Antique Christmas Decorations and Family Heirlooms Fill This Charming Ohio Home

·5 min read

When Jess Wasserman's son discovered a love for local corn on the cob after years of an anti-veggie diet, she gave her son Reid a blown-glass ear-of corn Christmas ornament. And when her daughter, who loves to pick berries, learned to make jam, Harper received a strawberry ornament. Giving each member of her family a memorial ornament each Christmas is one of Jess' favorite holiday traditions. She shares her favorite holiday traditions on her Instagram account. Second favorite: handing out each family member's box full of those annual ornaments when they decorate the large tree in the living room. "Everyone takes their box and unwraps the ornaments," Jess says. "It is exciting to see them all again and talk about the memories."

Jay Wilde

The Wasserman's Monroeville, Ohio, home welcomes the holidays with twinkling lights, wreaths on every window, and a display of trees and vintage finds on the deep front porch.

Jay Wilde

While the living room tree holds the memorial ornaments, Jess and her husband, Tyler, make a concerted effort to create and display Christmas memories in every nook and cranny of their home. Three sets of Christmas cards are clipped onto ribbons: The current year's cards received from others are strung across the living room windows; their own family's annual cards, starting with Jess and Tyler's first Christmas together, hang at the kitchen sink; and vintage cards adorn the breakfast nook. A View-Master toy rests on the living room coffee table with holiday reels to scroll through. "I love to display unexpected, fun things like that," Jess says, noting that a nearby crate is filled with sheet music of Christmas songs. "Those are conversation pieces that spark memories for our friends and visitors."

Related: 35 Pretty Christmas Living Room Ideas to Get You Ready for the Holidays

Jay Wilde

The front door practically sings with Christmas spirit. "I try to decorate the front of the house while the kids are at school and turn all the lights on before I pick them up in the afternoon. It gets dark early, so when we get home it is glowing and they are so excited," Jess says.

Jay Wilde

The potting area right outside the kitchen door is the perfect place for making a wreath or bringing in greens, Jess says. "It is pretty but also very functional."

Jay Wilde

Harper Wasserman's playhouse gets into the spirit with a wreath, garland, and mini trees alongside a wood star she found when antiquing with her mom. The front door is painted red just for the holidays.

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Alfie, 4, Harper, 8, and Reid, 11, bake favorite treats using a huge cutting board made by Jess' dad as a work surface. "My dad also built the kitchen island," she says. "The top is from an old table in a corn barn. It is all beat up and perfect." Jess applied chalk-finish paint and distressed the base.

Related: Vintage Christmas Decorations Find a Home in This 1940s Farmhouse

Jay Wilde

Baking and decorating cookies is a Wasserman holiday tradition. Then there's the baking. "Mom would let each of us pick our favorite cookie or treat, and we would help her make that," she says. "I do that now, too." Jess spends time with all three of her children making peanut butter blossoms and chocolate chow mein clusters and decorating sugar cookies. "We all do it together and there are treats out all the time!" For Jess, it is all part of creating "an old-fashioned Christmas that feels cozy and warm," she says—and memories of all the heartwarming sights, fresh-baked scents, and holiday sounds—for her family.

Jay Wilde

Above the kitchen's 1937 Kohler rolled-rim cast-iron sink, a ribbon displays the family's Christmas cards from oldest (when it was just Jess and Tyler before kids) to newest.

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The family dines around an old harvest table Jess found on Facebook Marketplace. After opening gifts on Christmas morning, the Wassermans enjoy what Jess calls "a fancy brunch." They set the table with special dishes ("I only pull out those dishes for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas brunch," she says), glassware, napkins, and candlesticks. "A few of the brass ones are from Ty's family and a few are wooden spools," Jess says.

Jay Wilde

Jess makes special efforts to continue traditions from her and her husband's childhoods. One from Tyler's is having a puzzle in process during the holidays.

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A chalkboard in the breakfast nook used to hang in Jess' grandparents' home. "I can't tell you how many games of school my cousins and I played on this chalkboard," she says. "The frame still smells like their basement, and that makes my heart so happy."

Jay Wilde

The family's Cavachons, Duffy and Dilly, keep watch for Santa's arrival. The stairway's garland, Jess says, starts with "a generic faux garland as the base. Then I build off that by tucking in magnolia leaves and real evergreens." She ties the garland in place with ribbons she makes herself. "I cut fabric into big, long strips," she says. "I buy a bunch of yards and make a small cut and rip it, so I get a frayed edge. I want it to be drapey and long and flowy and not too perfect or stiff."

Jay Wilde

The kids get holiday sheets on their beds, Christmas jammies, and each of them has a tree in their room. Harper's room and white flocked tree are decorated as extensions of her personality—colorful and bright.

Jay Wilde

Jess changes the duvet and pillow covers on her bed with the season. "The plates on the wall stay the same year-round, but the pillows are only red for Christmas," Jess says. "Ty and I don't have Christmas sheets like the kids. We need some!"