This year, inspired by the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the boys made a log cabin "gingerbread" house. They used cookie icing, which get hard when it dries and sticks like glue to hold it all together. The logs are pretzel rods and the roof is made from gingerbread flavored graham crackers (it smells wonderful!) We found a chocolate Santa that looks like a gnome and a peppermint tree to add a finishing touch. The wreath is a gummy lifesaver wreath from our advent calendar. We have used gingerbread house "kits" in past years. This one was more challenging and required more engineering, but I think the boys did a great job!
I have been collecting old glass ornaments--some from my grandparents' and some found at the thrift store. I was thrilled to find a box of Shiny Brites at The Salvation Army Store for 50 cents last summer! They are still in the box, and I love the front of the box as much as what's inside. I found a wire locker basket in the closet organizer section at Target for around $5, strung it with lights, and put my Shiny Brites on display on the hearth.
These little houses are made using scrapbook supplies and photos peeking out the windows. When you open the front door, you can see Santa. Some Schleich deer have moved in too!
This is our "Festivus" tree--an old display rack, another thrift store bargain, strung with lights and decorated with various scrappy projects During the rest of the year, it serves as a display for photos and seasonal decorations.