Friday, December 7, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

I mentioned last week (here) that I created a list of things that needed to be done in December.  I'm trying to have as stress-free a holiday season as possible, and I'm a list girl.  So, here's where we're at.

Here's what December looks like for us:
December 1st - Breakfast with Santa at a work colleague's house  This was fun, and Madeleine had a blast!
December 6th - St. Nick's  We remembered!!
December 9th - Cookie Exchange party at a friend's Changing to Brother-in-Law's going away party - Bill's little brother joined the Air Force and is about to head out to Basic Training.
December 13th - Holiday Open House at my office  We decided we're not going to attend this one.  Remember, sometimes its okay to decline an invitation!  I consistently have to remind myself of this.
December 24th - Christmas Eve at our house with my family visiting
December 25th - Christmas at my mother-in-law's

In addition, this is what needs to be done:
- Bring Madeleine to see Santa
- Buy Christmas Tree
- Decorate for Christmas (tree, interior, exterior)
- Christmas Shopping (We have 20 people to buy for!)
- Christmas Eve Meal - Plan / Buy Ingredients / Make
- Christmas Cookies - Plan / Buy Ingredients / Make
- Wrap Christmas presents (make sure I have boxes, paper, and bows)
- Attend mass (last year we missed this due to an urgent care visit with Madeleine on Christmas Day)
- Christmas Cards - Create / Buy / Mail-out
- Mail Christmas gifts to out-of-town family
- Clean the house for Christmas Eve

Yes, the holiday decorations are all up.  I know I'm a little wordy, so I'm going to designate a post each to the tree, interior, and exterior.  Today we'll focus on the tree!

I mentioned here we went with a fake tree this year, and I'll confess that I genuinely like it.  I still think we should get a real one sometimes, as I have such fond memories of getting all bundled up and picking out a tree with my dad and sisters (for some reason my mom never came with us - go figure).  We always just went to the Christmas tree lot located on the tennis courts of a local park, but it was fun.  It was our tradition.  I'd like Madeleine and her little brother (to be named later) to experience that as well. 

I know a few people who actually cut down there own tree every year.  I think that would be awesome to try sometime.  You also can't beat the smell of real trees, but I suppose that can be easily duplicated by a scented candle.

But back to our tree...I'm liking the fake tree.  It was so simple to put together, and I love that it is basically perfectly symmetrical.  Also, as we were hanging ornaments, we could manipulate branches if needed to make room for longer/bigger ornaments.

Here's the finished product...
We bought a tree without lights, as I like to use the big C7 colored bulbs.  So, after we put the tree together, Bill strung the lights.  When Madeleine woke up from her nap, we got to decorating.  Oh, and we also put the movie Elf on while we decorated.  That has become a little tradition that Bill and I started.  It's such a great holiday movie.

Most of the ornaments are mine.  Bill has a small box of Hallmark ornaments and homemade ones from his childhood, but other than that they're all mine.  My mom, little sister, and myself are all sort of obsessed with ornaments.  Our favorites are the Old World Christmas ones.  They are very shiny and glittery; most have nothing to do Christmas, but I love them.  I have a number of Hallmark ornaments, and also tend to pick up ornaments when I travel to commemorate a trip.  Here's my buffalo I picked up when Bill and I went to South Dakota.
Madeleine did really well with the ornaments.  Her job was mostly carrying them between myself (who was unwrapping them) and Bill (who was hanging them).  She lost interest after a bit though, so Bill and I just finished it up while she played. 

There are plenty of breakable ones at her level as well.  I just told her not to touch them, and she's been good about it so far.  The only ones that have really interested her is a group of Hallmark ones I have shaped like Disney characters.  Mouse and Duck are new words for her, so she likes to point to Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy and say either "mouse" or "duck".
Once all the ornaments were up I had to think a bit about how to finish it up.  I've always used icicle tinsel on my trees (you know the kind that comes in hundreds of little strands and you sort of throw on the tree).  That's what we always did growing up, and it just makes everything so shiny and glittery.  The's hard to remove.  With a real tree you can just throw the stray strands away with the tree, but with a fake one I would have to remove each individual strand.   So, I wasn't quite sure how to finish things off for this tree.  I toyed with the idea of wrapping ribbon around it or adding bows here and there, but ended up getting gold beaded garland at Target instead.  As this is a first for me, it seemed like the easiest material to work with.

I'll admit it looks a little weird to me.  Usually they are just covered in tinsel, so it's strange to see so much green. 

This was a good exercise for me though.  Let's just say I like things how I like them, and am not always open to change.  I will admit though that I have always secretly wanted to try a theme tree with coordinating ornaments in one color scheme.  So, maybe next year I'll try that.  It would be fun to decide as a family what color scheme to go with each year.  Maybe that will be our new tradition.

And just so you don't have to scroll back to the's the tree one more time, and once with the lights off to show it off lighted up!
How do you guys decorate your tree?  Is it the same year to year, or do you go the theme route.  We actually came "this" close to buying a white tree, but I decided on this one as I figured we would get more use out of it.  I have secretely always wanted to do a white christmas tree with blue/silver ornaments.

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