!

  10. Beth Wilson
    December 10, 2020 / 2:15 am

    The board centerpiece idea is so clever! I love your cosy kitchen!

  11. Linda
    December 11, 2020 / 12:58 pm

    Your beautiful and cozy home never disappoints. Your pictures are a feast for the eyes. I get so many good ideas from your blog. When you changed your name and I couldn't you I was sad. But so glad that I did eventually find your blog again and your new name is so fitting!! Happy Holidays in this crazy Covid world!

  12. Anonymous
    December 11, 2020 / 11:38 pm

    I never leave a comment but this beautiful post demands I say something! Every thing is stunning and I love your use of color and family heirlooms. I have to say I am weary of the sameness of all the neutral decorating, and your home radiates your love for your family and your home. Thank you!

  13. Linda @ it all started with paint
    December 13, 2020 / 6:53 pm

    So many cozy spaces filled with nostalgic Christmas decor! It's all so lovely and there are so many lovely things to see! Wishing you a festive holiday season! 🙂 Linda

  14. Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas
    December 26, 2020 / 2:28 pm

    Anita,
    This is my absolute favorite Christmas Home Tour!! I adore your use of deep rich color and also your use of beautiful vintage items!! Simply stunning and so unique and original which is a breath of fresh air where so many others are posting cookie cutter decorations that all look so much alike!! Thanks so much for sharing your originality and for paying homage to your family through your decor…..I thoroughly enjoyed your tour!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

  15. February 23, 2021 / 12:06 pm

    Fabulous pics! The goal is to make your house feel lived in, relaxed, and more like a home. It’s your house for sure!

    • anitaknightdiaz
      Author
      February 24, 2021 / 8:56 am

      Thank you☺️ I definitely want my home to tell our story☺️