talk back tuesday: what’s on your tree and who put it there?

We are in the middle of moving into our new house, and I have been struggling to figure out when and where to put up the Christmas tree. I was considering abandoning it altogether since we are traveling for Christmas, but after lamenting our lack of Christmas décor Mark finally took pity on me and set it up in the new house. We aren’t completely moved in yet, but it made more since to have it there since the big goal is to be completely moved in by Christmas morning. Our schedules have been crazy with all of the moving stuff, so the other night while I was out running some errands, Mark let the kids decorate the tree by themselves. The result is that we have a tree decorated with random clumps of ornaments, a garland that is strung haphazardly over one side of the tree, and the wreath that I usually hang on the door is adorning the top. I will admit… I have been really struggling not to take everything off the tree and redecorate it in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. But they were excited about their efforts, so I'm letting it stand. My eye is only slightly twitching.

Photo Dec 18, 9 22 24 AMPhoto Dec 18, 12 47 05 PM

All of this got me thinking about what kind of Christmas décor. Over the years, the kids have come home with homemade ornaments made of pipe cleaners and construction paper and beads and paper plates, and I’ll admit I’ve turned my nose up a bit. I am that person who wants the tree to be matching a particular theme and color scheme. Previously, I have put the handmade ornaments towards the back of the tree to maintain my design ideals. But those homemade ornaments are quickly beginning to out-number the carefully curated store-bought items. I'm going to have to decide if I give in and just let the quirky ornaments takeover, or if it's more important to me to have a tree that is pretty.

When I was growing up, we had a separate tree for the homemade ornaments. In fact, we had three trees. You have never met a Christmas decorator quite like my mother. She takes this thing to whole ‘notha level. We had the tree that was designated just for kid-made ornaments . . . this was usually on the second story and in retrospect, I think it was her attempt to give us a spot for those ugly ornaments so we didn’t sully her vision of the Perfect Christmas Tree Then we had a tree in the living room, and another in the family room. The tree in the living room was more formal. The color scheme with gold and silver, and it was adorned with doves, fancy silver and gold ornaments, and white lights. Any gifts that went under this tree had to be wrapped in gold and silver Christmas wrap. The living room was more traditional with green and red ornaments. The Christmas wrap under this tree also needed to match the green and red theme. One year, I wrapped all of my gifts in hot pink and citron, and I think my mother’s head nearly exploded. Much as I might try to mock her, these trees really are beautiful to go home to every year. And don't even get me started on her collection of Christmas bears. Or Christmas China. Does one really need three sets of Christmas China? Let's not answer that.

My decorating for the holidays is close to the antithesis of my mom. I put up one tree, and I decorate it with simple ornaments. I scatter a couple ornaments into random bowls, hang the stockings, and call it a day.

I am curious… What does your tree at home look like? Does it adhere a design scheme? Do you put all those handmade ornaments up, even if they're made of pipe cleaners or old toilet paper rolls? And do you try to have all the wrapping match, or is it just a mishmash?

And most importantly . . . real or fake? While I love the idea of a real treat, we are an allergy-prone family, so we are fake all the way. This is also useful since I usually leave the tree up until Valentine’s Day.

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