KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farm shares her holiday decorating inspiration with Balsam Hill

Moving to rural Kentucky has allowed KariAnne Wood’s family to embrace the beauty of a simpler life. The author lives in an old farmhouse where she enjoys decorating with repurposed items and writing about her adventures on Thistlewood Farms, which was named Country Living Decorating Blog of the Year.

KariAnne talks to Balsam Hill about her blessed life in the country and why she considers estate auctions and ‘the side of the road’ her treasure trove of holiday decorations.

BH: What inspired you to start blogging?

KariAnne: We lived in a large metropolitan area and we wanted to raise our four children in a place where the air was fresh, there were acres and acres to run and play in, and life was simpler. We purchased a business and ‘jumped’ into life in a beautiful rural area of Kentucky. It has been a joy and a blessing watching our family grow and thrive and embrace a simpler life.

My children have picked fresh corn and blackberries, made maple syrup, attended sewing classes at the local extension office, and waded in the creek to catch crawfish. It is the life we dreamed of for them. I wanted to start a blog to document our jump and our home renovation.

BH: Do you have a signature ornament you use on your tree year after year? 

KariAnne: When I was younger, my grandmother had this set of three elves she would put out every year! They looked just like the current day Elf on a Shelf.  She gave them to me one Christmas and they go on the tree every year.

BH: What’s your favorite family holiday tradition?

KariAnne: After we open stockings, we gather for breakfast and read the Christmas story passage from Luke. It’s a wonderful way to put the focus of the season where it should be: on the birth of Jesus and His love for us.

[pullquote]Find out how KariAnne decorated her Balsam Hill Christmas tree on Thistlewood Farms.[/pullquote]

BH: When you decorate for the holidays, are there any guidelines you try to follow year after year?

KariAnne: No! I like each year to be different! I try to add different colors to each room to change it up!

BH: What’s your favorite spot in the home to decorate for the holidays?

KariAnne: I love to decorate the kitchen!  We live in an old farmhouse and the kitchen is where everyone gathers after school.  And when I’m decorating the kitchen, I always make sure to add extra glitter.

BH: Where do you go for holiday decorating inspiration?

KariAnne: I love estate auctions.  You can find unique pieces at an auction and repurpose them into something special. And then there’s my favorite shop: the side of the road. One of my favorite projects was a 40-pane window that I found by the side of the road and transformed it into a chalkboard. It is beautiful and functional and keeps our family organized every day! Last Christmas, I hung stockings from the center and added ‘Merry Christmas’ to the top.

white christmas tree with bright pink, blue and silver ornaments

BH: Who’s your favorite holiday designer?

KariAnne: I really like Matthew Mead. I think he has such a creative voice and incredible ideas!

BH: Any gift-wrapping tips?

KariAnne: I am going to be a little more organized this year and let each family member pick out a gift wrap pattern and wrap all their gifts in it! That way, everyone will know which packages they will receive.

BH: What is the most memorable Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

KariAnne: One year, my brother hand-carved a bowl for me from a tree that had fallen at my parent’s house. The tree was very special to my father who had just passed away. I truly treasure the gift and the love that went into making it.

BH: What do you look forward to the most during the holiday season?

KariAnne: I love how full of joy everyone is!

Holiday inspiration can be found anywhere – even on the side of the road. You too can bring out your creativity when you shop for Christmas decorations in the most unexpected places.   

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