Christmas Tree decorating and traditions

I don’t know what it is that I love so much about Christmas trees. I think so much of it is tied to memories — memories of decorating our tree as a kid, memories of where and when we bought an ornament in our collection, sharing stories with our kids about them. Growing up in a small town in Ohio, we always went to a Christmas tree farm and selected the tree we wanted. They would put a tag on it with our name and then we would go back a few weeks later and chop it down, bring it home, and decorate it as a family. I loved that ritual of going with my dad to pick out our tree.

As an adult I always wanted to have a real tree, but since we had kids and because we live in a city (where tree hunting consists of picking one out in a parking lot) we decided to start using an artificial tree. As much as I have always been a tree purist, insisting that real is the only way, I now realize how much easier it is to have an artificial tree. Especially when you have really small children! No water, no needles everywhere, no fear of the tree drying out. After our old pre-lit artificial tree from the past 6 years died, we considered going back to real. I love the look of a real tree. But I’ve been spoiled by the convenience and lack of mess of artificial trees.

Christmas Tree decorating and traditions Christmas Tree decorating and traditions

The tree we decided on is the perfect compromise between the convenience of an artificial tree and the look of a real tree — we decided on a Lake Forest Fir Snap Tree from Tree Classics. Nope, that tree  in the above photos is not real! It looks so real, and it even feels real. But it is a pre-lit 7 1/2 foot artificial tree (and is there anything better than a pre-lit tree!?) It comes in two pieces and is so easy to set up. Even though ours was rather heavy, I was able to assemble and set it up by myself in about 10 minutes. And then my biggest boy helped me decorate it.

Christmas Tree decorating and traditions

We usually put our soft ornaments on the bottom and keep our breakables and treasured heirlooms on the top half out of the reach of little hands. Anytime we travel somewhere special I try to pick up an ornament to help us remember the trip. My mother-in-law sends me a crystal ornament from Tiffany & Co each year, so I have a beautiful collection now. And my boys get a new Paloma’s Nest ornament every year. And then there are the handmade ornaments that Charlie brings home from school or that we make together, and ornaments that I’ve imprinted the boys’ handprints into. Baby’s first Christmas ornaments, our first married ornament, an ornament my dad gave me, ornaments my mom makes every year. There are so many treasures and memories hung on our tree. And my dear friend made us that tree skirt. So I guess that is why I love Christmas trees so much. It is basically covered in love and memories. And I have to say that this year’s tree is our most beautiful one yet. The only thing I miss about a real tree is the smell, and a candle can fix that 🙂

Do you do a Christmas tree? Are you a purist or do you go non-traditional (I do love white, colorful, and flocked trees too!) What are your favorite Christmas tree traditions?

Tree courtesy of Tree Classics