Well…Christmas is officially behind us. Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations are through, and the gift unwrapping madness (that occurs when you spend Christmas morning with a small child) is finally complete, I’ve had a chance to sit back and enjoy the beautiful and peaceful glow of our Christmas tree!
There is nothing better than kicking back with a glass of Egg Nog (perhaps spiked Egg Nog, after a long, toddler-filled day), turning the lights down low, and basking in the colorful ambiance created by all of those sparkly lights on your Christmas tree.
As I sit here and enjoy the now stress-free holiday atmosphere, and gaze upon all of the ornaments gracing the limbs of our tree…I found myself wondering about everyone’s Christmas tree traditions.
Do you prefer the presence and aroma of a real tree, or do you go the cost-effective and convenient route – with an artificial tree? Are you strictly a white-lights-only Christmas tree decorator, or do you like the bright pops of red, green, pink, blue, and orange?
When it comes to ornaments…do you decorate with color-coordinated and sparkly baubles, or do you shower the tree with DIY ornaments that your family has lovingly crafted? Do you have any family heirloom ornaments? How about some ornaments that you (or your partner) made when they were a child? And what are your favorite tree toppers?
Does your Christmas tree have a theme? Do you decorate more than one tree?
It seems that when it comes to Christmas trees, the options are endless…and everyone has their own traditions that they follow on how best to decorate the centerpiece of the season.
I’ve seen beautiful trees adorned in all white everything (lights, ornaments, and even beautiful white ribbons with messages of holiday cheer). I’ve seen the trees that have so many lights and ornaments that you can no longer see the actual tree underneath (you know the ones)…it always leaves me wondering how they even hang all those ornaments…let alone get them to stay in place. It’s pretty clear that these people do not live with toddlers!
Side Note: In case you are wondering if it is even possible to have a Christmas tree and a toddler at the same time (as I often wondered), check out this post: http://capturingparenthood.com/christmas-trees-toddlers-can/.
I distinctly remember visiting my grandparents for Christmas and wondering how on earth they decorated their tree…not because they had too many ornaments, but because they covered the tree in spun glass angel hair and they would make a circle of hair around each and every light bulb. It always looked beautiful and I have never seen another Christmas tree decorated in such a way…but we were not allowed to touch it.
I know some folks that put up multiple trees each year…and by multiple, I mean 5 or more. And each one is decorated with a specific theme! This is certainly one way to have all the different types of trees you dream about. I find the idea somewhat appealing, because I love the look of so many different trees. I often find myself walking down the Christmas ornament (and lights) aisle and discovering so many beautiful options…but, there is only so much room for ornaments if you only have one tree. And I’m not the excessively-decorated tree type…I like to be able to see the actual tree…and, I have a toddler!
But alas, in our house, we only decorate one tree each year (well, two if you count the small tree that we have for our dogs).
So…what are our Christmas tree traditions?
We always get a real tree! They tend to be a bit pricey, but the expense is worth it to me. Each one looks different…they come in all shapes and sizes…they smell wonderful…and a big part of the enjoyment, is taking the whole family to go and pick out the tree! Plus, I’ve never been a big fan of artificial trees (or flowers, for that matter). Although, I do like the cost-effective aspect of being able to re-use the same tree each year.
As long as I can remember, we have always decorated our tree with colorful lights. While I love the occasional all-white tree…this is a tradition that I can’t see myself ever changing. The same goes for our ornament selection. We like to have a variety of fun ornaments that are specific to our family. The first Christmas I spent with my husband (back when we were still dating), we crafted several of our own ornaments (Santa, Rudolph, stars, snowflakes, etc.) because we didn’t have many actual ornaments on hand. That same year we began a new tradition that we carry-on to this day…we created a bauble for each of us (displaying our names in glitter). When our dogs joined the family, we created baubles for them…and when our daughter graced us for her first Christmas, we made an extra large bauble for her!
As for our other ornaments…there are several from our travels (Hawaii, Crater Lake, Turks & Caicos, etc.) I love picking up a new ornament whenever we travel someplace new. We have the standard “Our First Christmas” ornament, and there are several family heirloom ornaments that my mom passed down to me (that I distinctly remember hanging on my childhood Christmas trees – some of which I made in elementary school). My mom also passed down our angel tree-topper. I love looking upon ornaments from my childhood when I gaze upon our tree each year!
We added a new ornament to our tree a few years back (that started a whole new Christmas tradition), when we stumbled upon the Christmas Pickle. Neither my husband, or myself, had ever seen or heard about the Christmas Pickle before…but we thought the story was neat, and so we bought one to hide on our tree each year. The idea behind the Christmas Pickle ornament is that it is the last ornament that you (parents) hang on the tree on Christmas Eve – you try to hang it in a somewhat difficult place to find (depending on the age and height of your children). Then on Christmas morning, the first child to find the Christmas Pickle gets an extra present! We only hold true to this new tradition when we are hosting Christmas for our families – our Christmas Pickle does not travel with us.
And the last thing to grace our tree each year is a handful of candy canes (I’m pretty sure this was the highlight for our little nugget this year)!
Do you hang candy canes on your Christmas tree? What are some of your Christmas tree traditions? I would love to hear about them…feel free to share in the comment section.
I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas! And here’s to a Happy New Year!