Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Making of a Christmas Tree

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Each year when it is time to deck my halls with boughs of holly, I put almost all of my effort into making a magical Christmas tree for our home. Since I had my very own tree 13 years ago, I've always tried to attain perfection in this area of Christmas requirements.

I remember my first Christmas tree was a fake, skinny tree I bought at a local boutique. I covered it with red snowflakes, red balls and dangled gold bows and little delicate drop ornaments from its plastic limbs. I modeled it after one I'd seen in the store and I obsessed over every little detail on that tree.

I kept that same tree and style until I married Mike. He and I both love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, so for the past ten years, we've reached deep into our pockets and managed to find enough to splurge on a live tree. And we typically have a fairly easy time of picking out the tree at the local lot (Translation, I pick out the tree and he pays the guy to haul it onto the car).

About five years ago, when Walker was born, I decided to create a snowman-themed tree. Every year after, I would buy several new snowman ornaments each year. My tree is now covered in delicate little snowmen balls and ornaments and I love looking at them each year as I'm putting them on the tree. It's like a reunion of long-lost friends once a year. I remember where and when I purchased each one, or who gave it to me and when.

(But once toddlers and puppies and cats are all together in one house, I've learned it's better to not purchase any additional glass ornaments. I've had several casualties the last couple of years, but they are just ornaments, so I don't tend to dwell on them too long.)

I am the master of the Christmas tree in our home. Mike gets it in the house, makes sure it's watered, but I do the decorating. I turn on my Christmas music, send the boys under the house to get the green and red plastic tubs filled with goodies and I get to it.

Tip: NEVER - I repeat - NEVER - try to put the lights on the tree with your spouse. I remember too many Christmas's when my mom and dad would try to do the lights together and they would end up in a tizzy about them. I always do the lights by myself and I always check to make sure each strand is working before I put them on the tree. If you can't reach the top by yourself, use a step ladder. I always manage to get them around the tree all on my own, so you can do it too. It's much better when one person is frustrated vs. two people frustrated at each other when it's really just those darn lights causing all the trouble.

This year I used two different sizes of lights just to make it a little different. I've also only used white and red strings of lights, which is really fun, and some years I do colored lights! It's fun to try out different things,  as to not get stuck in a Christmas tree rut.

Once you've put all the lights on, squint at the tree. If you've never tried this trick, just squint your eyes and then you can notice where there are any holes in the lights on the tree. Adjust accordingly. 

Then, I take the really big balls I have and place them inside the limbs of the tree. This gives the tree some dimension and surprise when you look into the tree.

Always include a bird's nest and a spider ornament on your tree. They are good luck. Just do it, don't ask why, I don't know.

If you want to do something really fun, don't put a bow on the top of your tree. Think of something new and different to try. The floral sticks with decorations are what I went for this year, sometimes I put a snowman on top, I've also seen snowmen hats as toppers. And angels are always good, of course.

Then cover as much of the tree as you can with ornaments! Don't make them look all alike and don't try to make a pattern on your tree! Just randomly place them all over the place. For you type A people out there, I know this is hard, but YOU CAN DO IT!!


Then, turn out all the lights, light some forest or pine-scented candles and stare at it all night long! Or you can play a little NBA Wii (see above pic).
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10 comments:

  1. No pattern?? Random ornaments? Are you crazy? I don't think I can handle it, but I will try the squinting trick...

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  2. I've been coming by your blog, but never commenting. Love your blog! I'm a mama to an only child, a 2 1/2 year old boy. I love your son's name. He is a cutie!

    Your tree is so pretty. I have a glass pickle ornament on ours, heard that is good luck as well. I have not been able to find anything for our topper, I might copy you on the decorated sticks. I stood at the store for the longest time the other day and all of the toppers were yuck.

    have a good evening!
    nicolle in texas

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  3. Beautiful...and snowmen make my heart sing! This may be the inspiration I need. I'm having a very hard time this year getting into the Christmas spirit. I do have my two artifical prelit trees in urns up and plugged in. But that's about it. I was going to give myself an A+ for effort and leave it at that. But I may go for some randomly placed ornaments. Thanks for the tips and the beautiful photos!

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  4. Just beautiful...love all the different colors and that it's not just one theme or texture, makes it so unique and that only adds to the beauty of it. I too, have a huge amount of ornaments, that I've collected since one month after I got married, so some are 34 years old. When it goes up, my family and I see nothing but memories. I hope that yours has that same wonderful meaning for you and your beautiful family. Great job!!!!

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  5. What about that Christmas card with Walker at the beach? I sent an e-mail with my pic. That first one with him holding the balloons high is just perfect.

    Merry Christmas!! Will we see you soon,like on the 12th at grandma's house?

    I can read and enjoy your blog but I don't do facebook.

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  6. Hey girl! Love the tips ... especially the putting lights on with your spouse tip. That is SO TRUE ... ask my husband! :) (I'm still pondering the spider web ornament ... you may have to do a follow up post on this one to explain!) Thanks for stopping by and celebrating our birthday today!!! Cheers!
    Stephanie

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  7. You - Wendy Woodall - are wonderful! I love this posting! My beloved and I have almost headed to divorce court many a time over tree lights. One year my lights frustrated me so much I just took the scissors and cut them all off! I find a good bottle of Chardonnay makes tree trimming so much nicer!
    HA! Holley

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  8. YAY! someone else who knows the squinting technique. that is totally how i find all the gaps. what a beautiful tree. i love it!

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  9. Stopping by from Nie Nie's show and tell. Beautiful tree! Love the topper!

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  10. Laughed when I read your comment about stringing the lights by yourself. Right now, I have a half-finished christmas tree that has been that way for several days now. I tried to space out the lights to make sure there was enough to cover the entire tree....but the husband insisted that I string them closer together. Surprise Surprise when I ran out of lights two thirds of the way up the tree.

    After seeing your tree so festive, I am again motivated to pull everything off and start again! I can also laugh about it now...another holiday memory :)

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