O Christmas Tree

December 18, 2013

Christmas Tree Hunting n Mt. Hood

Christmas just wouldn’t feel like Christmas to me without a tree. Growing up, we not only had a big one in our living room, we kids were allowed a tiny tree in our shared bedroom. We couldn’t use any “real” ornaments for it; we had to make our own. We strung popcorn and cranberry garlands and made plenty of ornaments out of paper. That little green shrub was magic.

Over the years, I’ve decorated Christmas trees in various ways. When I was single and nomadic, my housemates and I seemed to always come up with decorations to make a tree proud. One year, I remember my roommate wanted to do the entire thing in blues, silvers, whites, and bright greens — no reds, no gold, no Santas or candy canes. I was skeptical but went along with it — and was amazed at how gorgeous it turned out. My fallback still tends to be a slightly old-fashioned tree with white lights, but I learned that it can really be fun to change things up.

Although I’ve given up on tinsel over the years, I like garland. I used to take the time to make long strands of popcorn and cranberries — I suppose to relive my childhood — but a few years ago I found some vintage-looking silver garlands that I liked at a local shop and have been using them ever since.

Heart Ornament

I’ve also amassed a lovely collection of ornaments over the years and enjoy pulling them out, one by one, reminiscing about where each came from…different people and phases of life, places I’ve lived and traveled. Ornaments are so great to receive and to give. In fact, years ago, I started sending my godchildren an ornament every Christmas so that, when they leave the nest, they’ll have a special collection for their own trees.

Last year, for the first time in a long time, B and I strung colored lights. Since our girls prefer them to white, we’re using them this year, too. One thing I’ve still never found, though, is a tree topper that I love. S and H want to make a star with gold glitter for this year’s tree, so that’s what we’ll do — but one of these days I’d like to find just the right topper that can take its place among our annual accoutrements.

If you put up a tree, how do you decorate it? If you could do something a little different with it, what would that be?

And if you are looking to change it up this year, check out these creative Christmas tree ideas from Design*Sponge. If I were living in a small city apartment, that book page tree or the tabletop tree would be perfect!

Images: 1, Pinterest; 2, Zoe Saint-Paul

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Margaret Cabaniss 1 Margaret Cabaniss December 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

As with most things holiday-related when we were growing up, my family tends to be pretty traditional about the tree: colored lights, silver tinsel, and all the ornaments we’ve collected (or kids have made) over the years. I love it. I don’t always get my own tree, but when I do, things tend to be a bit more simple (because I don’t have a ton of my own decorations at this point): cranberry and popcorn, red glass ornaments, maybe some pinecones and white lights…I love that, too. Basically, Christmas trees are the best.

Speaking of out-of-the-ordinary trees, I love the creative ones that Megan at Not Martha has done — like this Christmas tree ornament mobile and this illusion Christmas tree. That last one is ridiculously clever. Would be perfect if you’re short on space, or don’t want to leave up something fire hazard-y while you’re traveling…


2 Zoe Saint-Paul December 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

What’s great about a Christmas tree is that if you just throw on some lights, even the simplest decorations can look great… some homemade garland, pinecones, a few ornaments from a thrift shop (I’ve seen some great vintage ones around).

Oh, and I forgot to mention in my post how I use pinecones on our tree — love them.


3 Judy C December 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I’ve collected ornaments over the years ever since my girls were little. The idea was for them to have their own when they left the nest – but I’ve found it difficult to give them up – especially since the girls come home for Christmas. Maybe this year I can let a few go.

One idea I had several decades ago was to dismantle the girls’ Mother Goose mobile that all four had hanging over their crib. I sipped off the clear hanger, drilled a small hole in the top for an eye screw, and ever since have hung them on our tree.


4 Zoe Saint-Paul December 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I love that idea of dismantling the girls’ Mother Goose mobile and making the pieces into ornaments — so sweet!


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