By Amelia Rose Smith
Mary Kate and Josh Brown are long-time Williamson County residents. Mary Kate is a stay-at-home mom to their three children. Josh is an executive at a healthcare company, a native of Williamson County – a true unicorn – and you may recognize him from his recent election to the Williamson County School Board, District 4.
In 2017, the couple began building their home in the Rosemont neighborhood with the assistance of Hillside Homes, Stephanie Irvin Interiors and JFY Designs. Mary Kate shares, “I would describe the style of our home as transitional – mostly traditional with a touch of whimsy and fun (animal prints, etc.). It suits my and Josh’s personalities – Josh is more traditional, and I like to bring some eclectic, fun items into the space.”
With this year being their fourth Christmas at their beautiful home, it was time to take the décor up a notch, meaning assistance was necessary. So, with the help of Stacey Perry with Down to the Wire Designs, the Brown’s home was decorated within hours!
When asked how she would describe her Christmas decor, Mary Kate replied, “Our Christmas decor is traditional. The exterior and entryway have bright reds and greens, while the dining and living rooms have more muted colors: silvers, golds and blues.”
Mary Kate continues, “My mom made Christmas magical for our family as a child. Her maiden name is Griswold, so it is only fitting that she created many Christmas memories for our family! She would buy gifts year-round, sometimes forgetting where she hid our gifts. My dad knew how much my mom enjoyed this time of the year, so while he may have scaled back a bit, he never said a word to her. Josh is slowly learning this... I think. So much of my decor came from the items my mom bought my sisters and me over the years. She would buy three of everything to have many decorations to give us for when we had homes of our own. I have now started buying my kids Christmas decor and hope one day they will think of me like I do my mom when they are decorating their own homes.”
Mary Kate’s go-to stores for Christmas décor are Michael’s and At Home. She spills, “I am a sucker for oversized decor I see from Grandin Road and Frontgate, but they are so pricey, so I stick with discount stores like Sam’s and Costco. Each store usually comes out with six to eight feet nutcrackers each season, but they sell out quickly. One of Mary Kate’s major decor items at Christmas, are the trees. There are several! Here she gives us a tour of trees and how each unique theme comes to life.
MKB: I have always wanted a Christmas tree shaped like a dress for my closet. I found one last year, but it was the last one, so I purchased the display, which meant it was already assembled. I was alone, and my car was full of shopping bags, but that tree was coming home with me!
Dining Room Tree
MKB: This is where I display my White House Historical Association ornaments. They release a new ornament each year and have created the official White House ornament since 1981. My kids now buy me a new one each year for my Christmas gift. This year’s ornament is a gingerbread White House; when you open the box, it smells like the scent of gingerbread.
I have my kids get me three of the same ornament so I can give them a complete set of their own White House ornaments one day. Each ornament comes with a booklet that tells a bit of history about our country, the White House and Presidents and make such great keepsakes.
Formal Living Tree
MKB: The formal living room is our Nutcracker room. I am a sucker for a nutcracker and try to sneak in at least one or two new ones every year.
Family Living Tree
MKB: The family living room has our tallest tree, a flocked fourteen-foot tree. I love the oversized ornaments!
MKB: My mom had a family friend paint an ornament for my sisters and me each year that featured a big event or milestone for that year. If I went on a big trip or won any awards, I knew they would be celebrated and highlighted on my ornament, but we never knew for sure
until she handed them out each year. I still treasure my ornaments so much that I started having ornaments hand painted for my kids. My friend Dana prays over the kids as she paints their ornaments! The kids love putting them up and remembering their achievements and passions over the years. We have ornaments that feature their broken bones, vacations, football, soccer and cheer awards. Some of my favorites are from their younger years that feature their past obsessions – Anderson, for example, wore a Woody costume from Toy Story every day for a year. Amelia was obsessed with Dora the Explorer when she was three, and Mary Harper loved Goofy when she was two. I don’t know if I would remember those memories at Christmas each year unless I had them captured on their ornaments. The holidays are all about making memories with your family, so these ornaments help us slow down, remember special memories from days gone by and count our blessings.
“It is said that pictures are worth a thousand words,” Mary Kate expresses. “While these pictures highlight the spirit of the Christmas season, what is not seen is the ‘behind the scenes’ evidence of a home shared by three young kids (and, of course, the family dog) going through the usual busy-ness of life. So don’t get too caught up in the perfect trees, Christmas cards and matching PJs. The holidays don’t have to be picture-perfect!”