The Christmas Tree is such a long-standing tradition and one of the most festive and beautiful parts of the holiday season. Every family does their tree a little bit differently, and I always love seeing the variations on such a beautiful decoration. This year we partnered with At Home to buy a pre-lit artificial tree for the very first time, and added some new ornaments to our eclectic mix, and the result has been a really wonderful, kid-friendly Christmas Tree that we all love. I’ll admit that in the beginning, buying an artificial tree felt a little bit like blasphemy. I grew up cutting down a fresh tree each year in the High Sierras near my grandparents house in Northern California. We would strap it to the top of the van and road-trip it home to Utah to set up and decorate.
When Dave and I were married, we followed suit our first Christmas, bringing home a tree for our tiny apartment. As the years have gone by, we’ve always had a fresh tree, though they weren’t always as magically acquired as a snowy wood in the mountains. Sometimes they were actually kind of a hassle, and most years they’ve died a slow death as the weeks leading up to Christmas pass by. I seem to be really great at houseplants, but haven’t ever been great with the fresh tree.
I do love the smell and experience of a tree lot, and there was also something to be said this year for the ease and simplicity of opening the box, stacking the poles, stretching out the branches, and plugging it in! I went out and bought the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving at 10pm after everyone at my house was asleep. Dave and I had already decided to try an artificial tree this year, and so I thought I’d go grab it. At Home has an expansive assortment of artificial tree options, and I got a simple and pretty 7.5 ft Douglas Fir.
Once home, I thought why not get a closer look, so I opened the box and started following the directions for stacking the center poles of the three different sections together. After about fifteen minutes of stacking and stretching, I plugged it in and the whole thing lit up like magic! It doesn’t get easier than that! I added the bag of pinecones and lengths of wooden cranberry garland I had bought to add to the tree. It was gorgeous! Even without ornaments I was in love. Rather than use a tree skirt, I had found an extra large basket that fit the tree base beautifully, and set the tree up right inside of it. It’s perfect.The next morning was magical for my kids to wake up to a beautifully lit tree. I didn’t have to worry about making sure the stored light strands worked, or keeping the kids and puppy clear of the water in the tree stand. The kids love helping turn on the lights with the step button, and we’ve been so happy with how beautiful the tree is (and with how clean and easy it is to have around!)In addition to being our first year with an artificial tree, this is also the very first year I have ever bought Christmas ornaments!
Neither of our families were ornament families. You know, like those families who get a new ornament every year, or buy one on every vacation. My parents always had a very beautiful themed tree, with matching ornaments and trimmings. I used to love helping my mom pull a hundred tiny nutcrackers out of their boxes to set in the branches on the “nutcracker tree” years.
When Dave and I had our first Christmas tree we decorated it with little copper gift-toppers from my work at the mall because we didn’t have any ornaments. Over the years we have acquired ornaments through a couple different handmade ornament exchanges (one, two, three years of them in fact), as gifts from friends, and of course all of the darling preschool art projects the kids have brought home each year. Our tree has grown in personality as the years go by, and all of the ornaments are kid-friendly and nothing is too precious. That’s a good feeling for me as a mom, knowing I can let my kids help decorate and rearrange things on the tree without risk of them destroying something!
This year, I fell hard for a few different ornaments out of the thousands that At Home sells, and was excited to add them to our collection. After ten years of marriage, I guess it’s time I buy an ornament or two.
These are the new additions:The criteria was that they should be unbreakable and cozy, which are two of my favorite adjectives. My favorites are the wooden balls, because I’m naturally drawn to natural-looking materials and I love the minimal, geometric designs. Plum has claimed the little llama friend as her own, and regularly takes it off the tree to play with for a little while. The bell feels like an amazing vintage Scandinavian find. And the black and white sweater balls jumped into my cart. We don’t have much sweater weather in Texas, so the tree can wear them.
The new ornaments fit right in with our eclectic assortment, and I love them.
It has been surprisingly wonderful to know the tree is happy without water, to easily click the light on and off while leaving my tangled mess of strands in storage this year. Our collection of ornaments are like a collection of memories and it was so fun to add some this year that will remind me of this time of our lives working, playing, exploring, and learning together as a family.
I’d love to hear how you decorate your Christmas tree in your home! Matching or non-matching ornaments? Fresh or Faux?
Created in partnership with At Home, all ideas and opinions are my own.