by Tammy Taylor
Well it’s finally the Christmas season and time for us to put up & decorate our tree. When the children still lived at home we always had a standard 7-8 foot tall Christmas tree, fully decorated from head to toe with fragile glass-ball ornaments of all shapes, colors & sizes. Oftentimes it was a fresh tree cut at a Christmas tree farm.
But when the kids were all in their teens we purchased a 7-foot artificial tree. Each year RancherMan would drag all four clunky sections of it down from the attic. Together we’d assemble all the little branches – their exact trunk location based on their length. Assembling and decorating that tree took quite a bit of time & RancherMan was NOT fond of this task. One year he’d had enough. He pulled the top quarter off of the tree since it was the only section that was permanently intact. Then he stuck the plastic stand on the bottom of this tiny section and declared “From now on, let’s make THIS our Christmas tree!”
OK it’s only about 3-ft tall but don’t laugh just yet… Although I initially protested, I’ve found I really enjoy the smaller size of the tree. I have several simple yet sentimental decorations for it. I’ve learned you don’t have to decorate a huge tree to make a big impact. And I love that the ornaments on this tiny tree are meaningful to me, unlike the fragile glass-ball decorations of Christmases past.
Set The Small Christmas Tree Up High
First of all the tree’s small size needs a little boost to bring it off the floor. So we bring out a small wooden folding table when it’s time to set it up. Setting it on that table brings the tree higher off the ground. It also helps disguise the fact that it’s so tiny. To hide the folding table I wrap a deep blue tablecloth with snowflake designs around it & clasp the cloth in the back to hold it in place.
Now it’s time to decorate our tree. I have several things that I enjoy using for decorations. I always include a baby spoon used by our children when they were infants. A thin satin red ribbon hangs it on the tree each year. What a wonderful, sentimental symbol of wonderful Christmases of the past and the blessings we’ve received. It’s been on our tree every year since they were toddlers. I also have a very small number of gift ornaments from the kids’ past such as “Baby’s First Christmas” from Hallmark and the like. But none of our decorations are fragile.
I also like to use Texas-themed cookie cutters made of both metal and plastic. They are hung on the tree with a short length of twine. I’ve been known to take them off the tree, wash them, use them to make cookies & then rehang them on the tree – Now THAT’S a dual-purpose ornament!
And finally is my most fun decoration where I hang candy all over the tree – I call it “EDIBLE ORNAMENTS”. Sometimes I use bent paperclips to attach tootsie rolls or sweet tarts, but I always have festive candy canes as well. The grandbabies know that they are welcome to enjoy them each time they come to visit. When Christmas is over I crush any leftover candy canes and use them for a sweet minty flavor in cookies or stirred into a cup of hot tea.
And of course topping the tree is the very same angel that topped our tree when I was a child. This angel was already VERY used when it was given to us. Sweet neighbors that were updating their own decorations gave it to our family when my parents were very young and starting out. It topped the tree every Christmas for many years. When mom & dad decided it was time to retire this old tattered second-hand ornament I begged for it. It’s adorned my tree every year since. Aaaaahhhh… sweet childhood memories.
Festive Packages Add A Finishing Touch
Although I’m not near organized enough to have my shopping complete & all my packages wrapped & under the tree, you can see that even with what I do have completed so far the gifts actually help decorate the tree itself. And the gifts are all wrapped in a way that prevents mountains of trash from heading to the landfill on Christmas morning. You see, I’m using colorful cloth such as bandanas and reusable cloth bags to wrap our gifts. (you can read that post here) I’m even making my own denim cloth bags by repurposing RancherMan’s worn jeans. And of course we also present low-waste gift baskets filled with our homemade goodies. All of these methods of wrapping our gifts are environmentally friendly. So our gifts are festively presented and there’s NO TRASH! You know I love that.
This method keeps to a bare minimum the number of decorations that must be packed up and hauled into the attic at the end of each year. Now you know RancherMan is all over that!
What about you – do you have sentimental decorations that you are sure to use each year?