Holly Mathis Christmas Holiday Home Tour


This article originally ran on REstyleSOURCE on December 11th, 2013…but we’re bringing it back as a part of our #TBT–ThrowBack Thursday–series! A great way to catch up on some of our most stylish posts that you may have missed the first time around, watch this space every Thursday for a different new-old favorite!

Traditional, Cozy and Simple Christmas


Decorator and blogger Holly Mathis likes to use traditional elements in her Christmas traditions and decor. This means lots of red, fresh greens, monograms, silhouettes and plaid!

Holly and her husband Elton and two boys live in a 1940s cottage in Texas that is small on space (less than 1400 sq feet!), but big on charm.

On her front door Holly likes to use boxwoods or bay leaves with bold plaid ribbon. Holly says she is addicted to wreaths and has them everywhere – over the bed, stove and on her dining room hutch as well as above the mantle mirror!

“Our ‘cozy’ rooms mean I have to be very careful not to bring in too much when it comes to Christmas décor,” says Holly. “Years past I put greenery on the mantle and over the hutch, but after 12 years in this house I am learning less truly is more.” This year Holly simply put a wreath over her antique mantle mirror, hung monogrammed stockings and put out her collection of bottlebrush trees.

“In the dining room I did a simple Trader Joe’s boxwood wreath with satin red ribbon. It’s simple and classic and perfect against the backdrop of my gray hutch and white dishes.”

Of course the centerpiece of traditional cottage Christmas decor is the tree. “There was a time when most Christmas decorations consisted of stockings, tree, and nativity set,” says Holly. “I think with the explosion of almost too much decor on social media we all secretly long to get back to that simplicity.”

Holly likes to use homemade silhouettes of her boys at various ages in craft store frames for ornaments. Simply copy on printer multiple prints on card stock, find inexpensive frames to paint a favorite color (shown here is Martha Stewart Flagstone) and attach cute ribbon loops for hanging. The black adds a focal point to draw the eye and lightens the busyness of the tree. “I am shocked the silhouette ornaments have held up so well over the years of storage in a hot attic! They are great alongside our tree full of felt ornaments the kids can’t hurt, the children’s homemade ornaments and even some my husband made as a child.” For more ornament ideas, take a look at Holly’s homemade Embroidery Hoop Ornaments.

Holly’s cozy cottage reminds you that a large space and new decorations every year isn’t necessary to enjoy the traditions of Christmas. Simple red ribbons, traditional fabrics and greenery are all you may need to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas.

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A Few of Holly’s favorite things…

Q: What song gets you in the mood for Christmas?
A: I love the Elvis Christmas Album, it reminds me of listening to it on 8 track when we were kids, but as an adult nothing makes my heart soar like O HOLY NIGHT.

Q: Do you have a special Holiday quote or Psalm?
A: Isaiah 9:6 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.  This verse is also very important to me at Christmas, I remember using it on our Christmas card the year our first son was born. James 1:17- “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights”.

Q: What is a favorite Mathis Holiday Tradition?
A: Every year I attempt to make my Granny’s fudge which I never seem to be able to replicate. We love to go out and look at Christmas lights as a family. I find that we are still making new traditions each year.

Q: How would you describe your holiday style?
A: I would describe it as classic with just a bit of whimsy. There is nothing better than simple greens and simple wreaths. Our cottage is small so I don’t like to add too much, mainly just a tree and a few wreaths and a nativity set on the piano. I adore plaid and kraft paper, simple materials to celebrate a simple birth that was meager by many standards but changed the world!

Q: Do you have any favorite holiday decorations?
A: A few years back I commissioned Lindsay Letters to make her famous O HOLY NIGHT print. This year I have her canvas with the verse from Silent Night as well. I love the line ‘His law is love and His gospel is peace”. The framed silhouette ornaments are also a favorite of mine and are fun to add to each year as the boys get older.

Q: Anything special on your Christmas list this year?
A: With such a busy schedule, I am hoping to slow down and enjoy my family. Christmas is really a time of rest for our family because our family all lives nearby and we don’t have to travel.

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Get the look

Fabric Swatches

LEE Collage

Houston, TX

While her background is in Museum Studies and History, Holly Mathis fell into interior design in 2005 when Better Homes & Gardens featured her little cottage. She feels blessed to be able to design for her clients and have time for her family.

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