Each year when it is time to deck my halls with boughs of holly, I put almost all of my effort into making a magical Christmas tree for our home. Since I had my very own tree 13 years ago, I've always tried to attain perfection in this area of Christmas requirements.
I remember my first Christmas tree was a fake, skinny tree I bought at a local boutique. I covered it with red snowflakes, red balls and dangled gold bows and little delicate drop ornaments from its plastic limbs. I modeled it after one I'd seen in the store and I obsessed over every little detail on that tree.
I kept that same tree and style until I married Mike. He and I both love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, so for the past ten years, we've reached deep into our pockets and managed to find enough to splurge on a live tree. And we typically have a fairly easy time of picking out the tree at the local lot (Translation, I pick out the tree and he pays the guy to haul it onto the car).
About five years ago, when Walker was born, I decided to create a snowman-themed tree. Every year after, I would buy several new snowman ornaments each year. My tree is now covered in delicate little snowmen balls and ornaments and I love looking at them each year as I'm putting them on the tree. It's like a reunion of long-lost friends once a year. I remember where and when I purchased each one, or who gave it to me and when.
(But once toddlers and puppies and cats are all together in one house, I've learned it's better to not purchase any additional glass ornaments. I've had several casualties the last couple of years, but they are just ornaments, so I don't tend to dwell on them too long.)
I am the master of the Christmas tree in our home. Mike gets it in the house, makes sure it's watered, but I do the decorating. I turn on my Christmas music, send the boys under the house to get the green and red plastic tubs filled with goodies and I get to it.
Tip: NEVER - I repeat - NEVER - try to put the lights on the tree with your spouse. I remember too many Christmas's when my mom and dad would try to do the lights together and they would end up in a tizzy about them. I always do the lights by myself and I always check to make sure each strand is working before I put them on the tree. If you can't reach the top by yourself, use a step ladder. I always manage to get them around the tree all on my own, so you can do it too. It's much better when one person is frustrated vs. two people frustrated at each other when it's really just those darn lights causing all the trouble.
This year I used two different sizes of lights just to make it a little different. I've also only used white and red strings of lights, which is really fun, and some years I do colored lights! It's fun to try out different things, as to not get stuck in a Christmas tree rut.
Once you've put all the lights on, squint at the tree. If you've never tried this trick, just squint your eyes and then you can notice where there are any holes in the lights on the tree. Adjust accordingly.
Then, I take the really big balls I have and place them inside the limbs of the tree. This gives the tree some dimension and surprise when you look into the tree.
Always include a bird's nest and a spider ornament on your tree. They are good luck. Just do it, don't ask why, I don't know.
If you want to do something really fun, don't put a bow on the top of your tree. Think of something new and different to try. The floral sticks with decorations are what I went for this year, sometimes I put a snowman on top, I've also seen snowmen hats as toppers. And angels are always good, of course.
Then cover as much of the tree as you can with ornaments! Don't make them look all alike and don't try to make a pattern on your tree! Just randomly place them all over the place. For you type A people out there, I know this is hard, but YOU CAN DO IT!!
Then, turn out all the lights, light some forest or pine-scented candles and stare at it all night long! Or you can play a little NBA Wii (see above pic).