Traditional Christmas Home Tour at Bliss Barracks

We’re sharing a traditional Christmas home tour at Bliss Barracks today as we team up with fellow creatives for the Vintage Christmas Home Tour Blog Hop hosted by Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home.

If you’re coming over from Debra’s blog, Common Ground, welcome, I’m so happy you’re here! Debra’s home is always such a special treat no matter what the season and this Christmas is no exception.

Growing Up In a Military Family…

As some of you know, my entire life was spent growing up in a military family. The Fab 5 (my parents and sisters and I) lived in 13 different houses during that time.

Traditional Christmas Porch and Holiday Home Tour-The Crowned Goat

But we rarely ever spent Christmas in any of them.

In fact, I can only remember waking up to spend Christmas morning in 3 of those homes because we always spent the holidays with our big farm family.

No matter where we were living though, my parents always created a very traditional Christmas home for us.

My Mom LOVES everything about the holiday season!

She would spend hours clipping out new recipes, ideas to try, and ornaments to make all year. And once the last pumpkin had been put away, she would spend weeks preparing a festive holiday home.

When my Dad finally retired and my parents fell in love with a house we affectionately call Bliss Barracks, it was the first place that finally felt like home in decades.

While our immediate family has grown from The Fab 5 to a pod of 12, we look forward to gathering together at Bliss Barracks for a very traditional Christmas each year.

As always, we’ll share a big Christmas Eve meal, pop Christmas crackers, bake cookies for Santa, cut up a few veggies for the reindeer, read The Polar Express and the Christmas Story from the Bible, wear matching pajamas, enjoy the jingle bell bike parade, exchange sister gifts, and snuggle in and wait for Santa’s big arrival on Christmas Day.

Embracing the Christmas Chaos…

I’m not even going to sugarcoat it, Christmas morning is COMPLETE CHAOS, but in the best possible way.

Despite being in our 40s, my sisters, brothers-in-law, and I gather at the top of the stairs with all the littles, grab our best air horn or air instrument and march down the stairs singing and “playing” Reveille.

If you grew up on a military base or had a parent in the military, you’ve probably already heard this song a million times!

All ten of us actually carry our air instruments into my parent’s bedroom to wake them up on Christmas morning. We march around their bed singing and clapping while the littles totally lose it and start climbing up the bed stairs 🤣

I secretly think my parents love that we still do this!

They act like sleepy heads even though I know we sound like a band of elephants coming down the stairs and they’ve probably been awake for hours.

Thankfully, both of the coffee pots are ready to go!

We put my Dad’s signature cinnamon rolls and breakfast casseroles into the oven, pull out my Mom’s breakfast grazing boards that have been prepped and refrigerator kept overnight, then let the littles go wild opening gifts.

It’s kind of crazy and magical all at the same time.

After the kids have opened all their presents we take a “refueling break” and while the littles are playing with their toys, the rest of us open gifts by the fire sipping on coffee and hot cocoa still wearing our matching Christmas pajamas.

Once our gifts have all been opened we head back into the dining room to enjoy a traditional Christmas breakfast and to relax a bit.

The rest of the day is spent playing, napping, face timing with family at the farm, and just enjoying being together. We try to keep it as low-key as possible because most of the time the littles wake up around 4 am.

The anticipation just overwhelms them every.single.year. 😂

What I love about the traditional Christmas home my parents create for us each year is that it still feels just as warm and cozy in my 40s as it did when we were young.

Here are a few of our favorite super easy holiday traditions at Bliss Barracks…

  • Make a delicious simmer pot
  • Greet your guests at the door with a big hug (even the ones with keys to the door) or a warm greeting
  • Have a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meal by candlelight
  • Say something you like, love or appreciate about the people gathered around the table
  • Create a menu filled with favorite family recipes and a few new dishes.
  • Sip on a signature cocktail or mocktail
  • Open Christmas Crackers – wear the crown during dinner and tell the funny jokes or facts
  • No cooks in the kitchen during clean up
  • Walk or bike around the neighborhood wearing jingle bells to see all the Christmas lights
  • Create an epic hot cocoa, tea or hot drink station
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Read The Polar Express
  • Read the Christmas Story from the Bible by the fire
  • Play Christmas Bingo, Apples or Apples, True or False, Family Fued or put a Christmas puzzle together
  • Host a Christmas karyoke night
  • Attend midnight mass or candlelight service
  • Make reindeer crunch or add red and green m&ms to your movie popcorn
  • Bake and decorate Christmas cookies or Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes
  • Prepare food for the reindeer
  • Wear matching Christmas pjs, festive sweaters, monogrammed sweatshirts, or cozy socks
  • Open sibling gifts or a special Christmas ornament on Christmas Eve
  • Surprise a widow or someone special with an unepected dinner or gift
  • Create a breakfast menu that can be prepped in advance and will be easy to put together

Even though we’re celebrating our traditional Christmas at Bliss Barracks early this year (it’s my sisters’ turn to be with their in-laws on Christmas Day) we’re still looking forward to keeping these traditions alive and well.

Without a doubt, the holidays are always a busy time of year and take extra planning! But with a little creativity and intention, Christmas can still be filled with magical moments no matter what day you’re celebrating!

Up Next on the Vintage Christmas Home Tour…

Up next on the Vintage Christmas Home Tour is my sweet friend Kim of Shiplap and Shells! Kim not only has a stunning garden, she is also a talented decorator and like Debra finds the most amazing ways to incorporate vintage and antique pieces into her home.

Once you’re finished there, be sure to check out what the rest of these fabulous ladies are sharing!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Also, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, you can find our Little Sparkle Holiday Home Tour here.

A Little Sparkle Holiday Home Tour-Christmas Tree and Living Room-The Crowned Goat

Let us know if you created a traditional Christmas home tour this year and your favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. It’s so much fun to see the whole house together. It’s all really beautiful. Tell your mom she did a great job.

    1. She will be thrilled you feel that way, Sarah! Thank you! Hugs, CoCo

  2. This week has been one of my favorite weeks of the whole year, CoCo!

    1. I appreciate it, Bonnie, thanks so much! Hugs, CoCo

      1. Really enjoyed this post. What a lovely home, and lovely traditions! May I ask what your mother has on her breakfast grazing board? We have a large Christmas morning gathering too and I am always looking for easy ideas (we too do a breakfast casserole + tamales.
        Have a Blessed Christmas

        1. Thank you, AJ! It’s crazy to think despite living in so many different homes we’ve held onto so many magical parts of the holiday season like waking my parents up with air horns and fits of giggles. The breakfast grazing board my Mom puts together is super simple – hard-boiled eggs, small packs of yogurt, small bowls of granola, fresh fruit, and cheese can all be cut up and prepped the night before. That way on Christmas morning all she has to do is unbox and add a few croissants, muffins, and pastries she picks up from the bakery to the board and it’s good to go. There are 12 in our family so the grazing board tides us over until breakfast/brunch where we have breakfast casseroles, my Dad’s cinnamon rolls, a variety of breakfast meats, and usually scrambled eggs for the littles. My Mom also refreshes the grazing board at that time and adds bagels with cream cheese and slices up avocado and tomato and adds microgreens for people that want a healthier option. I added 4 examples to The Front Porch post this week if you need a visual! Finally, I LOVE that you guys have tamales on Christmas morning. We lived in Texas for a bit and were fortunate enough to have a neighbor who spoiled us with her family’s recipes and I swear you could taste the love passed down from generations! They were so good! Wishing you and your family a blessed holiday season! Merry Christmas, CoCo

    1. I appreciate it ladies, thank you so much! Hugs, CoCo

  3. I so much enjoyed seeing Bliss Barracks decked out for Christmas. I also enjoyed reading your memories of Christmas and how you celebrate Christmas now.

    1. Thank you so much, Paula, I really appreciate it! It’s hard to believe we’ve lived in all kinds of houses yet the one we never lived in together feels most like home. I guess it’s because we’re all together and still carry on the same traditions we always have. Speaking of which, I’m beyond excited you and your Mom are having a getaway to Vermont. I know it’s going to be so beautiful and I hope you have the best time. Safe travels and Happy Christmas, CoCo

  4. CoCo,
    Oh how I loved your post. Hearing about your family traditions was so fun and all your ideas for the holidays. I’m so happy to be on this tour with you sweetie. Have a blessed day.

    1. Aww thank you, Rachel! My parents are such great people and I’m lucky to have sisters, brothers in law and littles I adore. They’re super sweet to indulge and participate in all our crazy adventures – even at this age. Sending you lots of hugs for a fabulous holiday season. Your farmhouse is just gorgeous, CoCo

  5. Coco!!
    OMG!! I so enjoyed this charming post!! Loved reading about your family’s traditions at Christmas!! Made me feel like I was there with you all!! Simply enchanting, my friend!! LOVE that Kitchen Tree of yours!! would love to see more of it!!! Thanks so much for the tour!! It was just magical!!!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!!

    1. Thanks so much for all your sweet and kind words, Deb, I really appreciate it! My Mom loves gingerbread like we do so I was so excited to pass along your festive kitchen. Even though we’ve lived in a lot of different homes I’m beyond thankful we all enjoy each other and love to be together. It’s the best way to celebrate! Sending you hugs and hoping everything went ok with the procedure for Joe, CoCo

  6. CoCo as a retired military wife I adore the traditions that Bliss Barracks celebrate. How fun in which you choose to get your parents out of bed on Christmas Day. This was a truly gorgeous tour!

    1. Thank you, Laura! We started waking my parents up like that when we were really little. I’m still amazed we’ve kept it up all these decades later. While our military life was not always an easy one, we still say it was such a great way to grow up. Even when we got a citation from the MP (Messy Police) for not having our bedrooms in ship-shape during Saturday morning inspections 😂 it was always an adventure. Sending you and your family lots of Army hugs for a warm holiday season, CoCo

  7. sandi magle says:

    I really am loving all the traditional Christmas posts this year. I think we are all grabbing memories of our childhood and family traditions. So lovely and thoughtfully put together, hugs, and have a Happy Holiday Season! Sandi

    1. I am totally with you, Sandi! It’s been so much fun to see all the pops of red and plaid and orange slices and vintage ornaments being used to celebrate the holidays this year. I think living through two years of the pandemic has made us all take stock and decide what’s really important. I already grieve the day the littles grow up and we stop waking up my parents with air horns and songs from our life on base. Until that day comes though, I’m going to soak up every ounce of holiday spirit I can. Sending you and your family lots of hugs for a season that’s merry and bright, CoCo

  8. What great memories and such a beautiful home. I think it would be super cool to go to 3 houses during the holidays! More fun times, more time to serve someone with cleaning or another need and a totally different look with Christmas decor. And I love your list of traditions. Enjoy that big farm fam of yours this year! Merry Christmas.

    1. Thank you bunches, Cindy! You know our home has lots of white and pink, Bliss Barracks is very traditional and my parents kept our childhood home, Loblolly Manor too which is decorated in a French Country style this year. So, it’s been fun to celebrate the holiday season in each place. I’m pretty sure by the time we get to the cabin though we’re going to totally crash 🤣 This week is the week we call The Christmas Crunch where we’re all tying up loose ends, the kids have had too many cookies and chick fil et and our schedule reaches bananas level 😂 Cheers to lots of grace, matching flannel pajamas even though it’s 80 in Florida, big pots of coffee and an empty gumdrop tree in the kitchen 🙌 Big hugs and Merry Christmas, CoCo

  9. So sweet. I loved reading all about your family traditions. The decor is lovely too.~ Merry Christmas~

    1. Thank you so much, Katie, I really appreciate it! I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season, CoCo

  10. It was so fun to see Bliss Barracks all decked out for the holidays CoCo. So many amazing memories and family traditions. Big hugs and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Kim! You know my Mom loves lots of pomp and circumstance so it’s always fun to go back home and celebrate with them. Sending you and your family lots of hugs and warm holiday wishes, CoCo

  11. I love your parents wonderful home and hearing about all your great family Christmas traditions. Oh that beautiful plaid comforter says it all! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, CoCo. sending a bunch of blessings!

    1. Thank you bunches, Debra! Their style is completely different from mine so it’s always fun to go back home and celebrate in ways we’ve cherished for years. They both love anything with plaid so the comforter was definitely a big hit. Sending you and your family lots of love and hugs this holiday season, CoCo

  12. Oh my goodness CoCo, what wonderful memories, and what a special place to celebrate!! That tablescape is gorgeous too as everything is!! Merry Christmas!!

    1. Thank you so much, Anita, I really appreciate it! My parents are super sweet so it’s definitely a fun place to celebrate. Wishing you and your family a warm and cozy holiday season, CoCo

  13. Wow, what an amazing Christmas tour and so fun to hear about your Christmas morning traditions! The louder the better I always say! Happy Christmas CoCo to you and your family!

    1. They definitely have the louder part cornered for sure, Michelle 😂 There is NO way my parents sleep through all of us traipsing down the stairs at 4 am the littles just do not have an inside voice 🤣 Wishing you and your military family lots of fun making holiday memories together. I hope the season is extra special this year, CoCo

  14. I loved reading this even though I already knew it all. Our family traditions will be passed down to the next generation and that brings me so much joy.

    1. I know! I’ve literally been singing “Oh You Can’t Get ‘Em Up” in my head since I wrote this post 🤣 Can’t wait to hug you, CoCo

  15. I’ve so enjoyed my tour and you have a beautiful home and it’s gorgeously decorated for Christmas.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    1. I really appreciate it, Sheila, thank you so much! Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season, CoCo

  16. I love your Christmas home tour!!! Everything looks so beautiful!! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Emily, I really appreciate it! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by so I hope you and you’re family are able to squeeze every lost drop out of the season. Big hugs and Merry Christmas, CoCo

  17. CoCo your traditions sound similar to ours and I enjoyed every single picture and word you wrote! Yours is the first blog post I read the whole way through! So fun to get a peek into your traditions and family and I just want you to know that I adore you to pieces. You are such an inspiration. Merry Christmas!!!

    1. Such a sweet and thoughtful compliment, Kelly, thank you so much! It’s a total whirlwind in the days leading up to our Christmas celebration but we have the best time together. We’ve definitely tried hard to pass down all the fun things we did when we were younger to the littles. They’ve asked to bring real instruments so many times but I don’t know if MiMi and Poppi can handle it 🤣 Sending you and your family lots of hugs for a merry and bright Christmas season, CoCo

  18. It’s posts like these that make these tours so fun and memorable! I delighted in reading about the storybook Christmas times spent at Bliss Barracks! Not only is it a beautiful home, but it is filled with beautiful memories and will be a place for many more Christmas memories to be made. This post has truly helped me feel a bit more excited for the Christmas and all the joys of holiday family traditions!

    Loved the tour from the start! The door is gorgeous and the wreath is fabulous too!

    I hope you have the very merriest of Christmases this year! Thanks for joining the tour!

  19. Your parents’ home looks beautiful and it sounds like you all have a blast! We’ve done many of your traditions over the years (growing up and with my own family of 5 as well). One special thing I miss doing is putting “reindeer food” out on the lawn on Christmas Eve! Most years it would be snowing and truly magical for the kids. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen

  20. Coco, I enjoyed reading your post. Home created with found memories over the years are the best. Such a fun home tour series.

  21. I loved reading about your family traditions and your mom’s love of Christmas. I see where you get your decorating talents! I would love to see that staircase tradition. I bet that is so much for for the kids! Merry Christmas!

  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, CoCo!!! I totally understand the military moves… I’ve lived in 42 or 43 homes/apartments (including the two RVs) at this point. 😉 Makes for an interesting life and you are SO used to getting to know new people!!! My MIL is actually moving out of her home of 57 years today. Mr. Ethereal is back there in California helping with the movers coming this very morning. She will stay with us until she finds a home she loves… <3

    Well, I am happy to feature Bliss Cottage at Share Your Style #330 this week for you! (And your Mom; her home is just gorgeous!!!) I love that you all trump upstairs to "wake them up." We'd go banging up the stairs at my mom and dad's, too! It was a lot of fun though when my kids were young we only got back to their Connecticut home for Octobers. Hubby could never get away from work… (story of our lives!)

    Anyway, I hope this year was full of chaos for you as ours was here the Sunday before Christmas!! That was our fun day with our new little grandson Milo. I've finally posted up on my blog about the family visit. <3

    Have a great New Year's Eve and Day and here's to a wonderful 2022,
    Barb 🙂

  23. Hi CoCo – First, I always love reading and watching the Polar Express every year for Christmas. Second, the holiday at Bliss Barracks sounds like it is something you want seared into your memory so you never ever forget it. The smell of coffee and cinnamon rolls, the sounds of a “full band” entering your parent’s room, the decor and all the family members. Enjoy your holiday season!

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