“Rejoice, O sinners, everywhere for the restorer of the castaways, the Savior of the fallen is born. Join in the joy, ye saints, for he is the preserver of the saved ones, delivering them from innumerable perils, and he is the sure perfecter of such as he preserves. Jesus is no partial Savior, beginning a work and not concluding it; but, restoring and upholding, he also prefects and presents the saved ones without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing before his Father’s throne. Rejoice aloud all ye people, let your hills and valleys ring with joy, for a Savior who is mighty to save is born among you.”

– Charles Spurgeon

I saw this quote this morning one the page of some favorite authors, and it summed up so much of what I’ve been thinking of the past few weeks…

REJOICE because of a SAVIOR, who is mighty to save, has come!

// DIY gold glitter & lights marquee sign that husband and I made. I’m nearly giddy over it, I so love how it turned out. I’m nearly convincing Husband in my gold-crush. :) Also, newly redone fireplace brick. ♥ //

Christmas at the Cottage l JOY marquee DIY

Christmas Cottage l JOY marquee mantel

Christmas Cottage 2013 427

Christmas Cottage l mantel with antlers and garland

Cottage Christmas l small living room with indoor wreath and gold pinecones
Christmas Cottage l noel pillow   Christmas Cottage l Anthropologie inspired

Christmas Cottage l front door entry

Cottage Christmas l front door entry

// I love indoor wreaths. Outdoors is so pretty too, but indoors? That’s when you can really see them to enjoy them. Plus, they smell wonderful. //

You know, so often I say that Christmas is Jesus. I talk to my kids about it, I sing songs about it.

This year, the Christmas season has been clouded by so many losses and sadness. My own family is still present, and Lord granting us life we will celebrate together tomorrow. But I have never known of more loss and sorrow in the lives of people I know than I do this Christmas. For so many, this has been an incredibly hard month, and tomorrow is very sad day. I have shed many tears in the past few weeks – tears for some people that I know, and some that I only have heard of.

And I realize more than ever: Christmas is not about me. It’s actually not about any of us. Yes, Jesus came to save us from our sins, from ourselves. But the emphasis is not, Jesus came to save US. The real emphasis is, JESUS came to save us! A Savior of the world has come. How desperately we need a Savior, and Redemption. I am so grateful He came.

// whispering of Christmas in the kitchen //

Christmas Cottage l kitchen

Cottage Christmas l whispering Christmas in the kitchen
// THE best gingerbread cookies ever found, and perfect for children //

Cottage Christmas l gold & gingerbread
Cottage Christmas l gingerbread men


Cottage Christmas l feather wreath inside kitchen door   Christmas Cottage - lovely silhouette vignette

Christmas Cottage - kitchen mantel

This is not about a magical feeling I get at Christmas. It’s not about my world being perfect, or the people in my life being perfect.

This is about JESUS. About the redemption He offers us, about the gift He’s given us through his life and death. About the reality that this life not being the end of life ~ and sometimes it takes painful, shocking things to make us realize that. Christmas is not about it just being a happy day for me; it’s about worshipping the One who has given us a reason to live, and a reason to anticipate the life after this! That doesn’t mean it won’t be a happy time, but that the focus isn’t us; it’s on the One who gave us salvation and redemption.

It’s a frightening thought that Christmas can even be turned into idolatry, when we make it about ourselves, about what we want out of it.

// Jesus, the hope of the world! //

Cottage Christmas l dining room


Cottage Christmas l ornament garland
Christmas Cottage l Dining Room
// ‘Mommy, why does that ‘joy’ have a world in the middle of it? Oooooooh! JOY TO THE WORLD!” -Zoe, age 6 //

// also, feel free to laugh at my geography. I wasn’t looking at a globe while drawing it and realized how little I know details! //
Christmas Cottage l Joy to the World chalkboard

// One of my favorite vignettes in the whole house; the oversized chalkboard. The great thing about having a husband who is a carpenter is that I can rummage through his extra scraps in his shed and find almost any pieces of scrap wood I want. All I bought in Christmas décor this year was wrapping paper and a few strands of Christmas lights. //

Christmas Cottage l oversized chalkboard in dining room
Christmas Cottage l Christmas details


And even with the heaviness and brokenness and sadness of life, there is also such deep JOY. Because this isn’t the end of the story! Because Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind! He offers hope, and justice, and righteousness, and life everlasting!

Christmas Cottage l music room mantel

music room Cottage Christmas l music room

It’s a strange thing that makes joy and pain run parallel, and even stranger how the human heart can feel both so deeply, at the very same moment.

But in the midst of this gift of life, I want to squeeze every drop out of this precious gift of life. I am a different person because of the Life Jesus has imparted to me; my heart can know peace and rest, even if there is sorrow and misunderstanding and brokenness and sad relationships… and how could that NOT bring such joy? Joy not because of perfection in my life, but because of Who I know that is perfect, and yet loves me anyway. Joy not because of everything being happy; but because of knowing I have a Savior and Redeemer of my heart! This is Christmas; knowing Jesus is Christmas.

// master bedroom; sometimes this can feel like the most difficult room in the house to pull together, and there are still things left to do; but right now, I do love it.  //

Christmas Cottage I master bedroom

Cottage Christmas l master bedroom wreath

Cottage Christmas I  bedroom vignette

Cottage Christmas l master bedrom vignettes

Sometimes, this December, it’s seemed silly to decorate the house all pretty when there are such tragedies happening all around the world. But the flip side of that is that I’ve been given today, I have the incredible gift of loving my family today. There is no promise of any tomorrow, but today, I want to make it special. Today I want to love them so hard. Today I want to squeeze them tight and make special memories and create traditions and watch their eyes sparkle to see pretty things. That’s not silly or wrong. That’s loving them.

// the front entry //

Christmas Cottage l welcome holidays

Cottage Christmas l front porch entry

// a few DIY projects… ♥ //

Cottage Christmas l southern snowflakes

Cottage Christmas l DIY gold mug


The most amazing thing to me this Christmas:
Emmanuel: GOD WITH US.

That will always amaze me, and cause me to worship.

God with us.


Thanks for following these Sister Christmas Home Tours the past week. It’s been so fun to interact with you and I think my sisters have enjoyed it too. :) Many of you know there are actually four of us sisters, and may wonder why there isn’t a fourth home tour. Well, Claudia and her husband were in Colorado for several months this fall, and just returned home. I do hope she’ll give us a tour of their home one day, but it won’t be this Christmas. :)

Thanks to those of you who stop by this little spot. I’m so honored by your visit.

To those who have great sadness this Christmas: may you experience the presence of Emmanuel, the miracle of God with us. May He bring you great comfort, because He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the One who came to bring Healing…

To those who are so excited about Christmas: don’t feel guilty. :) Enjoy the moments, treasure the togetherness, drink in the love, and you worship Jesus doing so. May you also experience the miracle of Emmanuel, the God who became man to be with us, and the One who dwells within us now.

We will have a quiet Christmas, a first for our little family to be alone, before spending time with extended family. We are very excited about both. I asked the kids for food ideas, and the all the girls for was grits for breakfast and shrimp for dinner ~ I laughed, because they are definitely being raised in the south. :)

Happy happy Christmas to all of you!


32 thoughts on “A City Cottage {Christmas Tour}

  1. Rach

    What do I love about your house?? Everything. Your Joy sign. Your front door. Your simple kitchen. And your thoughts in this post. We are in Alberta for the holidays with my family & my dad & I have been studying genealogy ;) When I learn anything I’ll let you know! Have a Merry Christmas!

  2. j swartz

    Everything is SO gorgeous!! I am in love with the mantle results & the joy sign is magical!! Looks like you’ve done a lot of new signs/chalk art this year. So pretty… Are you getting into colored lights too? Anthony and I decided we actually kind of like them this year,they look vintagey. It’s amazing to think that we try to celebrate joy down here but those that just went to heaven would say we ain’t seen nothing yet! ;) love the gold mug. See you soon. XO

  3. Janell

    Your blog is my favorite…thanks for sharing and being an inspiration and encouragement!:) God bless your holiday! You have such a beautiful family!

    1. Janell

      Oh and the house tours were a real treat :) love it all but your joy sign and everyones chalkboard art was the best!!!

  4. Sharon w

    Your blog is my favorite one to check! Thank you for the focus and inspiration to make Christmas really about Christ. Your home is beautiful, sweet, and warm. Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas :)

  5. Shelly

    You know how I love your heart and your ability to put all these truths and thoughts into words that flow into heart-healing and freedom-giving paragraphs . . .to wherever each of us is this Christmas. I know I am so very grateful forJesus this Christmas in so many deeper ways than ever before~because He is the ONLY one who makes sense in a senseless world. The only PEACE and HOPE and JOY. Without Him coming. . . Without him in my life. . . Without His coming again soon, we would be absolutely peace-less, hope-less, joy-less. What a king. What a savior!

    I want to squeeze your munchkins, sit at your table, lean on your kitchen counter and take in your cottage beauty in the REAL just like I did in the autumn season . . . Your skills in that area of beauty bring rest to a soul as well! But in the meanwhile, I’m so much looking forward to moments together again and I’m excited that you get to spend Christmas Day there in the cottage with your little family. I love alllll your decor. . . But your cute little gold-painted mug made me smile the mostest. :)

    Xoxo. Merry Christmas, Clarita!

  6. Esther

    I love your marque sign rather than just letters…a tute, please? :) As for the rest? The decor is lovely and classic but the words are TRUTH spoken…thank you!

  7. Karyn

    So beautiful in every way. I echo your message of Jesus, our Joy, Peace, Hope. And I love your decor! A dear friend of mine lost her husband a few weeks ago and I feel the sadness…may God give us the grace to bear each other’s burdens. But with the Holy Spirit in us, there is Comfort. God bless you for sharing your home and testimony!

  8. Heidi s

    Your home is lovely. Natural beauty brought inside is my favorite. I love the greens in the windows. I did yhe same thing with pine cones and ornamemts hanging.
    The gold dipped cup … amazing. Merry Christmas

  9. Breana

    Merry Christmas, Clarita! My family has just L-O-V-E-D the Christmas home tours, and we’re looking forward to seeing Claudia’s next year! ;)
    May the presence of our Jesus uplift you today.

  10. Rachel Helmuth

    LOVE the words in that first paragraph and actually all your words here. And for speaking into my heart the why’s of creating beauty even when there is so much grief and ugly and hard in the world around us. I can feel guilty about that sometimes, but yes, I do want to bring beauty to my world in spite of. because HE is beauty. and life. and I choose to LIVE. something I feel pretty passionate about. I really really like what you did to your fireplace brick. It’s easier on they eyes or something cause I noticed how soothing it was right away. and your gold JOY. LOVE LOVE. Thanks for doing these tours. I really enjoyed them.

  11. Kim

    Your “Joy” sign is lovely. The word joy has taken on special meaning to me this year as I looked more closely at Luke 1. Imagine how Mary felt when she arrived at Elizabeth’s home, newly “with child,” and needing someone to believe her story. What did God provide for Mary? A preborn prophet, filled with the Holy Spirit, who leaped with JOY (verse44) when he heard Mary’s greeting. What wonderful confirmation for this young woman at the very beginning of her God given assignment.
    Joyous Holidays in Christ!

  12. Christy

    Oh, wow, you have such beautiful decor. Your new fireplace looks is beautiful and the JOY sign is gorgeous!!! Oh, and the antlers, too. I have been learning to love them as I see them more and more often. Such a pretty version of the mounted deer I’ve seen. :) I also like the JOY chalkboard with the world drawn into the O. I grinned a little at the geography but only because I know the surprise that something I’ve seen so often is strangely unfamiliar. :) Your snowflakes are exquisite! and the coffee cup is beautiful.

    This year I’ve been hearing a lot of people identifying with the line “the weary world rejoices,” and I feel it, too. The last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot of a few lines in the song, “My God I Thank Thee.”

    I thank Thee more that all our joy
    Is touched with pain,
    That shadows fall on brightest hours,
    That thorns remain;
    So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
    And not our chain.

    Wishing you a very wonderful time with your family.

  13. Joleen

    So So much Pretty! Loved the house tours. I’m continually amazed at how everyone has their own completely unique styling and artistry. It makes for such a colorful world, and I’m so appreciative. :) And that mug is so lovely.

  14. Kellie

    Everything is so beautiful! I just love your darling home!
    I, too, know a lot of people who are hurting this Christmas season- three families who lost a child this year. Thankfully, two of the families know their child is with Jesus.
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and thank-you for the reminder to enjoy each day as a gift from God.

  15. Cw

    I could just drink in the beauty of. Your. home.its a sweet haven of gods love flowing through.I found your blog through a friend and totally LOVE it!may god bless you for being a blessing to all of us!

  16. downonthefarm2

    your house and décor are so lovely. I always enjoy pouring over the details. :) probably one of my favs is the map with the words joy to the world in front of it. your new joy sign is awesome too.

    celebrating “Emmanuel: GOD WITH US.”
    because isn’t that the only thing about the first Christmas that was even Christmasy?
    and still. today. with so much going on that is just plain hard. it’s gotta be that.
    all that. love what you wrote.

  17. Kathy Maldaner

    Your JOY sign is so perfectly gorgeous. I love things that are simple and uncluttered, and pack a powerful punch. This does.

    And made with your best guy? Can’t think of anything I like to do more than just that!

    I don’t feel like I get much time to read blogs, but yours is one that never fails to inspire me.

  18. Jenny

    Glad you accepted my friend request on FB so it is easy to find your blog, now that we have all scattered! This was so good to read Clarita! I am feeling a bit sad as my grandbabies and two older boys and daughters- in love have all gone home now, and it was GOOD to read about Christmas and the reason for the JOY to the whole WORLD, because our King Jesus came for us all!
    I so love all your little details and joyous decor too. Reminds me of my youth ( and energy) with babies and our cottage by the sea in Laguna. I had greenery everywhere, and the sweetness of happy sparkling eyes and excitement in those years was precious.

  19. makingitcomplicated

    I saw those antlers . . . ;)
    I hear you about the losses this year. Such a time of being pointed to Jesus both In the celebration of his first advent, and in clinging to the second one for relief from this broken world!

  20. amber

    i adore this post in every way –
    and YOU even more!

    could look at these pics all day long.
    i never tire of christmas. not ever!


  21. Marylou

    Somehow I missed seeing this post earlier…. Lovely decor! And I love the mug that Zoe gave for Christmas! Thanks for your part in that!!! I love your JOY canvas with the lights. Did you find battery operated lights or is the cord hidden by the other decor?

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