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Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Christmas Tree

I have never had a Christmas without a Christmas tree. Some have been "real" and others artificial. The last several years, at our youngest daughter's request, we've had a real tree . I love the smell of it and it's fun to go out and find just the right one. I prefer the six to eight-foot noble firs.

Here is a picture of what our tree usually looks like. Sometimes we place a star on top and other times an angel. Lights, garland, ornaments, the typical stuff. Nothing too fancy. Lots of homemade treasures.

Our typical Christmas tree.

A couple of my favorite things on my Christmas tree are my heart garland and my pine cone garland. I bought the heart garland at the dollar store over ten years ago. I just love its simplicity. Wish I had bought a few more packages of it.

My heart garland. This may be the best thing I ever bought at the dollar store.

I just made the pine cone garland last year out of pine cones my grandson, Seth, and I picked up on one of our visits to see them in Salem, OR. Then I added a few of my own from our mountain property and strung them all together with twine. Here's how it turned out. I love it.

My homemade pine cone garland.

Here's what the two look like together on the tree.

But in the name of keeping it real and always being honest with you, this year our tree is kind of a disappointment. When we went to get it, we found that most of the lots were nearly out of our beloved noble firs. We settled on one that was less-than-noble, though its label bragged that it was every bit as noble as the price tag warranted. And despite giving the trunk a fresh cut, it has refused to drink up any water. It sat naked in the tree stand for the first several days, after which we finally added lights and an angel on top.

Normally, we make a big deal out of decorating the tree. I make eggnog and we put on Christmas music. Then we lovingly place ornaments on the tree, reminiscing as we pull out the different ones. But this year, we were tired and our schedules between activities and work (ours and our daughter's) just weren't coordinating. So today, only a day before Christmas, our tree has nary an ornament or strand of garland on it's brittle boughs.

Our tree this year.
But you know what? I don't mind it. Actually, when my husband and I admitted to each other that we could care less if we did another thing to the tree, a little bit of stress rolled off. We don't have to decorate the tree! Yes! I smugly put the boxes of ornaments back in the closet instead of letting them stare me down every day trying to invoke guilt. I was in charge of them, doggone-it, not vice versa.

I have other decorations out and our hearts love the story of Jesus' birth no less with an undecorated tree. Unless you look closely, you can't even tell the shiny orbs are missing. The lights shine brightly through our front window just as lovely as in previous years. I even took this new freedom into other areas of my Christmas decorating and didn't put out all the things I usually do. No one has even noticed. But it simplified my life immensely and I'll be so glad to have less to put away after Christmas.

So here's to making life simpler and less stressful at Christmas. I think I'll try to carry this trend right into the new year.

Are there things you feel you must do at Christmas that are more stress than pleasure? Consider letting them go and see what happens. So often our stress and guilt are self-imposed. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to not do some of the holiday things you've always done. Breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the gift of a baby born in a manger with that extra time you have.

And by all means, have the merriest of Christmases!



  1. When I was in college, I had a roommate who insisted we decorate a tree with only clear lights and cookies. It was gorgeous. And so is your tree with only lights.

  2. Thanks, Andrea! I've never heard of decorating a tree with cookies. Sounds intriguing. But the dog would probably eat them. Ha!