Decorating the Christmas Tree: A Little Thing I Love

Decorating the Christmas Tree: A Little Thing I Love

Decorating the Christmas Tree: A Little Thing I Love


We set up our tree on Friday.

Typically, for us, that’s what the day after Thanksgiving is all about. That, and eating leftovers.

I cherish the annual tradition and the family time that comes with decorating the tree.

My three strong guys heft up all of the boxes from the basement storage room, and the process begins. (Have I mentioned that I adore having three strong guys at my disposal?)

As we disassemble the tree every January, we smash down the fake, wired branches to fit into giant plastic tubs, only to pull them out of the box and have to “fluff up” each limb come the next November. (Note to self: spring for a few larger boxes, for goodness sakes, to eliminate all of the unnecessary “fluffage”.)

After the tree is up, Logan strings the lights – his mathematical brain positioning each bulb in its precise position. Once upon a time, when I was in charge of this task, my method of “heave and hurl” was much less effective. I would literally take a strand of lights and launch the free end up and over the tree, hoping upon hope that it somehow managed to position itself in a pleasing pattern. My hopes were often dashed.

After the lights are in place, Spence and I loop long strands of gold beads all around the front of the tree. Up and down and up again. There are no rules. We just follow our hearts. A longer loop here, a shorter loop there. It all comes together in the end. Spence is super artistic. He has a good eye and knows what looks good. The other night, he brought his sketch pad down to show me what he had been working on up in his room, and wondered what I thought. What do I think? I think this is fantastic, particularly for a 12-year-old!

Decorating the Christmas Tree: Spencer's sketch is super!


Back to the trimming . . .

By and by, we secure the ends of a dozen red ribbons and let them cascade down the front of the tree however they so choose, tucking in the far end once the ribbon has unfurled. They’re not specially purchased material. Just wired ribbon that I rescued from unwrapped packages one Christmas that owe their flowing waves to being curled up in a ball in a storage box for 11 months of the year.

And finally, the ornaments go on.

I remember our first tree as a married couple almost thirty years ago now. We had very little money, but I was determined to make our little tree as festive as could be. I bought inexpensive red silk roses and carnations, red ribbons, gold tinsel, and white lights. Despite its diminutive size and simplicity, to us, the tree was magical.

We’ve continued with the red and gold theme throughout the years to keep that magic alive.

We don’t have particularly expensive ornaments. Many were gifts. Each retains its special memory of how it came to reside with us.

There are the handcrafted gems bearing photos of youngsters with whom I used to cuddle.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: Handcrafted ornaments


And then we have a menagerie of ornaments that remind us of our travels throughout the years.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: Ornaments from our travels.


My beloved childhood Samoyed, Ivan, joins the party immortalized in baked dough by an artistic aunt, cracked and worn from years of use, but cherished beyond reason.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: My old pet, Ivan, the Samoyed.


Ornaments that speak to our hobbies and passions are tucked in here and there.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: A groovy sax jamming reindeer for my two sax crazy kids


Spencer’s transportation center abounds: bikes, boats, cars, trains, and planes, that all used to be hung on the bottom of the tree in order to entertain him for hours as he and Santa took off on imaginary trips across snowy roads and icy seas.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: Spencer's transportation ornaments


The lucky pickle is tucked deep within the branches of the tree to bestow a year of good luck upon whomever first discovers it.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: The lucky pickle waiting to be discovered


A line up of blown glass beauties take center stage every year.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: Blown glass orbs take center stage


Tiny glass droplets of molten Christmas drip off the tips of the branches.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: The final touch


And a lone, 30-year-old silk rose reminds us of that first Christmas where we learned that money isn’t the magic ticket.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: The last of our original silk roses. Cost a penny, but worth a million.


But rather, love is.

Decorating the Christmas Tree: The boys 10 Christmases ago. My, how they've changed!

Decorating the Christmas Tree: O Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches!


O’ Christmas Tree, how lovely are thy branches!

Merry Christmas!


Written by Becky


  • Patty from MMC says:

    Your tree is lovely! Loved the stories behind the ornaments. I have to buy a new tree this year – my prelit Hobby Lobby tree lost a whole bunch of lights during the first year I had it – the remaining ones died last year. (Tree was 2 Christmases old) So much for the quality of Hobby Lobby trees!!! I am buying one at Costco this week, using my refund from my Amex-card-Costco-shopping to soften the blow of such a big purchase. Tree should be up by the weekend

  • Lisa says:

    Your tree is beautiful! I enjoyed reading about your tree trimming family tradition. Sounds similar to ours. We cut our tree down the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, depending on the weather. Like yours, our tree decorations tell our story: places we’ve been, things that we’ve loved, snapshots of time memorialized with dyed dry macaroni and gold ribbons, time making gifts, and more. I love the sharing of memories each year as the kids place their ornaments on the tree.

    • Lisa says:

      ^time marking, not making.

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Lisa. I love unwrapping the tissue paper to reveal an ornament and all of the cherished memories that go along with it. I also really miss a having a real tree like you do, Lisa. There’s nothing that says Christmas more than the fresh pine scent. We’re just so unhandy, that, try as we might, we’ve had two real trees topple right over . . . fully-decorated. And one was 15 feet tall! An artificial tree is the duller yet safer route for us. Hmm, perhaps some pine-scented room freshener is the way to go. 🙂

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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