Those who know me well know I’m game for just about any excuse to decorate, Christmas of course being my favorite. For years I helped my mom with decorating our house and I have grown to love the ritual. With this year being our first in the new house, it was time for us to make our own traditions… needless to say I may have gone a little bit overboard!
It all started with negotiating a secondary tree in the dining room for my fancy ornaments; a collection of the yearly White House Christmas Ornaments. My grandmother used to give me them and Chris has since picked up the tradition. I love how classic and ornate they are, as a kid I used to dream about having a tree right at my front window filled with them for everyone to see. We have them showcased on a small 4 foot tree centered in the dining room bay window, which you see as you drive past our house. The dining room truly is my favorite space in the house now!
Before you knew it, a second tree lead to a third. As I shopped for pine roping and batteries to fill our window candles at the local hardware store, up on a shelf I saw just the thing to display all the fishing and gardening themed ornaments Chris had that didn’t really go on our big tree – a two foot tree with frosted branches, pinecones, and berries with a little burlap base! And it was 50% off! What a perfect idea for a nice little casual tree! As I drove home thinking about how perfect this little tree would be for our mudroom… I realized we don’t have a mudroom yet- Just a three season porch I fantasize about turning into one where all our recycling lives for now. Guiltily, I stuck it on the porch and hoped Chris wouldn’t notice. Though he teased me hard when he found it [Anyone in Manchester looking to start a Christmas-aholics Anonymous group?] he did admit, he loves how excited I get over the holidays.
For our big tree, we like to keep things special with ornaments that really mean something to us. Chris gives me a pewter snowflake every year from the Vermont Snowflake Company, an ornament based off of a different Snowflake Bentley photograph each year, and I have one for every Christmas we’ve spent together. Chris also has a lot of very special to ornaments from his childhood, mostly silver & pewter as well. I still have to go root through my mom’s Christmas storage for mine!
In our old house, on Cass Terrace, I just went with a silver theme, but in this house we have SO much gold and brass I needed something to tie all the silver in! I found the perfect thing in Magnolia Home’s Hearth & Hand Collection for Target – galvanized metal balls with gold seams? Yes please! And the perfect Moravian Star you’ve been searching for for the top of the tree, even chargers and napkin rings if that strikes your fancy. The item I was really lusting for was the galvanized metal tree collar with gold stripe… we checked 3 Targets for that puppy, but unfortunately no dice!
The other conundrum we had this year was what to do with our stockings! We knew we didn’t want to mar our beautiful fireplace with hooks, and the weighted ones that sit on the mantle always fall off the second you put anything in the stocking. (I like to fill them up slowly throughout the month of December, it builds anticipation!) Once we placed the tree, the bannister seemed like the perfect place for them right next to the tree! I like this place a lot and there is definitely room for it to grow vertically once we have kiddos, so I think this idea is a keeper. Bonus: The chocolate inside won’t melt from fireplace heat! [And please excuse our half painted staircase – it’s next on our to do!]
I forgot to take pictures outside so I will have to share on insta, so far we’ve kept it simple – pine roping on the railings to the front door and the mailbox post, two mini potted trees on each side of the door, and a nice wreath. Chris is in charge of lights, can’t wait to see what he does!
Here are a few holiday tips and tricks from me!
- Pine roping is your friend, instant classy Christmas spirit! Also you can make your own wreaths out of excess swags — this saves a lot of money compared to buying premade wreaths
- Trim your tree – literally! Sculpting your tree to fit your space is so important! if you need it to fit tighter to a wall, flatten a side – or narrower at the bottom to make it easier to maneuver around. Trim with garden shears at intersections of the branches or back from the base if you need to take a lot out. Bend away branches before snipping though to make sure it looks good, you can’t unclip a branch if you go to far- I did this last year and had to Amazon Prime some garland to fill it in a little.
- Be insane like me and replace every ornament hook, string and ribbon with the SAME color ribbon. Or you could do a combo of two colors, or switch up the color for each different tree if your a multi-tree person – but WOW what a visual impact this has! I LOVE IT SO MUCH! My only regret is it took me 26 years to figure this out. I am really glad I didn’t quit when it hit midnight last night and kept on tying ribbon, I woke up this morning to the most color coordinated trees I ever did see! #WORTHIT
- Heavier & oversized ornaments make great mantle decor! We found a big box of clunky ornate gold & red ornaments in the basement which made great mantle decor with some roping!
- String lights from the bottom and zigzag upwards dividing the tree into fractions of however many strings you have (I used 4 battery operated mini globe sets and divided the tree into quarters on my 4 ft tree) This made it way easier to string and you can use the wire as a support by twirling it around branches to help keep them from bowing with heavier ornaments.
- Chris’s Tip: Use a laser level and an adjustable leveling tree stand to make sure you don’t end up with a crooked tree! Also, pre measure the diameter of the stump and adjust the screws on the stand to just a smidgen larger to minimize the time you need to count on your wife to hold the tree upright – these two ideas made tree setup completely painless this year!