Christmas Tree Décor: Do you go for pinterest perfection or a hodgepodge of handmade mementos?

We’ve actually had our Christmas tree up for a week already. I posted about it on facebook and managed to apparently ruin Thanksgiving and Christmas simultaneously. It seemed like half of the people who commented were full of rage that someone could dare to put up a tree before Thanksgiving. The horror! And the other half were mortified that I dared to admit that I wasn’t really thrilled about hanging some of the eyesore ornaments that had made their way home from school.

First of all . . . I fail to see how putting up a tree cancels out our celebration of Thanksgiving. I like the holidays, but I don’t have the bandwidth to decorate for Thanksgiving and then take it all down. And since we will be traveling for much of the holiday, I wanted to get it up in time to enjoy it. I promise, we will still  manage to celebrate Thanksgiving despite the tree being up.

But mentioning that I didn’t want to hang some of my kid’s ornaments on the tree? Truly, I don’t think I’ve ever garnered so much wrath on my facebook wall. People told me that I am a terrible mother, that I might as well not even do Christmas, that I am ruining their self-esteem, that I have no heart.  It was brutal.

judgey mom on facebook obscured

Um, people, you don’t have to imagine me telling my child that their stuff isn’t pretty enough because I would never do that. For the love.

But let me say this . . . if all the ornaments were small and actually resembled ornaments, I’d pop those puppies up on the tree, no problem. Like this one we made today. However. We’ve collected quite a stash of school-made ornaments and some of them are literally paper plates. Full-sized paper plates.

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They are huge. And tacky. And I don’t really want them on the tree AND I STILL LOVE MY KIDS. And obviously, I have managed to express appropriate appreciation for their handiwork. It’s not like I am ripping them up and throwing them back in their faces. They are all kept and cherished. I’d just like to cherish some of them in a less prominent spot.

Last year, I was all in on the kid-centric tree. I let the kids decorate it from top to bottom. I let them hang every ornament, including the paper plates They strung the garland sideways and I let them stick a wreath that belongs on the door on the top of the tree. They owned it . . . and it looked terrible. I was a good sport about it for a couple days but a week in and my eye was starting to twitch.

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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 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 in the living room. But at the time, we just thought it was awesome that we had our OWN TREE. And while I don’t decorate nearly as much as my mom did, this year I did want to have our main tree, which is in the center of the living room, looking a bit less disheveled. It’s not pinterest perfect by any means – we are still using the ornaments we bought when we got married 12 ears ago.  But I do like having the big tree look nice and tidy.

So this year we decided to get a small tree for the kids, and let them go to town with all of the homemade ornaments (and the cartoon character ones my mom has bought for them. THANKS A LOT, MOM.) 

First we put up the big tree. The girls decided to change into ballet gear and dance while we did this. I’m still not sure what that had to do with anything but it was cute.

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I like how Mark’s head is halo’ed in gold as he’s putting up the tree. It’s a Christmas miracle.

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Then we bought a smaller tree for the kids and they decorated it all by themselves. They were thrilled. Dear concerned facebook citizens: no self esteems were harmed in the creation of this tree.

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I feel like we found a good compromise that keeps everyone happy. At dinner that night, Karis thanked God for having her own Christmas tree. And I thanked God that it was tucked into a corner and not in the middle of the room.

How do you do the tree? If you have kids, do you put the school-made ornaments up on the tree? Do you like having a tree that  looks perfect or would you prefer it be full of sentimental items?


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