Christmas in Wyoming

on December 16 | in Decor, Friends & Family, Guest Contributors, Home, Interior Decorating, Lifestyle | by | with 33 Comments


Seek beauty in EVERYTHING.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was a cold day in April when I loaded the last of our life in Montana into my car. I spent an hour cleaning up the mud and snow that I had tracked into our farmhouse, and dropped off the keys with the landlord. Tanner, my husband, had already been gone for a month, and all I could think about was getting to Wyoming and seeing him again! We were changing our lives in a big way in order to better our financial situaton and set ourselves up for the future, but it was so hard to leave a place we called home.

Christmas in Wyoming

We finally found a small rental, but I hated Wyoming. I thought it was ugly, too windy, smelly, boring; you name it.

This year, the thought of paying for our Christmas tree was too much. I’d been able to hike in the wilderness of Montana for the perfect tree every year for the price of a cup of cocoa.

Using tumbleweeds to decorate

My post this week was supposed to be on the greenery that Wyoming has to offer. I had a good laugh over the fact that the only green out here is the sagebrush, and resolved to post about something else. Then it hit me…literally. A tumbleweed hit the sliding glass door leading to the backyard as the wind blew, and my mind started racing. It reminded me of an old western movie I watched growing up. The lead character tied poems to tumbleweeds passing by in hopes that they would reach her one true love.

Using tumbleweeds for decor

Could I decorate a tumbleweed for Christmas? The shape of it was beautiful, and fit perfectly inside the planter I got from Aubrey of Studio Stems. As I added in more weeds from the backyard, and deep purple flowers from the grocery store, I was more convicted than I have been in a very long time.

Wyoming greenery

Christmas in Wyoming

Sitting in front of me was an absolutely beautiful creation from my backyard, a backyard that I am beyond blessed to have. From Wyoming, a place where we are finally able to breathe again. From my house that my husband works so hard to provide. Any bitterness I’ve felt toward Wyoming slowly melted away this past week.

Unique Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

Unique Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

Unique Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

I finished the shoot, and pressed some of the leftover flowers in between pages of an old book. This is something I’ve been doing ever since I found a leaf in an old copy of Jane Eyre at a thrift store.

Vintage book and flowers

Unique Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

We complain and dwell on negativity too much when there are so many things to be thankful for. I’d love to challenge you to think about the things in life you’re feeling bitter toward, and find the positivity in them. I’ll bet some of you have stories very similar to mine. I would absolutely love to hear them. If you feel comfortable, please post them in the comment section below! You never know who it might encourage.

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33 Responses to Christmas in Wyoming

  1. What a beautiful post and tumbleweed!!!! Would love to know the brand/paint color on the walls behind the tumbleweed.

  2. Tambur says:

    A lovely creation from the beauty and bounty of nature. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Arcia says:

    I too was in a frame of mind that was making some days difficult. By some deep soul searching I discovered I could paint, winning many ribbons. I also started painting on rocks and as a result walked along rivers. So looking closer I started finding river glass and lots of artifacts that have washed down from old dumping sites. Their trash, my treasures. I found spots where hurricane Irene had made new river beds that were never there.With every beautiful piece , I find myself visualizing a story of who and where it came from. So this adventure has led me down another path of making mosaic pieces and jewelry. And within every piece that is created lies a story of someone else’s life. So the cold weather is here and on my days off I keep telling myself that this will be the last day that I go to the river but I was drawn there again yesterday and filled my pockets! So I too have found that if you look close enough you will find some oddity to turn into a thing of beauty.Thanks for the opportunity to share

  4. Arcia says:

    the movie was called Conagher with Sam Elliott and Catherine Ross

  5. Your tumbleweed is a work of art now…the purple flowers gave it the perfect holiday touch. I have lived in many different climates and parts of the country and I love finding what makes is special and unique. You have to find happiness wherever you are and adapt. And then you can retire to Florida….like I did! Happy holidays!

  6. kimberly says:

    I remember as a child living in Arizona, a snowman someone had made by stacking three tumbleweeds and spray painting them white. She then added fabric eyes and accessories, a top hat and scarf. It was such a great thing and so fun for us all.
    I moved last year from Colorado to Idaho. I didn’t want to move to Idaho. I’d never been to Idaho. I loved Colorado. But we couldn’t afford what we wanted in Colorado so Idaho it is!
    I’ve struggle a lot with this move and there are still days I really just hate Idaho. But now there are more good than bad and I love how our family is so much closer now. That closeness, how we are all so knit together, is a gift of beauty and love. Even in Idaho.

    • A tumbleweed SNOWMAN?! I think I need to do that, if only to amuse the neighbors!!

      Yes…you just have to find the positivity in your situation — no matter what it is, no matter how hard it is, I’m convinced. Being close to family is an amazing, amazing gift!! I could’ve stayed behind in Montana, but there’s no way I could be away from Tanner. It is truly a gift!! Where in Idaho are you, if you don’t mind me asking? I grew up in Clark Fork, Idaho :)

  7. Lynne says:

    “If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.”

    - Mansfield Park
    I love Jane Austen and your blog brought this to mind.

  8. Sheila says:

    I love tumbleweeds, so I absolutely love the idea of putting one in a pot and creating a show stopping centerpiece. I would have never thought to embellish it. Now it just need to wrestle me up a tumbleweed. Thanks for the creative inspiration this morning.

  9. Sherry Smyth says:

    You were able to take something “ordinary” from your everyday world and turn it into something beautiful…may the coming year bring you all that you desire and a fresh look at your new home.

    • Sherry — thank you so much for the well wishes! I’m learning to really love Wyoming. I really am. ;) All this wide open space and fresh air is preeeettty amazing!! Thanks so much for commenting!

  10. Margot Hardin says:

    Thanks for sharing. I live in West Texas and experiencing extreme drought. I live in Crosbyton, TX an area in years where we receive a good amount of rainfall, is extremely beautiful. We are surrounded on 3 sides by canyons, in fact the Native Americans called it the Garden of Eden and spent a lot of time there. This year we are experiencing lots of wind and dust, tumbleweeds are everwhere. Your post reminded me you can see beauty in everything God created. Thank You.

  11. Lucy says:

    Gorgeous…thank you for reminding us that there’s beauty all around us…xo

  12. I loved this post. I’ve had to leave my dream home and trade it for a dump. But it was a blessing in disguise, for fixing up that very dump with absolutely no funds to speak of led me to my current passion of decorating with junk.

    I believe hard times form us to be a better, stronger us. Your tumbleweed treasure is a true testimony to that. It’s gorgeous! So are your photos!

    • Oh those blessings in disguise :) They work in such amazing ways, don’t they?? I’ve learned things in hard times that have completely blessed my life… I love it! Thanks so much for your sweet words, and for sharing!!! We’re all glad that you got into junk too! ;)

  13. Jean Ink says:

    We live in South Carolina, but I’ve lived in Wyoming, and I know what it’s like. I’ve always made, made do, recreated, or made something out of nothing, but sometimes, because of an avalanche of difficult or almost impossible circumstances, it’s hard to go on doing that. l love your tumbleweed tree and the hope it gives – beauty from so little! It reminds me of a “tree” form I have waiting to happen – a germander herb that died from lack of rain this year. I had pruned it into a sphere, but when it died I dug it out and threw it on my burn pile. I found it again when I was scouting our half acre for botanical stuff to decorate with. It’s very woody and all the little criss-crossing branches are completely straight. I spray-painted it white and shoved it into a faux urn (a roadside treasure) that sits on the deck. I’ve been calling it my Charlie Brown tree, but it’s still undecorated. It will be on view mainly at night…what you think, red lights or white?

    • Hi Jean! I REALLY would love to see your germander herb!! You should email me pictures at — it sound so beautiful!!! I think white lights…but I’m a sucker for the way it looks ;) Sometimes it’s really fun to make do, isnt’ it? Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story! XOXO

  14. Peg says:

    I really needed this today! We left Wyoming in May, my home for all of my 52+ years, to move to Gilbert, Arizona, which I’d call a Phoenix suburb. Even though I looked forward to this move, it has been very tough going. We left our grown kids, and all of my family, in Wyoming. A 1,000 mile trip isn’t something a person can make every 2 or 3 months, and it pains me to think that even though our daughter/son-in-law are currently here visiting, it’ll be many months before they can again. Financially, this move has proven to be very stressful. It’s causing a lot of stress in an already stressed marriage too…

    • Peg, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sharing this, and I know there are so many other people out there who have the same story. My family is still back in Montana, so I know exactly how you feel…those trips are not easy! We make do through Skype, phone and email conversations, but it doesn’t replace actually having them there. My prayer for you is that you find peace in the times they aren’t there, and in where you’re living. It is really hard! I know it is! I will be praying for you. I hope you have an incredible Christmas while they are there, and you guys make some amazing memories. Thank you so much for sharing, and if there’s anything else I can pray about — please email me at — we’re all in this together ;)

  15. Amy G says:

    So beautiful Jana! Your story reminds me of my sweet Grandma. I grew up in a desert and we too had an abundance of tumble weeds. My Grandma had a gift to find beauty in all situations. On year we arrived at her house for Christmas dinner to find a HUGE tumble weed spray painted gold hanging from her ceiling. Of course my uncles made fun of her, but I remember laying under that tumble weed in awe of its sparkly beauty. Thank you for reminding me of my sweet Grandma and to see the beauty in all things. We miss you here in good ol’ Montana- but I am thankful you are finding beauty in your new home!

  16. Jill Flory says:

    That is beautiful! I think it looks like something Anthropologie would do – they may be knocking on your door for next years decor! I love how you can find beauty in all of creation. And I love how you shared this story – very well written and thought provoking. blessings to you and your family this Christmas!

  17. [...]  the perfect way of creating something out of nothing with this tumbleweed tree from our own Jana from Vintage Whites [...]

  18. Ruth S says:

    Back in 1982 work was really hard to find. My husband, myself and our two children ages 3 and 4 months, moved by airplane from Kenosha, WS to Houston, TX in April. I had a niece and her family that took us in for a couple of months until my husband found work. Spending money was non-existent, we didn’t even have a car. That Christmas I made a flat tree out of cardboard, used crayons to color it, strung it with a stand of lights, and hung a few ornaments from the wire. It sat on a coffee table against the wall. I have pictures showing my almost one year old daughter in front of it, the kids loved it! When all is said and done, it’s not how fancy something is, it’s the love that went into it.

  19. Joel Jones says:

    What a GREAT story. Soo inspiring. I have always loved knowing that, if we change a thought, we can change our world and the world around us. And, how creative. I am amazed at all the wonderful creativity I see on the internet.
    Thank you.

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