Let’s talk about your Christmas Tree.
The Christmas Tree conundrum Real vs Fake
For most of my life I had a real Christmas tree. I was an artificial tree hater! Getting a Christmas tree was a family event when I was very small. The whole family would get dressed in our winter attire, and head to the bush to find that perfect tree. My Mom always did a good job of decorating our trees. Of course I mean as nice as they could be cut from the bush and back in the olden days 😉 I’m not talking cultured Christmas trees. No, this was before that.
Old School Christmas Trees
Ah, back in the dark ages, when they lights were huge, hot and a major fire hazard. Trees were covered in tinsel… What ever happened to tinsel?? Hmmm, apparently it still existss. Or angel hair Does anybody remember angel hair?! Didn’t that stuff end up being asbestos? Or how about those little metal reflectors that you put around your lights. Oh, man so many retro tree decorations I could get into 🙂
I kind of wish I had kept more of my grandparents ornaments. One grandmother had these super cute little glass coffee and tea pots. And my other grandma always had ornaments like these teardrop shaped ones below, that they still make in a vintage version.
When I first moved out on my own, I went out hunting for my first “grown-up” Christmas tree. I drove all over town looking for the right tree. Eventually, I found this little pine tree in the middle of a field, off a back road. So, I went back later on at night, and cut it down with a serrated bread knife. And I can tell you that cutting down a tree with a bread knife, even a serrated bread knife is not an easy task. It was a sad little Charlie Brown tree. The hilarious part was that I simply did not know that you could actually BUY cut live Christmas trees. For some reason, I assumed that people who had real trees, cut their own. , had I known there was such a thing – I totally would have just bought one! Me thinks that I probably cut down someone’s tree!!! To whoever owned that piece of property where I cut down my tree – I’m so sorry! And here it is in all of it’s Peanuts inspired glory –
For many more years, I continued to buy my cut trees from actual Christmas tree lots. Guaranteed that the lot guys hated to see me coming because I made them hold and then spin pretty much every tree on the lot. I’m not kidding. I’m pretty certain that they tried to hide when they saw me coming. Always in search of the perfect Christmas tree…
Then I moved from a house to a condo., where I had pretty limited space. Instead of getting a full sized tree I opted for 2 smaller artificial trees in containers, that flanked each side of my TV wall. I still have these little trees, and now they are doing duty outside. I painted the containers the same colour as the front door. Who knows they may still get another makeover. I’m considering replacing them soon.
My plan was to replace them with these really fabulous nutcrackers, which are 4″ tall!! But after I bought them, I saw that they were not meant to be outside. So, they are staying inside.They were frighteningly expensive. But they are really gorgeous.
When I decided to switch back from my mini trees to a full size tree, I opted for an artificial tree for a few reasons:
My tree won’t die before Christmas day
My cat feels less inclined (only slightly) to climb it, eat it or pee underneath it
I can put it up and take it down whenever I want
I don’t’ have to go tree shopping first
It’s not a fire hazard
And the number one reason that I prefer my artificial tree:
Because I spent years searching tree lots for a perfectly symmetrical tree. An artificial tree is so much closer to perfection !
So if you are looking for that perfect tree, then you need an artificial tree
I generally decorate my tree in a monochromatic colour scheme. And I like to change it up every year or two. Start by buying one of those large containers of plastic ornaments in whatever colour you’re working with. In the past, I have done hot pink and teal. And even once tried lime green, but they just don’t pop on a green tree, these would work much better on a white Christmas tree For my 7′ tall tree (the one below) I use a 100 piece container of plastic ornaments.
Here is a quick overview of my tree decorating technique.
Here is my naked little tree. I bought this tree about 10 years ago at Walmart. It’s served me well. But now the lights are starting to go, so I’m going to upgrade it this year. I just need to find the right one. I need a LOT of lights. Also I prefer the fake trees that look less like cones and more like they are actually trying to emulate real trees. More like these ones. And yes the fact that I’m looking for a more REAL looking FAKE tree is not lost on me 🙂
My tree is pre-lit. I have never been a fan of putting lights on a tree. But I like a LOT of lights. So, I added in a couple of strings of mini lights to mine. Since the tree is already pre-lit. you can just tuck them into the interior of the tree. But last year a lot of my lights started dying off. Seems like there is no point in having a pre-lit tree if you have to add lights to it. This time around I think no less than 1000 lights!!
Ribbon is the modern day garland. I usually use at least 2 different styles or colours of ribbon. For my blue tree I used blue glitter and silver irridescent. . Wired ribbon works best for this I always cut my ribbon into manageable pieces. The swirly ribbon below I have in pink, really pretty ribbon. The translucent ribbon is really pretty when the lights shine through.
These spools were only 6ft long. So I just cut them in half. I usually cut the ribbon in pieces anywhere from 3′ to 10′, depending on where I am placing it. Just tuck them around the tree, twisting them a bit so your tree doesn’t look like it’s been bound and gagged;-) It’s best to do the ribbon before you put on ornaments, but you can add it after if you have to because it’s manageable. Also, I find sometimes it helps to turn off the tree lights, when you are placing the ribbon , so that you can see the distribution of the ribbon more clearly.
There is a lot of colour selection for ornaments, and I really like to switch mine up from year to year. I would really love to add a second tree, If I can find a place for it 🙂 If you use a large containers of ball ornaments, it really helps to keep your design cohesive and clean. Some things I love are very shiny mirrored finishes that reflect light. I also have a real soft spot for tear drop style ornaments, which remind of my Grandmother’s tree. I usually add some of these to my tree. Don’t just decorate the outside of your tree. Decorate the inside too! It gives so much more depth. That is why I add extra lights to the inside of my tree.
As ribbon is the new garland. Icicles are the modern tinsel. I think these are so pretty! And just the right amount of “drip” to your tree. You can get them in a multitude of colours, I have some clear ones from a few years back that I really like as well as frosted. I usually keep these in clear and white, regardless of what colour I do the tree.
Check out all of these ones
Then of course add presents. If you wanted to be super uptight, you could even do your gifts in coordinated wrap! I can do that, because I buy all of the wrapping paper. It really does help to make everything more cohesive.
Tips and Tricks
Hang decorations inside the tree as well as out
Use the lights to reflect off of shiny ornaments
If ornaments are too high, double up on hangers
If ornaments too low, bend the hanger
Keep standing back to view the overall tree
Turn off the tree lights to reassess distribution of decorations.
Hang decoratons straight (unlike the photo below! oops!)
If a branch is in your way move it. They bend. Have you seen a tree where all the decorations are laying on the outside of the tree? It looks so much nicer if things are hanging straight.
And there you have it.
Now go decorate your tree, if you haven’t already. Real or fake, doesn’t matter, so long as you enjoy the people that you are hanging out with around it!!
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