Jenn Morgan Danny Drake

Haul out the holly, string up the lights and set up the tree - it's time to decorate for Christmas. This year however, our usual festive house is going to look, well ... different.

From the exterior of our house, you wouldn't notice any difference in decor. We have just a few icicle lights and a reindeer or two. I am sure the blow-up novelties are soon to come per the request of a little mini Morgan. Lucky for my husband and I, my daughter is too young to submit her request for a giant looming snowman that looks like it met with an unfortunate turn of events when not inflated. You know the popular outdoor displays - you actually feel bad for Santa and his fallen reindeer when you see them lying lifeless on the lawn.

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Take a trip inside our house and for a moment you may think you wandered into the toy section of your local Target store. A LED plastic snowman perched atop our living room coffee table replaces the once elegant vase filled with shiny glass red and green ornaments. Look up and you will quite possibly see my color-coordinated stockings hanging from the fireplace mantel. Oh, you didn't notice them? That's probably because there is eight feet of baby gate in front of the fireplace that demands your attention. If you let your imagination run wild, you may be able to visualize the beauty that lies beneath the the safety gate. The top of the mantel, where a set of nutcrackers used to amongst the branches of a greenery swag, is now filled with pictures of my baby girl. I think they look charming any time of the year.

You may see a random children's holiday book or Santa hat thrown on the floor (decorations courtesy of my daughter), however that about does it for the rest of the floor. Why? I simply grew tired of re-arranging the re-arranged holiday bling (once again, courtesy of my tiny tot). But trust me, it is not any less festive as you will find red cookie crumbs on the floor and the rejected green vegetables from dinner splattered across the table.

Venture over to our family room and you will spy a tree that is fully lit but looks half-dressed midway down. Since glass ornaments are banned from our house for fear of the potential hazard they present, my husband and I considered trimming our tree from top to bottom with the shatterproof balls. When our daughter began catapulting the ornaments across the room and trying to stick the tops in her mouth, we re-evaluated our initial decision. So, our tree, barren of ornamental accessories from the waist down, begs for your sympathies just the same as those poor deflated lawn blow-ups do. If there was a Santa that rescued awkward trees to take them to the Island of Misfit Seasonal Displays, I am sure our house would be his first stop.

While the house may not look like it jumped out of the pages of a seasonal Martha Stewart magazine, it is one full of joy. What is my favorite decoration of all? A little angel with blond hair and blue eyes who goes by the name of Isabella. I have a feeling she will be a classic that stays with me through the years.


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