Though we love classic red and green Christmas decor, there’s something especially whimsical about rainbow holiday decorations — they add so much extra cheer to this time of year! So, when we came across photographer and mom-of-two Jessie Bennett‘s merry and bright Washington home, we had to snag her for a full home tour on The Everymom’s site. I mean, how fun is the colorful bottlebrush trees that appear on the Bennetts’ open kitchen shelving, dining room table, and living room mantel?!
Keep reading to see how Jessie adds colorful holiday touches throughout her home (while still striking the perfect balance between bold and cute!), learn her favorite ways to keep seasonal items kid-friendly, and find out where she draws Christmas decor inspiration from each year!
Name: Jessie Bennett
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Home’s Square Footage: 1,800
Children: Farah, 8, and Deacon, 5
When do you typically start decorating for the holidays?
With young kiddos, we decorate for most holidays. So, wintery decorations usually start to make an appearance on November 1, as I’m putting away Halloween. We don’t go full-blown Christmas though until after Thanksgiving!
How would you say your holiday decor differs from your home’s everyday decor?
We keep our everyday decor minimal, neutral, and light. Depending on the year, our Christmas decorations might be traditional red and green, neutral and natural, or merry and bright. It’s fun to change things up from year to year, and my husband, Luke, is very kind to let me keep totes upon totes of Christmas decorations in the attic for those off-year decor concepts.
Where do you typically shop for holiday decor?
Oh gosh, where DON’T I shop for holiday decor might be a shorter question to answer! My go-tos are Target, of course, HomeGoods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. Local home and garden shops always have great selections too, and I always like to shop small when I can.
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Do you typically buy new holiday decor or use the same year after year?
Luke and I have been married since 2009, and we (I) have amassed quite the collection of holiday decor over the last decade. I don’t buy a ton of new decor these days, but a few things here and there seem to always end up in my shopping cart!
Where do you spend versus save with your holiday decor?
I love a bargain, so I usually don’t spend a ton on holiday decor. A few splurge items I have purchased over the years are things like our stockings, our nativity set, and a new ornament for each kiddo each year. I don’t mind spending a little more on these heirloom items because they will be used year after year and carry such sentimental memories with them.
How do you keep your holiday home decor kid-friendly?
For me, I love when the kids get to play with the decorations. As a kid, I remember playing with our nativity set for hours on end. So when finding a nativity set for our family, the play factor was #1 for me. And the hand-painted peg set we have is in a constant state of rearrangement; I love seeing how their little minds work, as evidenced by the school bus picking up the Three Wisemen this morning! Additionally, our Christmas ornaments are about 95 percent shatterproof, and between the kids and our 7-month-old Golden Retriever, they are in constant motion. The other night I found an ornament in our son’s bed — it brought a smile to my face, and that’s what the season is about for me. Experiencing the joy through their eyes and actions is just the best.
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Do you ever make DIY holiday decorations? If so, what?
You can never have too many coffee filter snowflakes, can you? At least that’s our kids’ motto! The kids and I also made the stable that our nativity set sits in a few years back — so.much.hot.glue! One DIY addition this year (however I cannot take credit for it) is our dog’s crocheted stocking. I asked my mom to make Waverly (our pup) a bone stocking, and it’s absolutely perfect.
Where do you find holiday decor inspiration?
I am a photographer, and about mid-October, I usually start to panic that I don’t have a proper Christmas card photo yet. Luke and the kids usually humor me and agree to a 5-minute photo session. It usually involves ample bribes and a Seahawk halftime timeframe, but inevitably, these photos end up being my most favorite photos I’ve ever taken. (I think the fact that they are going on our Christmas card has something to do with this love… because Christmas cards are my favorite!)
Somewhere along the way, I’ve started to notice that our home decor for the year matches whatever theme our Christmas card ends up being. So, I think a lot of my inspiration comes from within our little family, our surroundings, and then, of course, the usuals, Instagram and Pinterest, are always there to spark inspo when I’m feeling stuck.
What is your favorite piece of holiday decor in your home?
Oh gosh, that’s a tough question. I think that a lot of my favorites are the things that I see the kids loving, like the nativity set and our advent calendar (Christmas countdown) village. We also have candles in the windows, which remind me of my childhood. My mom grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Christmas City U.S.A.) and I remember spending Christmases there and thinking that every house in town had candles in the windows. We always had them growing up, so when Luke and I bought our first house, finding the right candle style was very important to me. They’re one of the first things to go up every year and the last thing to come down.
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Tell us about your holiday decorating process.
Well, it’s definitely a process, that’s for sure. Wintery decor usually starts making an appearance shortly after Halloween. Nothing too serious, of course, I would never forget about Thanksgiving! We always cut down our tree Thanksgiving weekend, and then the real decorating push begins. I tend to do a little every day, rearrange it, hate it until I love it — you know, the usual. This year, we were out of town at the beginning of the month, so admittedly, I am behind in decorating, but one thing I have learned over the years is that whatever we manage to get up is the perfect amount for that season. Decorating is not worth stressing over (if only I could go back in time and tell my younger self this).
Do you and your family have any decorating traditions? How do you get the family involved in decorating?
My husband is in charge of the outside, I am in charge of the inside. Well, that’s how it used to be at least… until the littles decided to have an opinion about things. Enter the 8-ft. Minion blow-up in our front yard that makes me giggle every time I drive up. As far as inside, the kiddos help me decorate the tree until they get bored (about five ornaments in). The kids are also in charge of decorating their own tree in the office, and they each get a strand of colored lights for their room. It’s fun to see where they end up. This year, they both wrapped them around their headboards!
What holiday traditions have you started for your family? How are the holidays different now that you have kids?
Several years ago, I read about The Kindness Elves that come during Christmastime and help the kids spread kindness in the community. We have adopted this tradition instead of the Elf on the Shelf, however, our elves still move around the house and do some pretty silly things. Which reminds me… I need to go move the elves!
The holidays are so much more magical with kids. I love the anticipation and the wonder in their eyes. It’s a little more stressful of course — more holiday events scheduled, Elf coordination, the list goes on. But it’s 100 percent worth it.
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What does Christmas morning look like in your home?
Well, our kids are early risers on a normal day. So, Christmas morning is usually a 6am affair in our house. Last year, I think we were completely done with presents and cleaning up by 7:15am, and I seem to remember that each kiddo got a pretty nice sized LEGO (thanks Santa), so we got them set up in the living room working on those and Luke and I curled up on the couch for a cat nap.
What are your favorite holiday events? How does your family celebrate the season?
We kick off the holiday season with the local hospital’s Festival of Trees event. It takes place over Thanksgiving weekend and is the best way to get in the holiday spirit. Visiting Santa, of course, is another highlight, along with our annual jammie drive around town to look at Christmas lights.
What is your favorite thing about the holiday season?
I’m not sure I could ever narrow down my favorite thing about the season! I love the little bits of nostalgia, the energy (that the kids have — I need to borrow some of theirs I think!), the decorating, the music, the movies, the extra family time. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Jessie Bennett is The Everymom…
Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas, hands down — no contest!
Favorite Christmas song? Tougher choice. Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” is up there, but so is Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree” and Gwen and Blake’s “You Make it Feel Like Christmas.”
Hot cocoa or eggnog? Hot cocoa
What’s on your holiday wishlist? I am terrible at wish lists. I love giving gifts but am not a very good receiver.
When do you start listening to Christmas music? Very controversial, I’m a November 1st girl — the music is just too good to only get to hear for a few weeks.
Go-to holiday drink at Starbucks? I’m not big into the holiday drinks — I’m a traditionalist when it comes to my coffee. But hand over the Cranberry Bliss, that stuff is magic.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Again, terrible receiver. But the best gift I’ve ever given was when we told our families that we were pregnant with our daughter on Christmas Eve. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it all these years later!
Oddest thing on one of your kid’s wishlist this year? A hamster. Not happening!
Biggest holiday mom fail? Oh gosh, how do you pick just one? We wouldn’t be momming if we weren’t constantly facepalming ourselves, right?! So many Santa gifts discovered after I forget about them in the back of my car, forgetting to move to elves, the list is actually endless I think.