Let’s talk Christmas trees. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of Andrew Albertson’s trees. They are absolutely gorgeous, right? Let’s face it, that man knows how to decorate. Want to do the same in your own home? Wonderful! In order to do it, you have to have more than one tree and your best bet is to hit the after-Christmas sales when they go 50-90% off. As far as trees go, the sky is the limit. You can find pre-lit, multi-color, all white, incandescent, LED, white, silver, green, the other green or just about any type/size that you could possibly want. Some of us even have trees that form an arch, or spiral trees, silver trees, even black trees. Not sure I get the black tree idea, but to each their own. You can even get trees made with feathers.
OK, you’ve decided how many trees you want along with the time and decorations to get-er-done. Where are you going to put them, what type of ornaments do you want to use and how big of a tree will fit in the space? If you’re like some of us really serious decorators, you will move furniture and even a wall to make room.
Make sure the decorations are staged so aren’t in the way of people and animals. There is absolutely nothing worse than completing your vision and having a pet or absent minded child/adult come along and knock something over. What a great way to lose one-of-a-kind ornaments. With some planning you can keep the people, pets and decorations safe from each other.
Have you thought about a theme for your trees? How about a Santa and toy tree like in the picture? It has 750 ornaments and took over six hours to decorate. You don’t need to tell me some of us are really obsessed when it comes to decorating a tree. Find a theme or color scheme you like and go for it. Can’t make up your mind? Why not create an old fashioned, traditional, anything goes tree? Remember the ones in the old family pictures from when your parents were little, or if you are older than dirt, like me, when you were a child? We all know it’s really hard to have an UGLY Christmas tree. Even Charlie Brown managed to have one we all loved.
Do you want to involve the children? Have them make ornaments. Just get some styrofoam balls in a variety of sizes, some glue, glitter, ribbon and a few straight pins so they can be creative. Another great idea is the paper garland we all made in kindergarten using construction paper, glue, and a pair of scissors. You might even consider making garland by stringing popcorn or whole cranberries with a needle and strong thread. Making the decorations for a kid friendly tree is a great way to share the fun and spend some quality family time with the young ones. The memories, as well as the ornaments, will last a long time. Try it, you might like it and I can guarantee they will love it. Besides, they will be really proud of themselves and you don’t have to worry about anything getting broken. This type of tree also serves as a great place to put all those ornaments made at school since they deserve a special place on a special tree.
Not into old fashioned, hand made ornaments and garland? Don’t worry; there are literally thousands of ornament options available in every color, style or theme you can imagine. Wonder the stores and you’ll see great ideas.
How you light the tree is totally up to you. Some prefer the primary lights to be the very traditional Christmas colors of red, green and/or white lights. Others will only use multi-colored lights, twinkling and/or chasing lights.
How about bubble lights from the 40’s and 50’s? They are still available and add a great old-fashioned charm to the tree. Be very careful though, the bubble lights do get hot, so if you have little ones, keep them out of reach.
Always put the primary lights on your tree first. Don’t want to have to worry about this part of the set up? Buy a pre-lit tree where the mini-lights are already installed. Then add your bubble lights or other novelty lighting.
Next comes the garland for your tree. Is it a requirement? Some people like garland and some don’t so losing sleep over it isn’t necessary. For me it depends on the theme and tree. You’ll notice on the arch tree in the picture there is no garland. I never could figure out how to wrap it with garland, same thing with my spiral tree, so I just skipped it which conveniently left more room for the ornaments.
Start with the smallest ornaments near the top; make sure to fill in those gaps, gradually increasing the size of the ornaments as you move towards the bottom. This will provide a nice balance to the tree. Take a look at the trees in the malls and flower shops; you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Got the perfect spot for that ornament in your hand but no place to hang it? That’s one advantage when using artificial trees; you can bend the branches to make room. The disadvantage, you don’t get to take your family to the woods or Christmas tree lot to search for that perfect tree and you definitely don’t get that fresh tree smell, bird nests or critter leftovers.
What happens if you’ve used up all the ornaments but the tree just doesn’t look like it’s finished? Think out of the box and consider flower picks, small packages, silk flowers, dolls, stuffed animals or whatever fits with the theme. I had a bunch of white silk roses left from another project; they became the perfect fillers on my purple, blue, and white spiral tree. Anything goes, it’s your tree.
How about no ornaments at all? Artificial birds are gorgeous. Consider fairies, mostly porcelain, and you’ll have something beautiful. Think about stuffed bears of all sizes, shapes and colors. Try something new, you’ll be surprised at what you can do. Extra trees, regardless of size, go a long way when you are turning your home into YOUR vision of a Christmas fantasyland.
Until next month, happy decorating. Got ideas or thoughts you want to share? Let me know!
From the August 2009 edition of PlanetChristmas Magazine
by Marilyn Caron