12 Days of Christmas – Day 1: The Tree(s)

The Christmas season first starts for me the day we put up our tree. Well, more like the day we have the tree in the house, the lights and ornaments are on, and the ornament boxes have been put away. It’s a whole ordeal, I won’t lie. Especially now that we’re a two tree household, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.

The Main Tree

The first few years we were married, we had a fake tree. We started with the fake tree that I think Matt had as a kid – I asked, he doesn’t quite remember where that one came from, either – then we got another fake one as part of a day-after-Christmas sale from Target. The new one was pre-lit, only separated into a few large pieces and, you know, wasn’t losing all of its needles.

Then, when we moved to Virginia and real trees weren’t over $100, we switched to real trees. The first year, I insisted we go with Matt’s dad to pick out the specific tree we’d go home with. I took photos and everything. The year after that, we picked out the tree but didn’t stick around long enough to even see it cut – I was over it. Since Lizzie was born, the tree just arrives at our house in early December. Okay, it doesn’t magically get here and we aren’t fancy enough to pay someone to deliver one. Matt’s dad picks it up for us from some farm up in Pennsylvania then brings it down here in the back of his truck. Matt and he then bring it inside, with lots of bickering to make it really festive. Eventually, it’s in the house, the too-low branches are removed, it’s secured in the stand, and I spend an eternity vacuuming up dropped needles.

Where it Goes

Tree placement isn’t as easy as people always think it is. You want somewhere that’s out of the main paths of traffic of your house but is still in a place where you’ll see it often. We have a long and narrow living room, with our front door and the stairs on one end and our fireplace on the other. The middle is taken mostly up by a shoe stand, TV, and big bay window. Previous years, the tree went in the corner, sort of in front of the window but entirely blocking a bookcase. Which isn’t a big deal unless you’re a certain little girl and all of your books that are downstairs are on said bookshelf. So, for the first time, the tree is right in front of the fireplace (which is wood-burning and will certainly not be used until well after the tree is gone).

Lights and Ornaments

Matt puts the lights on because I’d probably poke my eye out or something. Then we put on Christmas music and I sing along rather loud as we put on the ornaments. Off-season, the lights are kept in a hat box (that never held hats, it’s from TJ Maxx) and the ornaments are either in original boxes carefully placed into a big plastic bin or in these ornament organizers. The later I’d love to replace but these ones are sturdy enough and rather light so it’s easy to bring two or three upstairs at a time.

So, the ornaments. It’s a whole thing. We don’t have matching ones, like at all. They are all sort of kinds from copper ones from national landmarks, hand-blown glass balls, wooden figurines, and about anything else you’ve seen as an ornament material. Our collection, which it really is, started out as Matt’s collection. A collection he started when he was Lizzie’s age. While I get annoyed that we have so.many.ornaments when it’s time to put them on or take them off, it is really lovely to go through them and remember where or when we got each one.

The Second Tree (aka Lizzie’s Tree)

This year, we’re starting a new tradition, rather like one Matt had as a kid: Lizzie has her very own tree in her bedroom. It’s just the fancier fake tree we used to use. On it right now are her foam ornaments from her birthday party craft and the little glittery cupcakes she chose from the Dollar Spot (is that still what it’s called?) at Target. I plan to add the extra ornaments I have from a craft project at some point but haven’t gotten any farther than getting the ornaments and hooks into her room.

(Ignore the messy room. Snapped a quick photo while Lizzie was occupied elsewhere.)

Talk Back

Tell me (or better yet, show me) about your tree. Where did you place it? Real or fake? Matching ornaments or all different?

Coming tomorrow: Christmas Cards

Christmas Countdown – The Tree

I may have grown up with artificial trees but we live close enough now to where they actually grow them that we’ve always gotten a real one from some farm up near Matt’s parents’ house. This year is no exception, a lovely fir of some sort from good ‘ole Bud. It arrived on Sunday via my in-laws and we spent a few hours in the afternoon putting the ornaments on.

I’ll show more of the tree later but I’ve got to talk about the ornaments.

We have a lot of ornaments. Matt started collecting them when he was little and, though we’re certainly much pickier about what ornaments we buy now, we still have far too many to go on the tree – four of those ornament boxes plus two other equally sized boxes worth. But, every year, there are a few that must appear on the tree.

There’s the little blue train that was part of the first set Matt’s parents got for him. (At some point his parents got him his own artificial tree to put in his bedroom, complete with rattles and toys as ornaments.)

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There’s the bungee jumping Santa.

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One of the blown-glass ornaments from the Corning Museum of Glass we visited one of the times I went to see him at RIT.

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The ornament my old officemate got us to celebrate Squirms’s birth.

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And, last but not least, the first ornament I bought for Matt, before we were dating.

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Enough of my delaying. Our beautiful tree.

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And the required “baby with the tree” photo that I took yesterday when she, for the first time, had any interest at all in the tree.

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