A Whimsical Christmas

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Going beyond the traditional colors of Christmas, this home celebrates the season with a playful palette of festive fun.

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photograph by Matt Kocourek

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Tripp home in Stilwell, Kansas. Although the Tripp family, which includes Kristina, Matt and their three daughters, has only been in this home for two years, they have truly made it their own, especially when it comes to their favorite holiday décor. Because the residence sits on some acreage, its peaceful and joyful ambiance greets you before you even reach the front door.



“Decorating for the holidays has always been an interest of mine,” smiled Kristina, who enjoys incorporating her own sense of fun and joviality throughout her home, along with those of her family.

“My middle daughter has collected nutcrackers since she was young,” said Kristina. “Santa brings her some, too, and she enjoys displaying them on the window ledge in the basement in this home. She used to keep them on display in her bedroom in our former home. She has about 40 of them right now.”



In order to truly showcase their holiday spirit and enthusiasm, the Tripps brought in Kristeena Budig, owner/designer of Designs by Kristeena, to further enhance their love of the holidays by utilizing her design expertise.

“Kristina came up with the theme, and I just ran with it,” noted Budig, who indicated this particular installation has been one of her favorites so far. “I love being able to do different styles, and this one allowed me to dig deep into my whimsical side. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas tree is the topper. I feel like you can add so many unique textures and fun objects to really make your tree stand out.”



The Tripps like to put a big tree on the main floor in the foyer. This slender and tall artificial tree makes a grand statement when you first walk in. It’s the first sign that Christmas has fully embraced this home, along with all the other elements of holiday style.

“I like traditional Christmas color, and Kristeena does a nice job with the reds, greens, and whites while also making them current with the other colors,” expressed Kristina. “But the basement is a completely different vibe in terms of colors, making it fun for the kids. Kristeena added a super fun tree topper to the tree down there.”



All of the decorations belong to the Tripp family, although Budig did help them purchase some along the way, The Tripp family begins decorating right after Thanksgiving, although their girls would love to start sooner, and then they take everything down just after the New Year holiday.

“Kristeena is very good at holiday decorating, and I greatly appreciate her help,” indicated Kristina. “A home changes around the holiday, and this just makes it all fun.”



Budig added a variety of touches to bring the holiday spirit to this home, and she is very thoughtful in her approach.

“I love adding Christmas greens to vases around the home,” she explained. “Kristina had some beautiful jars she wanted to bring to life with holiday greens and picks. Arrangements are one of my favorite things to do. You can take a simple ginger jar or vase and turn it into an amazing arrangement for the holidays. It’s a simple touch that can really add cheer to any space.”



In the family’s formal sitting room, Budig carried over the whimsical look to tie the tree and the garland together. In the less formal family room, Budig opted to make this mantle simple with beautiful faux garland. This allowed the stockings to remain the primary focus. The television above this fireplace acts like a picture frame or piece of art during the holidays.

“You can change the image in and out of it, so I like to rotate Christmas images on it throughout the season,” expressed Kristina.

Lastly, Budig designed the client’s front porch planters. 



“I love being able to add cheer inside and out for my clients,” she reflected.

And the owners love those outdoor planters, as they set a delightful stage for what is to come.

“When you walk in the front door, the whole presentation coordinates together well with the interior,” Kristina said.

Budig’s favorite part of this Christmas installation was its whimsical theme.



“It’s hard to pick between the tree and the sitting room mantle,” she reflected. “They were so much fun. If I had to pick my absolute favorite, I would have to say the tree topper. I loved all the fun Christmas stems and picks I was able to use. I feel like it really gave their tree the final touch.”

Budig thoroughly enjoyed filling the tree and mantle with tons of ornaments, picks, ribbons, and cute Christmas signs. Bringing the family’s vision to life brought her great joy.

“I feel truly blessed to be able to decorate homes for one of the most magical times of the year,” she reflected. “I love seeing their faces when they arrive home to see their homes lit up and ready for the season. The client can then relax and enjoy this time of year with their families.”

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