HoLiDaY HoW-To: ThE TrEe!!

Soooo, is your tree up yet??  Did you spend your Thanksgiving weekend covered in tinsel and lights?  Have you unpacked all your favorite ornaments and purged a few along the way??  Well, so have I!

  Thanksgiving weekend is my favorite weekend of the year.  I love it for many reasons, but mostly because I'm still high on turkey and mashed potatoes and ready to get in the Christmas spirit!  We get out the Christmas music, fill our favorite mugs with coffee, and start tackling our decorations.  And of course, we put up our tree!

So, after working on mine this weekend and then working on 3 others at a Country Club this morning, I've got trees on the brain and I'm ready to share some tips with you.  Everyone has a different idea about what a tree should look like, but hopefully you can get a little inspiration from the few I have pictured below.  They are all different, but there are things I like about each of them :)

This is a little tree I'm working on for something at Church, but there are things about it that would work on a big tree.  For instance, one of the best ways to add height to your tree, is to create a little explosion on top!  There are so many fun "**picks**" you can buy at Michael's or Hobby Lobby now, to literally just stick in your tree, either at the top or all around it.  If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you'll see that I have the blue picks on top, but also purple and lime green picks stuck in as well.  In person, these colors are more vivid than they seem in this picture, so it's really a cute, sparkly little tree.  It's a theme tree for part of my women's ministry demo, so thus the "joy" ornament hanging front and center, but I also like how you could run with the same idea and come up with a theme of your own.  Add some multi-color lights and you're in business!
**Do you all know what I mean by a pick??  This is an example of one.  Something glittery or artificial that is stuck on a wire or wooden stem.  They make great additions to trees, wreaths or garlands.**
Moving on...

I'm sure this tree makes most people want to freak out, but I love lots of things about it.  For example, it's a wonderful example of a monochromatic, modern look.  If you examine it carefully, there are like 4 colors happening here, but what makes it work is that they are all the same kind of ornament.  The only difference is in the sheen (some are flat and some are shiny) and in the size.  That's a good design principle at work.  For someone who is just starting out and doesn't have a lot of ornaments, or for someone who is stumped by pulling off "a look", one easy suggestion is to buy a bunch of inexpensive balls in 1, 2 or several colors.  Keep the kind of ball the same and just vary the size and color.  It will still look good together because you aren't mixing and matching patterns and styles.  You are staying within a monochromatic scheme.  Target is a wonderful place to shop for this kind of thing.  They have containers of plastic ornaments (which I bought for my own garland), that are all the same style and only $5.  They have big ones and small ones, but they all work together and could be mixed and matched very easily.
If you can't quite wrap your mind around a Christmas tree in Dr. Suess colors, just imagine how gorgeous this would be if it were all red??  Or gold?  Or red and gold??  Oh the possibilities...

First of all, sorry about the quality of this picture.  I didn't have my camera with me, so I had to use my phone in a very sunny's ok, but not super clear.  Anyway, this is one of the trees I did today in the Pub room of this Country Club.  Because it's a very masculine room, think lots of dark paneling and leather, we wanted to stay within the style and purpose of that room.  I used pheasant feathers for the top of the tree and a very traditional, plaid ribbon as the dominant element of the tree.  I don't know if you can tell in this picture or not, but this is a "woodland" style tree with a very natural look and pine cones on most branches.  Because of that given look, it didn't call for much decoration.  Large, flat ornaments lend themselves to this style much better than glitter and shine.  For a tree that is already quite beautiful or detailed, just by itself, you can use ribbon and just a few ornaments to "enhance it" and not take away from it.
If you have the budget, some people also do their trees this way, based on the style of their home.  It's a fun way to tie your tree into your existing decor and adorn what you already have going on.  It doesn't always take a lot of money or ornaments to pull this off, just a few things that will coordinate with what you already have.


For those of us who have a "family tree" full of sentimental ornaments from every style under the sun, there is still hope for a good looking tree!!  Here is what I do every year to pull it all together.  This tree is ours, and as you can see it has lots of stuff on it.  I noticed that lots of my favorite ornaments had some red in them and so did lots of my other decorations around the house.  So, I chose to make red my dominant color and I came up with a red color scheme for our tree.  I have red balls and a red bow on top, as well as some other red ornaments here and there.  It's an easy way to give some rhyme or reason to an otherwise eclectic tree!
I am much too sentimental to give up our random ornaments that we buy and add every year, so we will always have a family tree.  But I imagine, when we have a bigger house and a bigger budget, I will probably add a theme tree over the years to our living room.
For the last few years or so, my Mom has done this at her house and we all love it.  Our favorite family ornaments still hang on a small tree in the dining room, but her "pretty" tree has all the presents under it in the living room.  If you are in a similar boat with an eclectic tree, I'm sure there is a color you could pull out to highlight that would compliment your ornaments or the room your tree is in.

On a more formal tree, I would have made this bow a little bigger and the tails a lot longer.  But on a more casual tree like mine, I kept it pretty simple.  Would you like to see a few of my favorite ornaments on our tree?

"A" for Armstrong of course, but now for Ava too!

Our first ornament after we were married :)

We got these as a gift last year, when we knew we were having a girl!  This year I wrote Ava's stats on the bottom.

This goes without saying...He's part of the family and part of the tree!

Travis recently informed me that this was one of his favorites!  We got it when we lived in North Carolina, so it's fitting I suppose.  We heard lots of "Y'all" while we lived there!

My new favorite!  I just bought this over the weekend and I love it!

Of course my favorite thing about our tree this year, is the little red head who likes to sit beneath it :)
Cutest little ballerina I've ever seen!!

I hope some of these tips work for you!  Next up on the schedule, wreaths and bows.  I'm hoping to show you some easy ways to make a wreath and a step by step explanation of how to make a simple bow.  Tis the season for both :) Look for that post later this week.

Happy December to all of you!!
Have fun decking your halls...


petrii said...

I hopefully will be putting up our tree tomorrow (if I can talk hubs into getting it out for me =) It's going to be yucky and cold here, perfect day to get it up. So this is great timing!! I LOVE all the trees!!! I really love the bow on the tree at the Country Club. I most always do a bow at the top of our tree, but not one of this magnitude. I'd love to be able to do that, looking foward to that post later in the week.

This year I'm thinking two trees; our family tree in the living room and then our pencil tree in the Prayer Room, filled with crosses and nativity ornaments in the color scheme of red and silver. What do you think? Also I bought a roll of silver mesh/ribbon stuff for that one. Any ideas on using it? I saw it at the store. I know the marketing worked =)

Wow this is really long, okay I'll close this chapter =)

Love you friend, have a Blessed day,

Peggy & Ron said...

Couldn't wait to have a pretty tree too. When the kids got older. Ron's tree in his office has all the ornaments with mostly Ian's picture on them and other hand made treasures. I need a topper for my big tree so anxiously awaiting the bow tutorial. The ballerina under the tree is my fav.

Rebecca Jo said...

The trees are all so beautiful! Love your family tree ornaments!!!

And yes, Ava is the cutest little ballerina around! Wont be long before she's pulling herself over to that tree to pull some ornaments off! :)

The Abramowski Family said...

I don't know if I've ever commented on your blog before, but I read every post! I'm not even sure how I came across your blog.
Thanks for all the tree ideas!! I can't wait for your post on wreaths. Mine is currently sitting on our kitchen table while I try to decide what to do with it. I was thinking about doing something similar to the one from Pottery Barn with all the red and silver ornaments on it. We'll see!

Toni :O) said...

I can't wait for your next tutorial! I just made our Advent wreath and STUNK big time at making a bow...ugh! It was awful and I got covered in glitter...bring it on Steph and LOVE your sweet little ballerina! Oh, and yes, my house is completely decorated for the holidays and like you, LOVE the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend to get it all done. :O)

Michele said...

Thanks for all these great tips. The first few years of marriage, we had a "pretty" I just try to keep it together through Christmas.

A tip someone gave me that helps if you have little ones....use small zip ties to hold your ornaments on the tree...especially the glass or breakable ones. It's saved our family many bloody feet!!!

Joyce said...

I definitely need the bow help! I love the family tree...we have two trees this year plus my oldest daughter has a small 'ballet' is so cute and filled with all her ballet ornaments.

Miz Jean said...

What fantastic advice!!!! Thank you!!! Love it all. I'm going to start shopping for a tree upgrade after Christmas. We have one but it is awfully "bare" compared to the ones I see in the stores thesedays. I plan to make the current tree the kid's tree/family ornament tree and then get a new one which will be the fancy tree. Like your smart Momma. :) Love this post!!!