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A Holiday Tour of a Craftsman-Style California Home


Every year, blogger, shop owner, and interior stylist Jeran McConnel of Oleander and Palm and her husband Lonnie host a holiday bash at their Bakersfield, CA home. “Most people stay for hours, and our house gets loud and crowded. I bake and cook for days leading up to it so that everything is homemade and fresh,” the multi-hyphenate Jeran tells us. This year, however, the couple has reworked not only that annual party but all of their holiday plans in order to keep their loved ones safe.

“I grew up in Papua New Guinea. When I was pregnant with my oldest child, we visited a very remote Island, and I bought an ebony-and-shell carved ornament from a local artisan. I used to hang it on the tree, but this year I got a little ornament stand at a thrift store for it. Now it has a special spot on the mantle,” McConnel tells us. Stockings by Target

Photo by Oleander and Palm

A highly scaled-back guest list and a change of scenery will help keep their traditional gathering alive. The new socially-distanced setting? The front porch. “We will serve a few neighbors thermoses full of spiked citrus punch, hand out boxes of homemade treats, and give them blankets to keep them warm,” McConnel adds.

McConnel will have traditional Swedish cardamom buns ready for her guests. She uses a recipe passed down from her grandmother. |

Photo by Oleander and Palm

Guests will be greeted by a home decked out in more Christmas lights than ever before. Lit up like a gingerbread house, the family hopes their new display warms a few hearts: “We figured our neighborhood needed as much cheer as it could possibly get this year.”

Closer to the big day, the fivesome will be staying put instead of heading out of state to visit family. While it’s not ideal, they’ll raise their spirits high by practicing a few Swedish traditions passed down to McConnel from her parents. “On Christmas Eve we’ll have meatballs and lingonberries,” she begins, adding, “We’ll also put out a rice pudding for Jultomten (Sweden’s Father Christmas).”

Like the McConnels, many of our celebrations are sure to feel different this year. The family has proven that—with a little creativity and a lot of flexibility—the holidays don’t have to be any less special, though. Whether you’re creating a new tradition or simply cherishing the ones you can partake in, we at Home52 wish you a very happy holiday.

What traditions are you able to keep alive this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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