Am I Skipping Christmas This Year?

Have you ever read the book, Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham–THE John Grisham who normally writes exciting mystery/adventure novels? It’s a good one if you haven’t read it. It was eventually made into a movie that was similar but not exactly like the book.

So am I skipping Christmas? Well, not exactly, I did get my favorite Christmas decoration up–the wreaths. Those are always an absolute must, I just love how they look. I’m always sad when it’s time to take them down. Think my neighbors would notice if I left them up to March? 😉

Hang Wreaths on Exterior Windows for Christmas


I don’t think I’m going to put up a tree this year for several reasons. Family won’t be coming here this year, instead, they’ve asked me to come there. My grandsons always get super car sick whenever they go on long trips. Even going to the beach in the summertime is a challenge each year. Plus, it’s hard to pack presents, suitcases and all the stuff two adults and two kids need for a week into an SUV. So since I won’t be hosting family here for Christmas this year, it just didn’t make sense to bring the tree up from the basement, haul down all the ornaments from my bonus room/attic storage and decorate the tree without family here to enjoy it. Reason #485 why I should probably move to Ohio!

Also, if you’ve been reading BNOTP for a bit, you know I’m in the midst of some renovations right now. Since family won’t be here this year, I decided to go ahead and get the drywall and molding installed in the unfinished part of the basement. I think that will take place next week. Today I have an HVAC guy coming out to advise me if I should go ahead and add a vent to this area. So there’s a lot going on around here at the moment. Looking forward to sharing this room once the drywall is in.

Room for a Freezer


Once Christmas is over, sometime in January I’m having Granite Garage come out and work their magic on the flooring. They have a winter special going on right now, so the timing is perfect to get that done and save a few $$$.


I’ll be going with the same color that I used here in the garage, I think it’s called Farmhouse Gray–love this color!

Granite Garage Flooring, Garage Makeover


There’s been a lot going on that I haven’t shared…boring stuff like having the main water line to my home replaced after the other one started leaking recently. I don’t share everything because frankly, water lines are boring!


They did a great job, you can’t even tell where they dug now!

Hang Wreaths on Exterior Windows for Christmas


As if all of that’s not enough, for the last few days I’ve been trying to figure out an issue with the blog’s RSS feed. After a million emails between myself and the company that sends out email notifications to BNOTP subscribers, it looks like the issue is a rogue plugin update. Plugins for blogs are a lot like apps on phones. If you get a bad app, it can mess up a lot of other things on your phone. I think the issue has finally been fixed so hopefully emails will go out now shortly after a new post goes up on the blog, as opposed to 8 hours later, which is what was happening. This is the first post I’ve written since that was fixed, so we’ll see if this one goes out in a timely manner.

On to more fun stuff–I’ve had a few emails the last few days asking for the recipe for this Christmas punch I make for parties or sometimes for Christmas breakfast or brunch.


If you would love to make this delicious champagne punch, you’ll find the recipe here: Insanely Awesome Champagne Punch.

Delicious Champagne Punch Recipe for Christmas


How about a little eye candy from the past–one year when my son, DIL, and grandsons were here for Christmas, I loaded up the porch swing with presents for my grandsons. I thought it would be hilarious to see their faces when they came out onto the porch. It was a big hit and they loved it! If you have a swing on your front porch, you could wrap a bunch of those Amazon boxes we all have waiting to be recycled and create this fun look for your porch…or your porch rockers!

Porch Swing at Christmastime


Seeing these old pictures is making me nostalgic. I’m giving myself FOMO! Ha! I may have to break down and decorate the front porch this weekend.

Christmas Porch with Sled and Presents with Cars Bringing Home the Tree



Do you love decorating with pillows at Christmas time? If so, check out this post for some Christmas pillow eye candy: Decorate for Christmas with Whimsical Christmas Pillows.

Advent Calendar on Pillow, Christmas Pillow


Okay, I’m off to finish my table for Tablescape Thursday–hope to get it done before the Heating and Air guy arrives. See you tomorrow for Tablescape Thursday! If you’re a subscriber, I hope this post arrives in your inbox by mid-day instead of tonight! If you’re not yet a subscriber (it’s free!) you can subscribe here: Subscribe for Post Updates.

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  1. Wow! Do you suppose your water line replacers would come up to Portland? Whenever someone on our street has their water line replaced, their front yard looks like Godzilla has been through! We’re going to have to do ours in the next few years – I hope I can get someone as good as your people!

    Love the presents in the swing! I bet your grandsons were thrilled. I hope you get just the right amount of decorating in to be festive but not overwhelming! Thanks for sharing all the fun with us.

    • Thanks, Barbara! I started to have the plumbing company I use for my hot water heater do the work. They asked me where my irrigation system cut off value was which prompted me to call the guy who installed that many years ago. He told me that he could do the replacement and that my yard wouldn’t get torn up as it normally does. I didn’t realize that plumbing companies do that! Hearing your experience, it sounds like he is right. So I gave the job to him. He took a great deal of pride in leaving it looking like he hadn’t even been there. I could tell that was super important to him. I really appreciated it, too.

  2. I’m supportive of the skipping Christmas idea. I was so tired after putting up tons of decor (and still less than in the past) that it took me a week to recover and have announced skipping it next year. We have decided to go somewhere warm and easy. One of my best Christmas memories…after years of decor, baking, special meals, gift shopping and wrapping…was skipping it all, going to the Virgin Islands, and drifting around a pool on a float while a marimba band played and I could hear the ladies making the brunch buffet. lol, maybe you could put hearts and pink or white ribbons on your wreaths and get some more time with them. Why not? I think sometimes we worry too much about fitting in and don’t do things we would love. Did you ever read “When I am old I shall wear purple” ?
    That made an impression on me. Hope your week is enjoyable!

    • Jillian, your vacation to the Virgin Islands sounds so much like the book! lol You would enjoy the book! I don’t want to spoil it for you, but their plans to skip Christmas don’t exactly work out. 🙂

  3. franki Parde says

    All’s well in my “in-box”…”HERE’S SHARON!!” Luv the “swing!!!” You do know, I’m a “swingaholic”…4 that I use “most every day!!!!” The Swing. By Robert Louis Stevenson. How do you like to go up in a swing,. Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing….franki

    • lol I hope they remember it for a long time…they were so excited, they knocked over a vase on the coffee table. Next time, clear the coffee table first!
      I will have to look up The Swing!

    • “ever a child can do. Up in the air and over the wall till I can see so wide.”

      I loved that poem as a child! It was the first poem I had to memorize and recite in front of the school. I think it was first grade or so. It brought a smile to my face to hear it mentioned again.

      • franki Parde says

        You know, when my hubs pushes me “way high”…it just all comes back…it was my mom’s favorite poem…bet she smiled up there, too. Course, being in our late 70’s…that doesn’t happen too much fmp

  4. liane abeyta says

    As a grandmother of a 28 year old, an 18 year old and a 2 year old… trust me…once you go to them at Christmas, there is no turning back. It also started when the 18 year old threw up in Dads new Suv on th way to grandmas! Thats it!! Now it is easier for me to get on a on a plane and spend the week of Christmas with the family. They both have demanding jobs, 2 dogs, and a little one… so I do it. But thats life. What we always did… is not what we will always do going forward.

    • I know, I usually go because it’s just too much for them to pack everything to come here. Occasionally, my son’s best friend will talk him into coming here, but it isn’t easy for them with two kiddos and all their presents, etc… It’s just so much easier if I go there. I actually don’t mind the drive as much as I used to now that I can listen to my Audible books through my car’s speakers. Driving there and anticipating seeing them is always more fun than driving back, though. I need to start flying and start using the miles I’ve accumulated, but for Christmas (and bringing gifts) it’s just easier to drive.

  5. Holly Bridwell says

    I loved the book Skipping Christmas! My son got married the week before Christmas last year and this year I have one graduating college this weekend. I got out a few Christmas dishes, put up the artificial tree and let the grandkids decorate it any way they wanted. That’s all I’m doing. I’m too tired and there’s too much going on. Next week I’ll try to start getting ready early again if no one will schedule anything in December! Your home is beautiful!

  6. Michele M. / Finch Rest says

    Sorry you won’t be hosting. No WAY would I get out all the trees and stuff if you aren’t hosting any kind of gathering this year. I just drove down and back for a couple weeks in Florida at the beach – my little grand daughter gets car sick if she ever looks down at coloring or her ipad……so we just played thinking games and watch-for while light out games (count yellow cars, etc.) to keep her from being queasey. IF we forgets and gets nauseous my daughter gave her a half of a Dramamine and she was so much better. (That and saltines!)

    Susan – how long will you be in Dayton? I’d love to see you if possible – Dayton is about 1.5 hours away. I could make it happen if you are free after the holidays before heading back? Or you could come here, of course! Would love it!

    I’ll try and talk you into moving to my area, though, so be warned.
    North Columbus (Powell) is awesome.

    Merry Christmas.

    • I am pretty sure that’s what they give the boys when they go to the beach every summer. I know they have to give them something or else they get sooo sick! I will let you know once I know…not sure yet.
      lol I know, there was a house across the street and like 3 houses up from them that was for sale last year, but it sold in less than 12 hours. They had 24 showings for it in one day and a contract that night. That’s how alllll the houses in their neighborhood go so not sure I’ll ever find anything there that I like and that I can buy before it’s gone.

  7. I like the GA bulldog ornament in your tree! Go Dawgs – what a season.
    Like you, I opted to decorate less. Just didn’t feel like dragging out all 52 boxes of stuff and putting it away in the new year.
    Have a fab time with your family in Ohio.

  8. You do have a lot going on right now Susan! The people who did your water line did a great job with your yard! You can’t tell it was ever done, so nice and now you don’t have to “fix” the yard. The dry wall will make a huge difference, can’t wait to see it as well as the floor. I’m so in love with your garage floor, so I know it will look amazing in the basement storage area. Love all your idea, the presents on the swing is so fun and I’m sure a big hit. Love when you decorate the front porch as well. Travel safe Susan, you never know what weather you will hit this time of year. Hugs, Brenda

  9. I will try to keep this short. Prior Covid I went into a shop in Newport RI that had this amazing small tree that I thought was real. The associate working that day did not know where the tree came from. A few years later I went into the shop again and found out from the owner that it came from Wayfair. One year I used this as our main tree in the family room. I now have it in my living room. It is perfect for when you want a tree but don’t want the work or fuss. It is sold out now. I think I actually bought it during the summer when it was available. Here is the link to the Steelside tree.

    Sorry, Susan. I guess this comment did get a little long.

    And Skipping Christmas is a favorite book and movie for the Holidays.

    • I’m moving to an 800 sf home this summer and this tree would be perfect for it without being overbearing! There’s a place for your email address so they can notify when it comes back in stock. It’s a beautiful tree as well. The tree I use now is 7 ft but is flocked in places with red berries and pine cones and I don’t put a single ornament on it except I clip a red bird to one of the branches. It looks lovely and the grandsons put it up. I’m only adding real greenery from the yard to several places and calling it done!! Merry Christmas

    • Don’t know what happened to my comment but it didn’t post. I wrote that the tree site has a place to put your email to be notified when it comes back in stock. It’s perfect for next year when I move to an 800 sf home and it’s a beautiful tree!

  10. warren giering says

    Oh Susan, I feel your pain. We are in the process of updating of the house (expanding solar electric panel array on roof, installation of a dual heat pump system) and remodeling our great room (new coffered ceiling, chandelier, paint and new furniture). The solar electric and heat pump parts of the project are complete. The coffered ceiling is in and the painters have started their part of the project. The new furniture, which has been on order for 1 year!, is scheduled to arrive on 12/21. Accordingly, the house is in chaos and there has been no decorating for Christmas, no dinner parties, and no tablescaping.

  11. Love your blog!! We have 2 grandchildren and a daughter who puts up 5 trees every year – we’ve gone to their home for the last 18 years so we skip a tree and have found we really haven’t missed having our own tree – but our daughter only lives 10 minutes from us. Hope you have safe travels, a Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2023

  12. I understand you not wanting to drag out all your decorations this year (I’m in the opposite mode, however – all my children and grandchildren will be in town over Christmas! This doesn’t always happen and I’m excited!) but do pull out some pillows and things to make your home festive for yourself. And enjoy the holidays wherever you are!

  13. Helen Peterson says

    Glad to report this great BNOTP email arrived at 12:22 today. Enjoy decorating your porch.

  14. Sharyn Kimbrough says

    Susan, I vote to not put up a tree at your house since you will be away, but several of your readers mentioned putting out a few seasonal pillows for your own pleasure and I totally agree. I also vote on your moving to Ohio to be close to your loved ones. We need family more as we age-just my experience speaking-and watching those wonderful grandsons grow up daily. Love your blogs!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • I would very much love to see them on a daily basis…but I sure do dislike (being polite and not using the hate word) cold weather. The hardest part is being able to find a house I like and can afford. Everything is more expensive in the area I would prefer to live. I’ve been looking but hard to find anything that works and doesn’t sell within 24 hours. Super competitive there for certain areas.
      Thanks so much, Sharyn! Merry Christmas!

  15. Tamara Nelson says

    I always love to see what you buy your family for xmas. Are you doing presents this year? I hope you post them it always gives me ideas.

  16. Hello Susan,

    I always enjoy your Holiday Posts and I’m sure you will have some fun reports from Ohio… Don’t know if your Grandsons would mind the taste, but if you can find Ginger Chews, it could help with their issues with car sickness. These candy chews come in a yellow bag and can be found in Health Food Shops up here.
    Or you can find them on Amazon… The kiddos might find them too gingery, but they really help to settle an upset stomach. I keep a few here and there just in case… For about a $3.00 investment the kids may finally get to enjoy car trips Over the River and Through the Woods to GA…

  17. Oh !! Put your trip up you will get such enjoyment out of it yourself . Sitting by it reading a book, your favorite magazine..have a glass of coco or wine . I am recently an empty nester and the girls won’t be home until Christmas Eve for just a couple of days but I love looking at the glow every night. It makes everything so cozy . My Mom is 86 and still puts up her little tree .

  18. Susan, I vote for a move to Ohio. You will never regret moving and watching your grandsons grow up. Some of mine are only 1 hour away but I make it a point to be thee for every event plus every other week just for a visit. I’ve loved every minute of it and you will too once you move.

    • I agree! The joy of my life has been watching my 7 grands grow up. I was a young grandmother at age 41. They range in age from 21 years old to 8 months. They keep me busy and happy! So appreciative my sons purchased homes close to us.

  19. Hi Susan, Merry Christmas !!
    After all that you are going through I hope that when you get to Ohio you will be able to kick back and put your feet up for a little break from all of the home remodeling you have going on right now. BTW, if you are wondering to put a vent into a room, yes it is always better to do it before the sheetrock goes up. If the storage room has a window, you can easily add a closet and make it a “legal” bedroom, which increases the value of your home substantially. It could be a home office, guest room, or storage room, but either way, yes yes add the vent and a closet. Its fine weather here in the Golden Isles. Blessings my friend, Bren

  20. I agree, some Christmas pillows (and dishes!!) to enjoy before you leave.
    I love Skipping Christmas’s, both the book and the movie. If you can find a copy, check out the book “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” which was also made into a movie starring Loretta Swit. So much fun!
    Safe journeys!

  21. Mary Stevens says

    I don’t have company coming for Christmas but I always put up a tree because I love the coziest that it make in the room!! I decorate for me!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. I love your idea of using the garage flooring for your basement room. I can see not putting up a tree with no family coming and you do have the wreaths to make you smile. I can’t put my wreaths up! I tried getting on a ladder and I just couldn’t do it. So disappointed. I decided to hang them on the trees that line the driveway and see how that looks. I’m overwhelmed with decorating as some have been mentioning. Once it is done I do enjoy it, but I bet next year it will be that much harder. I’ve got the outside finished and just a bit more inside. Whew. That’s quite a drive for you to Ohio by yourself. Just maybe you’ll end up moving!

  23. Mary Thillens says

    Hi Susan, I’m looking for the name of the game you and your family play in Ohio. It’s game about settling the frontier. I think it is Catalow or something close to that spelling. I would like to purchase the game as a Christmas present, but can’t find the link you gave us in your post. If you could help me out I would greatly appreciate it. I’ve found so many great ideas from your posts.

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