I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Greetings from San Diego! Mr. B and I will be enjoying a nice dinner for two tonight and joining my entire family tomorrow for Christmas morning. I hope your days are filled with love, laughter, and moments that create fond memories for the years to come. All the best for a very Merry Christmas.

christmas in naples_Reviving Charm


Many people outside of the Southern California region aren’t familiar with the neighborhood in Long Beach, California known as “Naples”.  In 1903, a man by the name of Arthur Parson had the vision to build an island like community with a series of canals, streets named after Italian cities, and a series of high arching bridges that now allow gondoliers to propel their gondolas down the water ways (more on that later). The project was completed in the 1920s and the neighborhood has flourished into one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Homes on the canal will set you back several million, even for a major fixer upper or complete teardown. 

Since 1946, the “Naples Island Boat Parade” takes place with groups of decorated boats cruising through the canals. In an effort to avoid the crowds, Mr. B and I avoid parade night and, alternatively, visit Naples during the weeks to follow. The crowds are still there but they are much more manageable. Many of the decorated boats continue to cruise the canals leading up to Christmas so we never feel like we lose out on the experience. We strolled through the neighborhood a few nights ago and I’d share a bit of Naples festivity with you today. If you follow me on Instagram then you may recognize a couple of these pictures.

If you find yourself in Long Beach, California and want to have your own experience on the canals of Naples, be sure to check out Gondola Getaway. In 1998 Mr. B and I received a gift certificate for a ride as a wedding gift and we had a lot of fun experiencing this unique neighborhood from the water. Whether by foot or by gondola, Naples is a great place to experience any time of the year. Caio for now…


Designer Beth Ervin is a woman after my own heart. Her sense of style tends to gravitate toward the traditional but it’s not stuffy or stiff. It’s a balanced look of casual elegance and it seems to work well even in her own Atlanta home located in the prestigious Buckhead neighborhood. Beth Ervin’s work has been featured several times in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine, but for the December issue she opens up her abode to share a glimpse of how she’s decorated her colonial home for the holidays. A festive garland and tree look right at home in the family room (so does their dog, Bunny), while small arrangements of fresh flowers are strategically placed in others. The online article mentions “an evergreen garland festooned with gold burlap ribbon cascades down the entry stairwell, and white hydrangeas and green apples fill heirloom silver vessels as centerpieces in the dining room.” The website features just the few pictures shared here. They whet my appetite with a desire to see more of the home (a sign that it might be time to renew my subscription). It’s clear that Erwin prefers to decorate with natural materials (again, woman…own heart….). The touches are small and tasteful but the home looks nothing short of beautiful. Beth Ervin_Christmas_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 1_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 3_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 2_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 4_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 5_Reviving Charm



It’s the season of festivity and food. I don’t cook but I have been known to bake on rare occasion. Very rare occasion. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen I am always on the lookout for recipes, particularly for cookies and dessert, “just in case” I ever need to whip up a few batches of sweet treats. If you plan on gifting cookies to friends and family this holiday season or plan to attend any cookie exchange parties, Williams-Sonoma has you covered. This year they collaborated with 30 bakers and bloggers to come up with 30 holiday cookie recipes and all of the recipes are currently shared on their website. Try one or try them all. There’s nothing better than baking on a cold day with the oven to warm the house and having the smell of freshly baked cookies permeating through the air. Print the recipes even if you don’t plan to bake this holiday season because they can easily be adapted for anytime of the year. And if you need any baking supplies, be sure to take advantage of the free shipping they are currently offering. And don’t forget, you can also save money by signing up for The Key (read this post). Don’t these look yummy?

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A balanced diet is having a cookie in both hands.  –Paula Deen

matcha gingerbread cookie recipe williams sonoma reviving charm

Matcha Gingerbread Cookies

Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Pistachio Glaze

cinnamon logs cookie recipe_Reviving Charm

Cinnamon Logs

chocolate peanut butter cookie recipe_reviving charm

Dipped & Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

williams sonoma espresso chocolate chip cookie recipe

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

christmas truffles recipe_Reviving Charm

Christmas Truffles

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Image via Southern Living Magazine

Each year I enjoy sending out Christmas cards to friends and family. It’s my way of keeping snail mail alive. I enjoy selecting our cards and every year I spend a lot of time picking out “just the right one”. I always make sure to pair my cards up with matching stamps. This year I even purchased corresponding mailing labels with a green watercolor design. You can see them hiding in the picture below. The pen is by Italian pen manufacturer, Delta. I bought it as a souvenir during one of my early trips to Milan, Italy.

Smythson Christmas correspondence cards_Reviving Charm

This year I decided to do something different. I am foregoing the traditional Christmas card and replacing it with a simple correspondence card allowing me to put the focus on a personal message for each recipient. I included a holiday quote on some. For others, I composed a heartfelt message. I also enjoy hand lettering each card. I do get a lot of compliments on my penmanship so I guess all those years of old-school drafting classes paid off!

May you be inspired by giving, changed by love, filled with peace, and touched by miracles. — Mary Davis

hand lettered Christmas_Reviving CharmThe correspondence cards I am using this year are from Smythson. I purchased several boxes of Smythson stationery products earlier this year and purchased these cards in several colors. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you about their sale a few months back!) Smythson no longer offers the green but red is another perfect choice for the season. If you choose to mix things up a bit and decide to send out your own correspondence cards you can purchase them from Smythson here. 

How about you….do you still send out Christmas cards? I’m also curious about how you display the cards you receive from others. Do tell…

tabletop christmas trees featured on Reviving Charm


After talking with many people about their holiday decorations, I would venture to say it’s about 50/50 when it comes to whether or not the tree is already up. Is your tree up already?

Adding a smaller tree to adorn a tabletop is a perfect solution for those short on space, don’t want to bother with a full-size tree, or just want to incorporate a bit of extra Christmas cheer.

At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.  –Thomas Tusser

tabletop christmas tree_Reviving Charmtabletop christmas tree 1_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 2_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 3_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 6_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 12_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 13_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 11_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 7_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 9_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree_reviving charm

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about actually going all out to decorate the tree, I have a solution for you. Try keeping it simple by leaving the tree in its (almost) natural state. You can place it in a container to suit your decor, add pine cones, or just add lights. Easy peasy. tabletop christmas tree 8_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 10_reviving charmFlocked trees aren’t quite as popular these days but it’s still a great alternative, particularly in a room dominated by white.
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Don’t overlook those special architectural nooks and crannies that you might be lucky to have. Built-ins also provide a great opportunity to showcase a smaller tree. tabletop christmas tree 14_reviving charm

While the focus of this post shows some nice examples of how to incorporate smaller trees indoors, don’t forget that they can also be a great accent at the exterior of your home. A neighbor a few streets over actually puts up a full-size tree near the front entrance to their house but a much smaller tree, like the one below, is a festive way to welcome guests.
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pine needle tassels featured on Reviving Charm


We have many pine trees in our area, including several mature pines beyond our backyard wall. It’s easy to decorate with pinecones when there is an abundance of them and each Fall I try to find unique ways I can incorporate them into our seasonal decor. However, it wasn’t until recently when I came across the idea of making tassels constructed of the actual pine needles. Every now and then I love a good DIY and these are super easy to make. The pictures below show just how simple it is to create your own pine needle tassels. I’ll also share a few ideas on how you can actually use your tassels once they are completed. Happy crafting… pine needle tassels_Reviving Charm

All you need are pine needles, scissors, string or twine of your choice, hot glue gun, and acorn tops to cap off the tassel top (optional – see photo below).

DECOR. Once your tassels are made, there are a variety of ways that you can incorporate them into your holiday decor. Try adding them to garland and wreaths, like the examples below.pine needle tassels_Reviving Charm 1pine needle decoration_Reviving Charm 2

GIFT WRAP. I take gift wrapping seriously and I am always on the hunt for new ways to embellish gifts for friends and family. I might think about making a few tassels to add to Christmas gifts this year.pine needle tassels gift wrap_Reviving Charm

Ah, the scent of pine needles…now, that is the smell of Christmas.  –Reviving Charm

pine needle tassels gift wrap_Reviving Charm 1pine needle tassels gift wrap_Reviving Charm 3pine needle tassels gift wrap_Reviving Charm 2

ENTERTAINING. If you are looking for some tabletop inspiration, why not use a few pine needle tassels to add a bit of nature to your table. They are a great alternative to the traditional napkin ring. pine needle tassels tabletop_Reviving CharmYou can also create a few tassels to spruce up your beverages and appetizers. Attach them to skewers cut down to size and you’ve created custom cocktails stirrers or appetizer picks.  pine needle cocktail sticks_Reviving Charm

I know it is a busy time of year but if you manage to find some time to make a few pine needle tassels to embellish your holiday gifts and/or decor, I am sure you’re friends and family will appreciate you going the extra mile to make the holidays extra special for them.


How’s your holiday decorating coming along? For me, yesterday was all about decking the halls. I went to my local nursery and picked out a tree, brought it home, and decorated it.  We even finished putting up Christmas lights on the small tree by the front entrance to our seaside ranch house. Needless to say, we were quite busy wreath_reviving charm

I also purchased several fresh wreaths for both indoors and out. Every year I put a wreath on the exterior of our home at each window facing the street. This year I opted to use several 28-inch wreaths with one, the largest wreath, measuring 48 inches in diameter. I also hang a wreath indoors over the kitchen window. For me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas until my wreaths are hung with their freshly tied new bows. I could actually forgo putting up a Christmas tree but I could never give up my wreaths! No matter what your design style may be, there are a variety of ways you can incorporate wreaths into your holiday decorating so let me show you a few great examples to get your creativity flowing. christmas wreaths_Reviving Charm 3christmas wreaths in windows_Reviving Charm 1christmas wreaths on gates_reviving charmchristmas wreath on gate_Reviving Charmchristmas wreaths in windows_Reviving Charmfront door christmas wreaths_Reviving Charmchristmas wreaths_Reviving CharmChristmas Wreaths_Reviving Charm 7christmas wreaths_Reviving Charm 2christmas wreaths indoors_Reviving Charmchristmas wreaths_Reviving Charm 1christmas wreaths_Reviving Charm 5wreath in kitchen_reviving charm blogchristmas wreaths on furntiture_reviving charmchristmas wreaths_Reviving Charm 6Christmas wreaths _Reviving Charm 2christmas wreaths in the kitchen_reviving charmwreaths on furniture_Reviving Charmwreaths on bookcases_Reviving Charmindoor christmas wreaths_Reviving Charmwreaths on mirrors_Reviving Charm 1wreaths on mirrors_Reviving Charmdining room christmas wreath_Reviving Charmwreaths on chairs_Reviving Charm 3wreaths on chairs_Reviving Charm 2wreaths on chairs_reviving charm 4wreaths on chairs_reviving charm



To see more lovely wreaths I’ve previously featured then check out this and this. 

staying neutral for the holidays_Reviving Charm

Christmas Decor: Staying Neutral for the Holidays

In just a matter of days, we’ll be in full holiday mode. It’s my favorite time of the year and I look forward to the hustle and bustle of the season, the energy in the air and all the beautiful decorations that pop up for the holidays. Mr. B and I won’t be hosting Christmas this year but that doesn’t mean we’ll skimp on decorating. The wreaths on the exterior of the house will still go up (all four of them) and we’ll buy a Christmas tree, although we’ll scale back from two trees to one this year. I’ve been thinking about a new theme for this year’s tree and I just might have to take cues from Olga Gil-Vernet, stylist for El Mueble Magazine. She proves that staying neutral for the holidays is anything but boring.

What’s your holiday decorating style? Don’t be shy…do tell….Decorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 3Decorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 8Decorating for Christmas_Reviving CharmDecorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 1Christmas_Reviving Charm 2Decorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 4Decorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 5Decorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 6Decorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 6aDecorating for Christmas_Reviving Charm 6a


Merry Christmas! What are your plans for this holiday weekend? Mr. B and I will be hosting a casual dinner at our seaside ranch home and will be welcoming a couple of overnight guests. I love opening our home and sharing it with friends and family. I also look forward to playing “Christmas Bingo”, which has turned into a fun family Christmas tradition. Each member of our family contributes wrapped gifts that are put under the tree just waiting to be claimed by the lucky winners. There’s usually an abundance of gifts so no one gets to go home empty handed. Wish me luck! 

Actual Christmas Day will be extremely low key spent at home. I do hope Mr. B and I get to take a stroll through the neighborhoods and admire the festive Christmas lights. Tomorrow we will also be going through the neighborhood to pass out gifts to the neighbors. reviving-charm-christmas-at-home-quotereviving-charm-christmas-at-home

As you can see from the watercolor image above, we don’t do a lot of decorating for Christmas. I put up a couple of trees (although this year we only did one), garland and a few poinsettia scattered throughout the house. From our house to yours, I hope you enjoy lots of fun, love and warm wishes this Christmas. I wish you the best today and always. xoxo, V.