Nothing says “Christmas” like a big, beautiful tree. For years, I had a very traditional, family-centered tree. We made an event out of it. First, we’d all go pick out the perfect tree. Next, my husband and I would carefully bring it in the house and let it settle for awhile before we started decorating. He was in charge of lights, I did the garland, and then we’d call the kids in and we’d all do the ornaments. All the while Christmas music would be playing and we’d all be saying loving, kind words to each other and reveling in the Christmas spirit.
Oh, wait! (insert sound of record scratching here) My fantasy got mixed with reality a bit there! Yes, it’s true, we did all have our jobs. And there was music playing. Those loving kind words, though, yikes. Just not the picture perfect scene I had always longed to create. For some reason, hanging those ornaments seemed to bring out the worst in all of us. Without going into all the gory details, let’s just say most years, our happy family tree trimming party ended with me stomping out of the room and everyone else looking at me like I had lost my mind. Some years, I was sure I had!
That all changed last year when I decided to put my professional decorator hat on. I told the kids they didn’t have to help. I let go of my old sappy longings and approached the job like I would a design challenge. It made it much more enjoyable for all of us!
My plan for the tree is still very traditional. My living room colors are gold and red. So my tree is gold and red as well. This makes is very easy. If it’s not gold or red, it’s not going on the tree.
Only thing is, the kids now miss all the homemade and mismatched ornaments from year’s past. I thought I would, too, but honestly, I really don’t. Sure, I still have them all. But they’re not on the tree. I still have all the same sentimental feelings when I open the boxes and see them, but surprisingly, all I need is just a peek at them. I find that I don’t need to look at them for an entire month. It’s kind of like when you’re on a diet…it can be easier to just allow yourself a taste of the ice cream and then put it away. You don’t really need the whole bowl to feel satisfied.
At any rate, I did try to incorporate the old with the new. Each year, I have collected St. Nick ornaments for my son, Nick. And my daughter has gotten a Snow Baby every year. Those ornaments made the cut and are on the tree. I also have gold, heart shaped frames that have Christmas photos of the kids throughout the years. Those stay too. But all other ornaments stay in the box. In my mind, it’s now easier to focus on the ornaments that really matter to us. Here’s some detailed shots: