White Christmas Charmer
The whole Kit photoshoot gang was in awe upon walking into Rachel Rae Hadley’s home this mid-October. With festive music playing, cozy white blankets, fur stockings, candles, pine cones and the most beautiful Christmas tree in the center of it all, we felt like we had walked into a winter wonderland for this year’s holiday shoot.
She and her husband Chris are parents to three teenagers (Tatum, Tanner, and Tabitha), have lived in Hamilton County on Morse Lake for over 10 years and have been married for 23. Hadley loves interior decorating, especially for Christmas, so we asked her for a few tips to help us get off on the right foot bedecking our homes this holiday season.
Since the tree is such a focal point, Hadley wanted to simplify the rest of the house. To make her family and guests feel warm, cozy and comfortable, she used sweater blankets, fur pillows, casual galvanized buckets, festive containers, wood textures, candles and lots of simple pine and greenery.
More festive details such as gold accents on the shelves, garland wreaths, and a few ornaments and gold-wrapped presents for décor items (which cost nearly nothing) were the perfect touches to combine a little glam with all of her natural elements.
A few ways Hadley made her tree so gorgeous.
Ornaments: Splurge on a few ornaments that stand out. If you’re on a budget, go to Dollar Tree and get those filler items … you’ll be surprised what you can find there.
Garland: Fur from a local craft store cut into strips.
Glitter: Big white glittered bulbs from Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx, and glittered snow flakes from the Dollar Tree.
Zip ties: Used to secure the tree topper.
Hadley used inexpensive items to add color and texture to the kitchen. Try wrapping ribbons around tea towels and using crepe paper to hang wreaths, candy and fuzzy gloves. Instead of buying costly individual wreaths to hang around the kitchen, Hadley cut and wired together wreaths of her own using just one long strip of garland.
Hadley wanted to create a stark Scandinavian look in the master bedroom. To get the look, she used natural blue spruce pine branches in clear glass bottles, woven sweater blankets, simple small trees and skipped the ornaments and glitter.
To add dimension and prevent cluttering up counter surfaces, Hadley hung wire baskets, frames and shadow boxes to display her Christmas trinkets.
“We are all so busy during the holidays. I try and save my friends, neighbors, kids’ teachers and coworkers a little time by making them my Christmas jelly — sorry, my secret recipe. I deliver it with a package of cream cheese or my favorite goat cheese and homemade rosemary flaxseed crackers. It’s a great way to provide them with entertaining supplies that keep well in the fridge.”
Makes 6, 3-ounce servings
Homemade pumpkin spice creamer
- ¼ cup pure pumpkin
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 ounces sweetened condensded milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 shot of caramel vodka
- Whipped Cream, to garnish
- 1 dash of pumpkin spice, to garnish
- 1 Cinnamon stick, to garnish
- Using a blender, mix the ingredients for the Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer until well blended. Then blend in the vodka.
- To serve, either pour contents into an iced shaker, shake and strain, or pour over ice.
- Garnish with whipped cream, a dash of pumpkin spice and a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!
RACHEL’S TIPS FOR CHRISTMAS DECORATING
Tip #1: Just get started: “I know when you begin to unpack, it can feel a little overwhelming. Don’t run the other way — just pick something small to start with like the wreaths or the entryway and soon things will start to fall into place.”
Tip #2: Take your time: “Easier said than done, am I right? When I was younger, I thought I had to put everything up overnight. As I’ve gotten older, I try to take my time and enjoy each step of the holiday decorating process and what it means to me.”
Tip #3: Switch it up: “Traditions are wonderful, but give yourself permission to be OK with a little change. It’s fine if you don’t use every ornament or handmade item you’ve ever received. It’s OK to go with a new color scheme or new stockings … Santa won’t mind.”
Tip #4: See double: “Imitation is the best form of flattery. Copy a great holiday theme from Pinterest, a blogger or a dear friend. That’s a compliment to them!”
Tip #5: B&B: “Basics and building. Just like other home and lifestyle design, holiday décor is no different. Pick a theme and then add the texture, color, sparkle, smells and everything else that makes that theme feel like Christmas.”
Holiday song: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
Gift to give: The gift of time
Gift to receive: Wine and candles
Christmas activity: A Christmas movie by the fire
Christmas movie: “’Santa With Muscles” is the worst and best movie ever. Ten years ago, when my son was 7, it was his turn to pick the Christmas movie. ‘Santa with Muscles’ starring Hulk Hogan was on pay-per-view. It took me three years to finally find it on Amazon, and now every year I make my whole family sit and watch our Christmas movie tradition.”