In my world of design, decorating a Christmas tree can take on a life of its own.  You can virtually spend as much or as little on the tree and decorations as you wish.  The high end of the price range will most likely involve very expensive ornaments, such as hand-blown mercury glass, carefully wrapped pheasant feathers, silk ribbons, to name a few, where costs can easily range from $1000 – $5000 per tree, depending on its size.  Then you need to  select the type of tree, either a real conifer or something artificial, but then you have that same choice at the lower end of the spectrum, as well.  At the lower end of the price curve, the adornment is obviously a bit easier to come by, and a whole lot less expensive.  And herein lies the fundamental problem, how do you decorate Christmas trees, or wreaths, or swags, or table settings, or mantles without them looking ‘tacky’ even when you’re on a budget.  It’s always my goal to stay away from tacky, whether it’s for a client, a neighbor, or my own home, because it means just getting by, or settling for the run-of-the-mill, neither of which are in my vocabulary.

Over the years I have decorated trees spanning the entire price and design spectrum, but my goal in this blog is to show you how elegant a tree can look with simple designs and various forms of ornaments and fillers that are readily available and not costly.   Here are a couple of examples of my creations, please note the captions as they explain the design.

This first tree is artificial, it’s 6 foot, it comes with lights and flocking (which can be somewhat messy), and I’ve been using it now for several years.  It was a Walmart special for $79.  It’s been packed away in my storage unit in its own bag and is readily unfolded and assembled, and as you can see, it’s held up well.  The first photo shows the tree with all of the decorations purchased from Hobby Lobby, except for the ribbon which is from Costco (the same ribbon I used on my wreath from a previous blog—it’s an enormous bolt).  The style of this tree is graceful, contoured and full of beauty—personally, I think the ribbon made it.  This tree would fit in famously in your home or anyone else’s for the entire month of December, with plenty of room at the bottom for all those presents.

And then, I decided to take one extra step.  My BoomerGuy and I have been collecting Baccarat Christmas ornaments for 35 years, one each year in November as part of our Christmas gift, and I thought they would be a great complement to the already decorated branches and tree.  Please, in no way am I suggesting you follow this because Baccarat can be somewhat expensive, but I wanted you to see how these small crystals can transform a tree into something even more elegant.  

So, sorry, they are really hard to see in this photograph, but there are 35 of these little crystal goodies hanging on every available branch
Here’s a close up of several Baccarat ornaments hung on the tree…each one is signed and dated

Alright, let’s get back to basics.  This next tree is my $4 special which I uncovered at a local garage sale this past summer.  Yeah, July is the best time of the year to buy Christmas supplies.  Admittedly, the ornaments cost slightly more than the tree, but what a wonderful addition to an end table to spruce up a living room.  Even with the price, it’s not tacky in the slightest, but gives off a warm glow with the multi-colored balls matching the colored lights.  I believe this tree is all in for about $24.00.  

My friend, Pat, who lives across the street, asked if I could help decorate her house.  You simply can’t believe how many times I get asked to “help” with a decorating project, normally pro bono.  One day while biking through the neighborhood, I spotted a tree stuck upside down in a large trash can along the street.  I raced home, got Pat, and we drove back to the tree and plucked it out of the trash.  We fluffed it up and immediately noticed it was missing the top 1/3rd.  Oh my.  So, what do two enterprising ladies do when confronted with a problem—go to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot.  We found a small tree topper, filler swags and additional lights that we thought might just be perfect and they were, bought them, brought them home, and began to do surgery to place both parts together.  The neighbor next door to Pat said, “you will never get it to work.”  WRONG!  We not only got the top part to fit, but it fit perfectly and this is the result.  It’s stunning, and sets off her kitchen and dining area with so much simple elegance.

The very free, dumpster tree with a new top and lights–I can dress up anything

And we’re not done with Pat.  After we finished this first tree, guess what, she showed up with another for her living room.  Of course I love to decorate and share with friends, so after we emptied the boxes of ornaments I began another decorating endeavor, the likes of which you see here.  Another majestic addition to her home.  

All bent and gnarly out of the box, it fluffed up pretty well with new ornaments and ribbon

I really felt good about helping her because after Thanksgiving she left for Houston to visit her daughter and family.  When she returned several days ago, her home wasn’t empty, it was filled with trees of Christmas joy and all she had to do was flip on the lights.  

My dear friend in the Pacific Northwest was feeling humbug this year due to a tragic event in her life.  After getting a dose of my design ideas, she jumped into it and decorated her house with trees, garland and wreaths.  She feels so much happier and festive.  Amazing what the little twinkle lights do inside a home—they turn it into a fantasy land, day or night.

Once again, in my case, in anticipation of all the relatives coming to visit, I had to do more with less because it’s my parent’s house.  The key here is bringing more design into the home than just the trees.  Here are several examples of very clean and uncomplicated additions to round-out a tasteful Christmas spirit.  

Deer with lights and snow (fake of course) accenting the fireplace
A simple, but effective way to decorate your fireplace mantel
I’ve shared this with you in one of my previous blogs, but it is such a statement piece that truly complements the dining room, equipped with timer lights and a very strong suction hanger
Essential Rae Dunn pillows to accentuate any room in the house, with just the right amount of color

I’ve had such joy bringing you these ideas.  Again, my objective is show you how to decorate simply yet effectively, making your design fit within your budget and give you an outstanding end-product for you and your family and friends to enjoy.  I guarantee you, they will give a “wow” and “thumbs up” salute to your Boomer style.  And, I don’t mind if you copy my ideas, because that would be the sincerest compliment I could receive.  So copy away!

I am Connie, your BoomerGal wishing you a Happy Holiday, and…


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