Size Does Not Matter!  It’s the Love You Put Into It!

“Oh Christmas Tree, How Lovely Are Your Branches”

In our household, we’ve had many trees, all shapes, sizes and varieties—real and artificial.  

We just love the smell of a real tree, the pine scents filling the house.  But we gave up on the real ones after one too many incidents.  One we had to tie to the wall and ceiling because the trunk was cut too short.  

Another was a beautiful fresh noble fir purchased near our home in Portland, Oregon.  Simple to drag into the house, but after drying out was an absolute nightmare getting out the front door and down the walkway.  More needles fell off the tree than were on it originally.  HaHa.  We were finding needles for months afterward.  

Then there was “the death of Christmas.”  One year my husband was traveling on business so I wanted to surprise him.  Hopped into my big Suburban and off I went to buy the largest tree I could handle myself.  Found one, but it had a bend in the trunk and I had to drag it all over the house to stand it straight.  Finally found a space, decorated it and later that night I heard a crash.  Where the trunk was bent it snapped in half destroying not only the tree but all the ornaments.  Start over!

At the end of the day, as you can imagine, no more real Christmas trees for us.  I’m glad to have shared a few of our stories, yet I’m sure there are thousands more funnies out there about Christmas tree tales…. Now we use Balsam scented spray to get the full effect of a real tree.   

At one time, we had a large 6000 square foot home located in Portland, Oregon.  A fabulous craftsman style with high vaulted ceilings.  I considered it a perfect place to decorate more than one tree, in fact I had 14 of them scattered throughout.  During the holidays we entertained all the time where the guests would pick their favorite and enter them in our local contests.  I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an expert on how to decorate a Christmas tree, but I do happen to have a bit of experience and want to share it in this blog.  Here are my favorite tips how to transform your trees to FABULOUS, whether they be real or artificial.  

One of 14 trees from our Portland home.

Tinsel is Back.  But be careful, if your tree is artificial, it’s difficult to remove before you store for the next year.  You might just wind up with crinkled tinsel stuck in the branches ready to be unleashed in 2023.  Oh, the clean-up is truly messy.  

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  If your tree is especially sparse, use artificial or cut greens to fill in the empty spaces.  Then follow up with large ribbons, they can be your best friend to help fill those spots.

Collections.  Over the past 38 years we have collected various ornaments that we order each season and now have enough to fill several trees.  Here is one using Goebel Angels (a smaller tabletop) and another (a 7’ with flocking) with special crystal ornaments handmade by Baccarat.  Use your collections to make your favorite tree sparkle.

We now have enough Goebel angels to fill a small tree. It’s a place of honor.
Our flocked tree with Pottery Barn mercury glass and our collection of Baccarat crystal. Notice the Santa waiting for presents to be delivered.

Toppers.  Hey, get out of the rut.  You do not need to use the mundane, old-style star, instead go wild with your imagination by using different twigs, flowered leaves, and even an elf.

Throw some whimsy atop your tree.

Color Theme.  They don’t have to be all red as days of old.  Remember the old multi-colored bubble lights.  While I prefer to have one color theme per tree, go with a traditional red if you like, then for your other trees try colors of copper, white, green, blue and silver.  I have even used shades of lime green mixed with various reds. 

Our copper ornaments collected after Christmas sales.

Unusual Ornaments.  Think outside the box.  One of the trees we had in Portland was decorated with flyfishing ornaments, another with miniature model trains, and others with dove and pheasant feathers.  

From our Portland home, think differently about your decorations. These are balls with pheasant feathers mixed with silver ornaments and pine cones.

Foreign Countries.  I also like to mix trees with decorations from another country.  I’ve always loved the ornaments from India.

This is our collection of ornaments from India. How stunning.

The Skirt.  If you don’t have the perfect skirt, you can use a throw, a heavier tablecloth, a quilt or even a blanket of artificial snow.  Once the presents go under the tree, the skirt is covered up anyway.  Also, I love standing a whimsical Santa by the base of the tree.

Sourcing the Tree.  Of course, there is the proverbial Home Depot, Lowes, Big Lots, Menards et al for your favorite artificial tree, and the countless garden centers and parking lots that have been converted to a Christmas tree extravaganza for the real thing.  If you choose a real tree, be sure to have a fresh cut at the base and keep plenty of water in the basin to help prevent them from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.  One time, I helped a good friend pull a tree out of the trash, fluffed it up, stood it in her kitchen nook and made it look like a $$million bucks$$.  Garage sales are also a great place for great finds, not only for used trees but light and ornaments, as well.

This is tree salvaged from the trash. Can you believe it. This is someone’s trash but another’s treasure.

Helping a Friend.  Afterall, it is Christmas.  Every year I help elderly friends and neighbors, who are just overwhelmed with the holidays or incapable due to health issues, decorate both their exterior and indoor tree.  One neighbor is 89 and does pretty well, except for the knees.  So there I am decorating while she sits nearby drinking a toddy shouting directions, just kidding.  OK, it is fun for both of us and I really feel good about myself for helping someone who has difficulty helping for themselves.  Isn’t that the true spirit of the holidays.

Kid’s and Grandkid’s Rooms.  If your family is coming for the holidays and you have the space, make sure you decorate their room(s) with a tree, regardless of its size.  Make them feel welcome, and you might even want to put a small token package under the tree just to add to the excitement.

Make your grandchildren and guests feel special.

After Christmas Sales.  I am a big supporter because that’s how I’ve collected most of my ornaments and miscellaneous decorations.  I will buy for a specific tree, and why not, sometimes they are on sale at 75% off.  

My Favorite Mantra.  If it doesn’t move, decorate it.  As you can see, I broke my own rule.  She was such a willing participant.  Simply beautiful.  

Even if it moves, decorate it. Bring some joy to people in nursing homes, hospitals or those who are house-bound.

Storage.  One last consideration.  Now that you have your artificial trees you need to find a place to store them along with all your wonderful ornaments.  We purchased storage bags for all our artificial trees and they work just great, some even come with wheels for easy maneuvering.  

“May the light of the season fill your heart and your home with joy and peace”

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