Friday, December 8, 2006

Time to Trim the Tree!

We put up our Christmas tree this past Saturday. I love it! Every time I turn the lights on and that warm glow fills our living room, for a brief moment I’m an ecstatic little girl again, waiting for Christmas to come!

Two years ago for our first married Christmas together, Doug and I bought a Douglas fir from a local tree farm. We thought that was rather appropriate! In our early marital bliss we vowed that it would be one of our standing Christmas traditions to buy a Douglas fir every year. Last year we got a Scotch pine. This year we have a Fraser fir. What can I say? They were cheaper and better than the Douglas firs we found. So much for that tradition. :)

One tradition that I do like to hold to is the way we decorate our tree—no “themes” allowed! I am not a big fan of Christmas trees that match. By that I mean the lights match the ornaments that match the garland that match the tinsel that match the tree skirt and on and on. They’re nice, but they’re too stiff for my taste. I don’t like “rules” for my Christmas tree! That doesn’t mean I choose clashing colors and obnoxious ornaments. I just like a simple, traditional tree with lots of white lights, an array of brightly colored bulbs, maybe some garland and such, and most importantly lots of ornaments that mean something to us. The ones that spark great memories like the lighthouse from St. Augustine where we got married, or the cute little mouse holding a key for our first house, or the one that says “Coach” from the boys in Doug’s church basketball league. We don’t have a huge amount of these meaningful ornaments yet, but I’m looking forward to growing our collection. And hopefully someday we’ll have kids adding their own handmade creations. (Since I’m pretty sure those won’t match anything, I’ll be ready for them!)

How and when do you decorate your Christmas tree? Do you put it up just before Christmas, or have you had it up since November 1? Maybe somewhere in between? Do you like to do theme trees? Maybe all one color or a patriotic theme? You know what’s great about Christmas trees? There are no rules and no deadlines. Everyone’s different, and that’s okay because you can decorate your tree however and whenever you want!

Unlike Christmas trees that you set your own plan and schedule for, books are planned and scheduled by your editors. It’s a big job to oversee them from start to finish, and every date we set for each step of the process is important. A big, merry thank you to all of you who consistently meet those deadlines! It does not go unnoticed, and we appreciate it so much!


Rhonda said...

I love our tree too JoAnne! I'm like you, I don't have a set theme. We buy ornaments that we like each year, my favorites are the ones my kids made throughout the year. Usually mine goes up Thanksgiving night or the next day. This year, I still don't have it up. A new grandbaby changed the routine this year and I feel blessed! But, when I get home the tree is on the top of my agenda.

Mary Connealy said...

For a few years I had this (I thought) great beautiful 'theme' tree. All white and gold. All the ornaments were angels. Golden length of fabric for a tree skirt. White lights. And it was artificial so I'd leave a branch out right in the belly of the tree and slide this pretty, delicate, white glass trimmed in gold Nativity set into the tree. I even had a large moving angel dressed in white and gold, that I'd sit beside the tree.

I loved it. The kids wanted color.

So we're back to a mix and match tree and my youngest daughter always puts it up, as if she's afraid I'll go berserk and insist on my white/gold/angel theme again.

I'm a big fan of going soon after Christmas and buying a bunch of 50% off ornaments. I've been tempted to do a red/pinecone/plaid ribbon tree sometime, they're really pretty.

The 'baby' graduates from high school this may so one more year and then that tree is MINE!

Cathy West said...

Decorating the tree is the Hallmark of Christmas for me. We make a point of doing it as a family. If we're traveling, we'll use our fake tree, but if not, we get a real one.
I collect ornaments from all over, and try t to buy one wherever we are. I also try to get a new one for the kids every year.
Each year, as we get the boxes out and unwrap our treasures, they bring back cherished memories! Some of them are cheesy, like my black and white cow with the Vermont sign around her neck, or Mickey Mouse on skis...but they still evoke memories of the places we've been as a family. Others remind us of the different stages in our lives, like Baby's First Christmas, the handmade ornaments from the kids preschool days, the basketball player...
I now have precious ornaments from places I have been to with my new found sister, and she will hang the same ones on her tree!
When all is said and done, our tree is colorful, pretty to look at, but filled with meaning one might miss if they did not look closely.
My tree tells a story.

JoAnne said...

Thanks for your comments, Rhonda, Mary, and Cathy. I loved reading about your trees and traditions. It's fun to know what other families do. :) Merry Christmas!!!

The Write Life said...
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Paige Dooly said...

We've had artificial trees the past few years. This year, we put up our tree on Thanksgiving as usual, but our two new kittens promptly knocked it over.

We propped the pathetic thing back up, branches bent and gaping, and they knocked it over again, breaking the stand. Dh bought a new stand. They still knocked it over, this time breaking a few branches. Dh contemplated a way to solidfy it by attaching it to the wall, and I was seeing in my mind this massive industrial equipment that would be required to keep these two cats from doing it yet again!

They had done their damage and it rivaled Charlie Brown's tree. Yesterday, our sixteen year old son decided to take his two younger sisters and pick out a real tree! It's gorgeous, and they decorated it with our random but treasured ornaments.

I've missed our real trees!

Today he went out and bought a new artificial tree for his girlfriend and her dad. They just moved and don't have money for a tree. He went into their house, set it up and is waiting for them to get home and discover their "surprise".

I can't wait to hear how they liked it.


Cara Putman said...

We usually set up our trees the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because we usually host a couple holiday parties and travel the week of Christmas, it has to go up then or it doesn't feel worth the effort.

We have a small tree that goes in the upstairs landing. It's dedicated to the kids ornaments and they can decorate as they wish. Hopefully, they'll leave the other tree alone then :-)

The big tree is downstairs, this year in the dining room. I tend to be a bit more themed on that one. Red bows with white lights and a snowy crotcheted garland one year. Maybe silver bows and purple lights the next year. The ornaments tend to be nice and breakable at the top. Our White House ornaments from when we lived in DC, and then a hodge-podge of other ornaments.

I love Christmas and the decorating! But I love the reason behind the season even more.