If you love stately old homes, repurposed thrifted finds, and classic-with-a-twist interior design, you'll want to first make sure you're following Ruthie Jackson's Instagram account @MiracleonThirtyFourth. We stumbled upon it a few years back, and have excitedly watched on as she transformed her once-dated, now lovely Iowa colonial into a fresh-traditional masterpiece. Did we mention she does most of it with thrifted or budget finds?
Not only that, but her brick colonial also happens to be the ideal Christmas house (it is on Thirty-Fourth Street, after all). The Jackson home is a little bit Home Alone, a little bit Father of the Bride, and was basically built to have wreaths hanging from all the windows and plaid everywhere.
If you prefer to deck your halls with classic, vintage Christmas decor, keep scrolling. This year, Ruthie agreed to give us an early peek at how she's decorating for the holidays, and we're excited to share it with you, below.
As is the case with lot of the decisions she makes about her home, Ruthie used her home's history as a starting point for her holiday decor. "Plaids and traditional, holiday colors perfectly suit our colonial, which was built in 1935," she says. "We like to deck our halls with a preppy, vintage vibe."
While Ruthie's decor may look expensive, but the key to achieving her high-end look for less, both during the holiday and year-round, is mixing high and low finds.
"We bought this big, old house three years ago, our Miracle-on-Thirty-Fourth-Street dream house," she says. "Like most old homes, it continues to require updates, repairs, and maintenance. I keep seasonal, decorating expenses under control by thrifting shiny brights, adding details to basic buys, and embracing décor from nature."
The simple pinecone wreath that hangs on the front door (above) was upgraded by adding fat, velvet ribbon to create a copycat, designer look, for example, while the stair landing (top) is decorated with basic wreaths hung from the windows then embellished with ribbon and bird ornaments
The living room is where the family celebrates much of the season. "One of my favorite traditions is on Christmas Eve," Ruthie says. "After we tuck the littles into bed, my husband and I enjoy fettuccine and bubbly in front of the fire. Then we turn our sights on finishing the last of our wrapping with Christmas movies playing in the background," she says of one of the family's annual traditions.
To give the living space a festive feel, Ruthie started out by making a few seasonal swaps. "I traded summery floral artwork for a classic, snowy scene. Over the years, I’ve collected vintage felt and velvet, kit stockings from scouring Ebay listings," she explains.
Thrifted, brass, horn candle holders find a home grouped on the fireplace mantel. Once lit, the candle reflection shimmers in the DIY, faux mercury glass background. Midcentury garlands and kitschy bow ornaments add to the nostalgic, Christmas vibe.
Another budget tip for creating a winter wonderland? The family foregoes store-bought florals in favor of foraged greenery from the yard. "We rely on nature for free, festive décor right outside our front door. The kids and I raided the yard for greenery and gathered baskets of pinecones," Ruthie explains. "And here in Iowa, we can usually rely on a snow show to blanket the exterior, creating a winter wonderland."
Finally, Ruthie gave a little extra love to her kids' spaces this year to make a strange holiday season extra special. "Often, holiday decorating focuses on entertaining friends and extended family," she says. "This year, our little household is creating a cozy and cheerful season together. Our kindergarten and second graders are chattering about cookie baking, feverishly writing their lists for Santa, and pulling out piles of Christmas books and movies."
It doesn't get much better than that!