I have a love/hate relationship with decorating the Christmas tree each year. I love how it looks when it's done, but I do not enjoy the process. Usually.
When the kids were still children, not young adults, I used to combat my lethargy by making the trimming of the tree a kind of family party. The kids "helped" decorate; we had cookies and hot chocolate. Result: I was exhausted and frustrated before the job was done.
And I had to sneak back after the kids were in bed to rearrange the decorations.
Fortunately, the children grew up! One year, Emily got a co-op placement at IKEA. One of her tasks was to decorate their display trees. She came home with some very useful tips for decorating a tree.
|This is Katie, helping decorate the tree that year.|
- GARLANDS Once your lights are on the tree (assuming it's not a pre-lit tree, which ours is), put on the garlands. (In the picture above, the garlands crisscross. This year, I had them all go in the same direction, and I like it better.) I use garlands -- lots of garlands -- that have light-reflecting, luminous quality -- glittery, transparent, or pearls, to pick up on sparkle of the lights.
- LARGE ORNAMENTS Hang your largest ornaments. I used to only put these at the bottom of the tree, but I've found that they actually look good dispersed all over the tree. With younger kids, I made sure to have the plastic ones near the bottom of the tree.
- SMALL ORNAMENTS Hang your smaller accent ornaments in the spaces between the large ones.
- ADJUST Go around the tree tucking some ornaments further into the hollow centre of the tree. This will layer your bling, so that when you look at one ornament, your eye is drawn deeper. It also ensures fewer gaps (or glimpses of the bare branches and trunk or electrical cords).
At this point, you can sit back and enjoy the beauty.
This year, for the first time in decades, I hung most of the decorations myself. Steve assembled the tree and then went out for meetings. Our son Peter helped me place the garlands, and then it was just me. And you know what? I actually enjoyed it. It was quiet, no rush, no hostess duties, no childcare duties. Just trimming the tree.
After thirty years of tree-decorating, I've acquired a few favourite ornaments, and I enjoy each one of them. Here are a few of my favourites.
|I created this Santa in needlepoint more than twenty years ago.|
|The golden leaves are some of my favourite ornaments.|
The twinkle lights also add a pretty element to other Christmas-y elements in the living room.
I also have a lovely Holy Family sculpture made of Israeli olive wood, a gift from my parents-in-law. I've photographed it before, and am still struggling to find a picture I'm satisfied with. Here are two previous captures.
And here is this year's picture.
I think I still prefer the one I took in 2012. I'm going to keep working on this picture.
How do you do the tree in your house? Is it a one-person "chore" or is it a festive affair? Do you even let the kids near the boxes of ornaments?