Decorating Our Small Apartment for Christmas

2016 was a tough year to get into the spirit of Christmas. With our wedding looming just over the New Year, decking the halls and fa-la-la-ing kept slipping to the bottom of my to-do list. As you all very well know, I love the holidays, but this year, I struggled to put in the full effort to do a holiday theme and max out my celebrating with cookies, custom gifts and good cheer. However, we did get a chance to decorate our apartment.

The layout of our 650 square foot apartment in San Diego is basically a box, but a few architectural details provided fun decorating opportunities. I didn’t get a chance to decorate my bookcases and dining room like I usually do thanks to a hoard of boxes related to the wedding (ahem – cases of wine), but we did get to experiment with garland throughout the rest of the space. Check it out!


Oh, four foot tall Christmas tree! Oh, four foot tall Christmas tree! How perfect you are on a side table! Yes, sir, you bet our apartment is too small for a full size Christmas tree. I found this pre-lit tree on Amazon for only $35. You may recognize it as my Halloween tree earlier this year.

Over the years, I’ve collected ornaments in my travels as souvenirs. Unfortunately, our little tree couldn’t hold them all. Thank goodness for a large collection of garland!


Our doorway provided the perfect place to add garland and more ornaments. Who wouldn’t want more ornaments?! We hung the garland with pushpins because our apartment is painted with high-gloss and therefore, 3M Hooks don’t work. *Sad Jen* We added a fake mistletoe ball for a touch of tradition and viola! The perfect entryway for our humble abode!


Long time readers of my blogs will recognize this piece. I created it by hot gluing together green accent pieces from Michaels Stores. This year, a special handmade ornament from my mom made it’s debut. How cute is that snowflake?! My mom is so talented.


Additional garland decked with ornaments was used to outline the ceiling and corner of the living room. Not only did it allow us to put up more ornaments, the lights gave off a beautiful glow at night.

The card string returned for another year of hanging holiday cheer. I can’t believe how well this card display has held up over the years. Just some cording and clothes pins (decorated with wrapping paper) makes for a beautiful display of Christmas cards. Traditionally, I have hung this over my bookcases or on the tv stand, but this wall was just itching for some more love. I think it worked out pretty well.


Speaking of decorations that stand the test of time, check out these old friends! I’ve had these Muppet stuffed characters since I was a kid. I think they may have been McDonald’s toys in a past life. My Christmas bear and Charlie Brown have been along for the ride as well.

I’m happy to announce that new to the crew this year is El Flippo, a stuffed penguin made by Hank, my soon-to-be husband. He wanted to re-learn how to use the sewing machine so I bought him this Jolly Penguin panel project on Amazon to try. The result was a lovable, cuddly penguin added to our Christmas collection. We love him!


This craft favorite made its return as well. This Joy sign is so simple yet so fun. You can find the tutorial over on The Creative Cubby here.


May the holidays be with you! I bought Hank this candy cane holder from Hallmark last year for Christmas. I haven’t been able to find anything like it since, so I’m happy I snagged it when I did.


Now, I still hold to it that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is NOT a Christmas movie (despite what Hank will tell you), but this book from Disney has found its way into our Christmas book basket. Maybe it’s the illustration on the cover, maybe it’s because I give into Hank around Christmas. I don’t know. But it’s there… and it’s awesome. The story is re-illustrated by Tim Burton, which adds to the fun. We bought our version at Disneyland, but you can, of course, get it on Amazon here.


Last, but not least, I got to look at these adorable felt lightbulbs over my tv everyday. I think I love them more now than I did when I made them last year. You can make your own by following the tutorial here.

And that’s all! Our apartment may be small, but it is mighty! I still can’t believe all of these decorations fit in it.

We are already planning to make a come back next year with the Christmas themes. I can’t wait to share with you what we’ve dreamed up! In the meantime, I hope the holiday spirit stays with you throughout the whole year!

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