tree ornaments

Letter to Myself: On Decorating the Christmas Tree

by Jamie Sanford on January 4, 2011

I smell a new feature with Letters to Myself. I think this might be another good way to bring interesting content to my readers while also maintaining the shopping aspect that started this blog to begin with. 2011 blogging, here we come.

Dear Jamie,

Your 2010 Christmas tree was pretty fabulous. You’ve taken the gold theme pretty far, and finally have been able to use the ornaments you’ve been buying since putting up the last tree in 2007! The new pre-lit tree (similar to this one, available for $154 from Amazon), bought post-Christmas in 2007, worked out well, save the fact that the tree stand is a bit wonky and the tree is so tall that no tree topper is possible.

Tree, lights off.

The finished Christmas tree, 2010.

The gold lights that sparked the whole gold theme died during the tree-trimming process, and the executive decision was made to replace them with ball-shaped lights in different textures (similar to these, available for $22.21 from Amazon) that were floating around unopened in the Christmas box. They’ve added great light and interest to the Christmas tree, the different shape of the bulbs would be interesting enough but the texture adds something too. Definitely keep up a tradition of using different kinds of lights and not just different colors.

Disco in the tree.

Note the giant bokeh there caused by the new ball-shaped lights.

While I didn’t put the garland on the tree until the end of the process, I’m putting it here in the blog post, where it should be for next time. I decided that I didn’t want the puffy garland on the outside of the Christmas tree, but when the ornaments were done, the tree looked a bit thin. So I spent time putting the garland inside of the tree – which turned out great but was a wicked pain to accomplish. So – next time? Lights, then garland inside of the tree to get the filling effect without the unfortunate ornament-blocking. Another note – Mom said that she has lots of extra gold garland, remember to get that from her if you don’t have it yet. This might get out of control since I also bought more puffy gold garland at CVS after Christmas.

Tiny Edward in the tree.

Tiny Edward in the tree, you can sort of see how the garland is tucked in.

I wonder if the garland should be even deeper in the tree, and should go on before the lights. This is something to re-think when the time comes.

Ornament application went well – William actually did most of it while I took everything out of the boxes. We got to use all of the random gold ornaments I’ve purchased at Cracker Barrel on road trips in the last few years. I am especially enamored with the translucent gold leaves which let light through and look really beautiful on the Christmas tree. I paid something like 50 cents for each one, so that was a hot deal.

Leaf in the tree.

If you take a road trip for Christmas, stop at Cracker Barrel for hot deals on tree ornaments.

We also ended up purchasing more small red balls (sort of like these) to sort of break up the large amounts of gold on the tree, and used spare red balls to decorate the garland hanging over the kitchen arch too. The theme seems to have expanded to gold with touches of red.

The railing at the top of the stairs was also decorated this year. I wrapped the whole outer perimeter with puffy gold garland and then hung spare gold ornaments from the top between the bars. Everyone seemed to like it.

Tree, lights on.

The railing decoration is sort of visible here in the picture with the lights on.

I have a feeling that we will move before the next time we decorate for the holidays, but this year’s ideas and lessons learned should be helpful in the future.

Am I the only nerd who wants to remember the good and bad things about putting up the tree and decorating for the holidays? Did you come up with any tips or tricks this year during your own process?

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