picTORIal: Christmas Morning at the McDermotts

‘Twas the night before Christmas… and I snapped a few pictures of our living room complete with festive décor for all of you to see. For this year’s holiday theme, I went with vintage reds, creams, and metallics:


This wall in our living room usually hangs antique artwork I’ve collected but for the holidays I took them down and put up these vintage painted tin ceiling tiles I found at a flea market. They were the perfect backdrop for our tree.


For wrapping I used lots of craft paper and twine


More presents!


More of our decor. I spritzed our pine cones with pine aromatherapy oil and dusted them with cinnamon.


I planted our poinsettias in vintage soda crates and placed some mason jars filled with fake snow and ornaments (like the above nutcracker one) here and there. They made great decor and were simple to put together.

Then, on Christmas morning, we all awoke to find this!


Our living room was in complete disarray. Santa and his reindeers had come and snacked but left quite the mess!


Chippy our elf had left his post in the kitchen and moved to the living room where he oversaw everything!


OMG! Santa had left 2 dune racers and a mini ride for Hattie.


Hattie loved her new present!! Thank you Santa!


Stockings for each of my babes


Our homemade stockings complete with monkey, ladybug, kitty cat, and bear embellishments had been stuffed with goodies!


Liam dives into his stocking


Stella got neon pink legwarmers. Toddler chic!


And a pink guitar! She wants to form a rock band, with Liam on drums and Hattie singing. Maybe Finn can shake the rattle!


More goodies…


Uncle Mehran celebrated with us


Santa Bags filled… Guess the kids weren’t on the naughty list this year


Finn aka Bear’s first Santa bag!!


Daddy aka The Grinch poses with his new mustache keychain from his stocking


Hattie loves her big bro Jack!


Finn aka Santa Claus and his Mrs. Claus Zoe oversaw all the festivities


The aftermath!


Minnie doesn’t want the presents touched!


Oh well Minnie lost but settled for some wrapping paper as a bed.

Then, it was time for breakfast!


For Christmas breakfast I made a French Toast Casserole courtesy of a fabulous Paula Deen recipe

Paula’s Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

• 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
• 8 large eggs
• 2 cups half and half
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 dash salt
• Praline topping
• Maple syrup



Praline Topping Recipe:
• ½ pound (2 sticks) butter
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
*Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well



1. Slice French bread into 20 slices (slices should be 1-inch thick)
2. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9×13 inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices
3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk until blended
4. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture
5. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices
6. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight
7. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
8. Spread the praline topping over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden
9. Serve with maple syrup


Easy to make and sooooo yummy!

And that is how the McDermotts spent Christmas morning! Surrounded by beautiful décor, gifts from Santa, smiling babes and delicious food, this may have been our best Christmas yet.

Check back tomorrow because I’ll be posting my picTORIal from our Christmas Dinner, complete with mouthwatering recipes! And later today, I’ll be posting a home video from Christmas morning. You won’t want to miss it!

What did Santa bring you and your family this year?



  • Ashley Taylor

    Your living room resembles ours! I love the post gift picture, because it is totally the way that stuff looks! I think our family is FINALLY back in shape just this week! ;)

  • Kathleen T.

    What great pictures. Our Christmas was not the “amount” we usually give the kids as far as monetary this year. I had a spinal fusion a year ago and so with being down to 1 income I had to get creative. After selling things here and there on ebay as my budget this year, watching for great sales since May, and actually having time laying in bed to do some creative things it still was a wonderful Christmas. The older kids (my teens x4) understood the circumstance so I they knew this year would not be quite like other’s and the 4 year old really isn’t at an age to compare. I took to pinterest to get ideas and actually did some crafting to make the girls jewelry, and decoupaged more spiderman things for my youngest son’s wall’s in his bedroom. My mother passed Christmas day 2 years ago- so for us Santa having us all together and healthy was more than I could ask! Thanks again for sharing all the pictures!

  • Lemon Meringue

    Thanks T, was already looking forward to a festive picTORIal, love the way your kids looked hyper-psyched (and the adults with their laidback just-out-of-bed-looks). I hope is was as fun as it looks! Dutch Santa (St. Nicholas, on the 5th of December) brought us loads of family games, one already proved to be a great hit during the Christmas break: Ticket to Ride|Days of Wonder. During the day we played it with the kids, and after they went to bed, the hubs and I played the game again!
    Christmas itself for us was a familygathering and British Christmasdinner. And it included a moment of fierce and fiery pyromummymania: to flamb

  • HLeide

    Santa brought our family together this Christmas. My husband returned from a 7 month deployment a few weeks before Christmas. We were so happy to have him back. In addition to their daddy, my boys (age 5 and 2) got lots of Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and Jake and the Neverland Pirate toys. I got a lot of Coach items.

  • Jeanne Tutt

    omg you guys thought of EVERYTHING! you are so damn creative! I’m jellies! I wanna be adopted! :)

  • Julie Moore

    I love the mason jars with the ornaments and fake snow! Now that we live in Tennessee, it’s not common to have snow at Christmas. The kids barely remember northern Nevada and the snow but they still ask when are we getting snow for xmas. I’ll have to use this substitute next year. Thanks!

  • Rosemary Whitt

    Enjoyed your pictures. Didn’t seem like Christmas for me this year I lost my Dad on December 19…he was my HERO. I am the baby in the family and it was a rough holiday. My Mom’s health is bad and we were not expecting it to be Dad to go first. My Dad loved little children and they loved him…he would have enjoyed your pictures I can just see him smiling now. Treasure each second with your children they sure do grow up fast…mine are 28 and 23! (and not speaking wish I could put them in time out) seems like yesterday they were little like yours and I was handmaking decorations and special treats. Thanks for sharing your joy and I hope you and your family have a most blessed New Year.

    P.S. I miss your craft show by the way!

  • Myeleah

    First of all to Rosemary Whitt, the poster above me, I am so sorry for your loss!! My heart goes out to you. May happy memories of your father help to heal your broken heart!

    Tori, Thank you for sharing your holiday pictures! What a beautiful family & wonderful holiday traditions! I especially like the homemade stockings with embellishments for each child’s nicknames! Those will be cherished their entire lifetimes!

    This site is such a joy to come to. My family has always been a very screwed up mess. By seeing your family & how loving you guys are, in some weird way, it helps me. My parents never should have had kids. They did not deserve the gift of children. Your kids however, are so very blessed! I think that you were born to be a mother Tori!

  • joanne stubbs

    Your Christmas pictures are super, they remind me of my family when all five were little and at home. Now they are all over the place, just one of them is close enough for visits.
    Just wanted to say that my sister and her husband treated us out to dinner on Christmas Day, so unusual for us. Since it was a Chinese restaurant we went to, it was really fun, and I kept thinking about the scene in “A Christmas Story”, where the waiters sing to the family, LOL.
    Can’t get over how much little Finn looks like Liam. They all are just plain adorable,

  • Momma Used To Say

    What a haul! This is what Christmas is about..the kids and family!

  • Wanda Pender

    Tori, thank you for sharing your pics, it looks like you all had a fabulous Christmas morning! (Minnie too, although she’ll never admit it!) lol. We spent our Christmas in Georgia this year! (we’re from s.e. Texas) My gift was hubby taking me to Tybee Island and Savannah (which is absolutely gorgeous, like stepping back in time) Funny you used a Paula Deen recipe, I was just at The Lady & Sons!! lol. Then it was on to spend Christmas Eve and the duration of Christmas week with his Mother in Toccoa, Georgia. It is absolutely God’s country up there, gorgeous!! We drove to an adorable little town not far away called Clayton, it was completely decorated for the Holidays! Old fashioned stores, wreaths and ribbons on every door, Christmas music playing on the old lantern lined streets (via speakers), literally like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting! It was cold too, so we ducked into a lil cafe for gourmet hot chocolate with marshmallows, lol, it was PERFECT! If the New Year brings only an ounce as much happiness as Christmas did it’ll be a wonderful one! Happy New Year to you, McDermott’s!!!!! :))

  • Katie Ramirez

    Omg love your pictures. where did u find those adorable stockings, i love them or did you make them. Your so crafty like that!

  • Tina Ari

    What a wonderful Christmas for you all! Thank you for sharing your pics with us! :)

    I got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and tickets to see the Angels play the Reds opening week! YES! (I’m an Angels fan and the hubs is a Reds fan…his mom got tickets for us). And of course, my little man raked in some massive amounts of presents…lots of books (he loves to read), a new compound bow and a new target (he only shoots at the target…he is too much an animal lover to be a hunter), and a Kinect system for the xbox. The hubs got a green house and a compost bin (doesn’t sound exciting, but he was stoked!)

  • Vicki FLIPZLES

    Love the Grinch stocking stuffer!
    And is that a FLIPZLES somewhere in the middle of the table aftermath? I think my eyes are deceiving me, but had my fingers crossed after participating in the Baby Swags Holiday gifting :). If you didn’t get them on Christmas day, I hope they arrived safely and that your kiddos enjoy the benefits of a puzzle and creative play set in one.

  • Donna

    omg outdid you always do. Loved the pictures of the kids and Uncle mehan..your home is simply lovely! Thanks so much for taking time out of your scheldule to put up all the pictures and recipes. Your the best!Please more photo of your new house and your decorations. I loved what you did with the mason jars,how creative! Happy New year to you and your beautiful family.

  • Stephanie Campbell

    I am glad your Christmas was so great. I spent mine in East Tennessee, Oak Ridge, to be exact with family but it was not a joyous occasion. My 73 year old aunt died 7 days before Christmas and so we were up there for a memorial and to clean out her house. Very sad time indeed but glad I was able to see my brother and his brood. He has four teenagers and his house is Crazy.

  • Sweety143

    Who is Zoe? I must be behind on my Spelling family/friends baby info.

  • doreen porzio

    OMG!!! Tori, First I would like to say that you decorated your home beautifully! This is what we all want to see, your christmas morning… Everything was so wonderful for the kids! I Love the duneracers & a little one for Hattie!! Liam & Stella must have Freaked!… Those stockings were gorgeous & so precious to have forever!! The kids were adorable as usual! Hattie is getting so big already…. Jack is so handsome! He got so big as well! Lol! That was nice that Mehran was able to share in the fun! Minnie, was right in the action too! My cats were too!.. I love the pic of the “Aftermath” I don’t have a pick of that! I have a pic of just my daughters presents all in clothes boxes pushed to the side of the tree in the bckgrnd of another pic. I was too busy with the presents! LOL! We have a thing that when we are opening we are throwing our paper in a bag next to us, most of it anyway! Presents all over…… Crazy…….Everyone knows where they’re sitting by now!They use to make fun of me, but now my bro-in-law just gets it!… I sit on floor, next to my sister & close to Mom who is on Loveseat with my daughter! I have to hand them the presents I want to give them! Lol!! My brother in law sits on couch with his presents in a pile & nephew sits on other side of sectional with his pile!! Everyone waits & we just adlib it & see who will open presents first & I always want to surprise my Mom with the best gift at the end!! My sister too!! of course, my daughter too!… I have always done that! Christmas has always been the best & extremed!

    Well, what did I get for Christmas? My sister & bro-in-law got me a DVD recorder/VCR , that she surprise me with last! I was REALLY surprised!I cried, what a wimp!.. It is suppose to be able to record from my DVR too! It will help me since you know T that I have 25 “T&D Home Sweet Hollywoods” on it! Plus you & Deans movies…Also I can record my Vcr tapes to DVd’s! Didn’t hook up yet! Cable guy said he wld! Plus she got me a bunch of stuff, 2 watches,my makeup I use,face cream, eyeliners, jewelry box, 4cordless phones, …My Daughter got me a kit of body lotion & pump hand soap..from Bath & Body works! Really nice & a Nice top!..Her boyfriend got me this beautiful purple vase with dried daisies & curly gold sticks in it with lavender oil in it! Looks perfect in my bathroom! He is so sweet! He came after the Crazy time! First time over for Christmas dinner! Was a big Hit! Lol!!

    My mom always gives us MONEY!!! She manages to get us some gifts too! She got me the Susan Lucci dermabrasion kit! I already had one from a long time ago… But this is an updated one..Came with all the creams & sponges… Also a cool looking can opener, Airfreshner for the car you stick in the cigarette lighter..(Mint)I can’t remember what else right now… She went over & above!

    I just want to tell you that I got my sister some shirts, pants, earrings, 2 CD’s she wanted, & surprised her with a Microwave at the end of opening presents!Only thing,I pulled it out & she caught me! I said, It’s for Mommy!… Then I said, it’s for you & Pete! He guessed it! They were happy though! Wanted to punch him! LOL!! He got some shirts he likes & cologne… Nephew clothes! 18yrs old! Jeans, shorts & shirts! He was thrilled!

    My Mom, I gave her a yellow canary stone ring with absolute clear stones around it! gorgeous! That was last! She loved it! Jewelry mongers! Also loved her outside lawn Snail & two frogs for her front yard! So cute! I can’t remember! She had 18 presents… Lotion, Earrings & bracelet! I bought her a portable digital prism T.V. in case of emergency! She lost her elecricity for 4hrs just before xmas! So I ordered it! It seems to go out frequently for some reason? Anyway, It doesn’t seem to work at her house?!… I bought her the “brooklyn lantern” sells on TV! Saw it at store! Works great & gives off lots of light!… Went back to store & bought the light bulb ones too the other day! They go in a closet or wherever/ stick on . 2 in a pack! My mom gave me one back! LOL!!….. Have to say that the bulbs are not as bright as the lantern!! That one has LCD light bulb in it!!….

    Of Course, I went totally overboard this year on my daughter! I gave her so many tops, sweaters, sequin tops, sweater dresses, 2prs. boots, heated throw, bangles, colored jeans, a few dresses Egyptian book w papers inside,… Anyway, Sorry this is much longer than I thought or wanted it to be… Didn’t want you to think that I got such nice presents & I didn’t give them anything good back!! I only think of what I can give to someone to make it a surprise… That’s why Christmas is such a beautiful holiday to me, even if it is a bit overwhelming for me at times!!! It is my FAVORITE holiday!!

    Thank you T for sharing this beautiful Christmas with us!! It is just such a fantastic time of the year!! It is so wonderful when they are that age! Liam & Stella! Even Hattie is getting there!.. Too adorable!! I hope you got a jist of what my Christmas is like!! Complete Chaois! My mom was even getting tired of opening presents! It was a bit overwhelming for her!.. It takes us abt. 2hrs to open all! My mom says I’m crazy & I say ” You started it!” Lol!!… Have an Awesome Day!!! Loved all your pics!! Xo

  • Ann Crook

    Looks like you had a great Christmas:) Here in Ottawa, we had a ton of snow over the holidays so we did lots of tobogganing. The kiddies both got the ‘big’ gifts they were asking for. My daughter wanted a Maplelea doll (basically Canadian version of an American Girl doll) and my son wanted his own laptop. He was soo sure that he would be getting a laptop from us that he kept bragging to his friends that he was getting one. So, being the evil mom that I am, I decided to play a joke on him and wrapped a teeny tiny Lego laptop up in a small box. When he saw his present from us under the tree, he was surprised and disappointed to see that the box was soo small and definately not what he had wanted. LOL. I had the real laptop hidden under the sofa:P The biggest gift though was a Disney cruise which we go on at the end of January!

  • Mirella Ciarla

    T you are one talented lady. I have to say that your home looks so warm and cozy. You absolutely have to tell me where you got those Santa bags. They are so cute. Although my youngest is 9 yrs old and not sure how much longer she will believe in Santa but every year I try to do something different that makes her stand there with her mouth open. This year she made a plate for Santa’s cookies and was so proud and excited to put it out of Xmas eve. Well I found this beautiful Santa letter head and made sure that he left her a note to thank her and compliment her on her plate. Just love to see the kids smile from ear to ear for the simplest things. It doesn’t take much to make them happy. Keep well and God Bless you and your beautiful family.

  • JennySue Makeup

    That aftermath photo is amaze balls – looks like a good time was had by all!! And I need that Grinch tee for my husband for next year – please spill the beans on where to get such a shirt!! Happy New Year!!

    Jennifer |

  • desi

    Your house was decorated beautifully! I love all your decorating ideas. And oh, yeah, the recipes are awesome too! French toast casserole sounds too yummy. We paid off our land this Christmas! So now I have more room to get even more goats and chickens and maybe even a horse. Yeah!

  • Heather Hess

    GREAT pics!!! ur house was decorated so beautiful.

  • kelly noone

    Looks like you had a wonderful christmas as we did letting you know you are my fav actor ever i watch eveything you are in loved the new movie it was great

  • Linda Nelsen

    You Always have the best Ideas! Looks like you all had a wonderful Christmas! Christmas’s are the best when the Kids are little!

    I miss my babies! My son is 18 and my daughter is 14! We had a nice christmas but its a different kind of nice now that the babies aren’t babies anymore!

    God Bless you all and I can’t wait to try your recipes!

    ( Go Dean! Watched Rachel Vs. Guy Last night! I hope you win!)

  • Mrsqtsusie13

    Mason jar snow globes are the best! Wonderful Christmas celebration! Thanks for sharing and for cooking Paula Bean’s recipes. Us California girls love to learn the southern cooking styles #marriedasouthernman

  • stacy wilson

    I loved the picTORIal!! one of my faves yet!!!!
    They look like the honestly loved everything, and I really love how many cute stockings/and or cloth embroidered bags you used, so adorable and good for the environment!! :)

    I second the adorable Mason Jar snow globes-
    I helped at school this year to make real snow globes!! We used baby food jars, shriny dinks, water, glitter, hot glue and ribbon, it was so fun, ours even lasted a whole 4 days before little sis got her hands on it too :) LOL Happy New Year T!!!

  • Nich

    Love the homemade stockings, a very festive house! Happy New Year!!!!

  • Kristi Turner

    I saw a picture of your dog and thought she was very similar to mine. I really cannot believe how much they look alike. I hope you and yours had a blessed and happy holiday season!

  • Emily Goodman

    I absolutely love the fact you had a normal Christmas and your house was over flowing with toys just like it should be! Thank you for including us all in your most intimate family moments! So sweet.

  • Kristin


    This post made me smile…I love Christmas and all of your decorating and crafty touches are beautiful! I was wondering if you made your stockings or had them made? I’m obsessed with them! Also…may I ask where the personalized Santa bags are from? those would be a nice addition to our Christmas next year. Thanks! :)


  • Jackie C

    Santa was very good to us this year! My husband was the star of the show my parents and I spoiled him with the most presents. Clothes CDs DVDs cologne you name it he got it! He so deserved it though. He bought the presents for my whole family with no help from me. He got my parents a lighthouse light- up snow globe engraved, saying ” lots and lots of love” from us. I mean how thoughtful can you get? He and my parents also hooked me up with tons of chic clothes , a gift card for a pedicure and a gorgeous jewelry box. I couldn’t ask for more. :)

    Your Christmas looks beautiful filled with good friends and family. The kids are adorable and so is Mehran. :D You are blessed Tori every time I look at pics of Finn I think of what a miracle he is. Hope this year brings even more love and good things your way!

  • Bellas Mommy

    Where did you get the santa bags? I love them!!! We had a great christmas and I love what you did with your house. we were in the middle of moving and did not get to decorate. But it was still a good christmas and now we live here in CA!!! Anyway. Would love to know where to get the santa bags!!!