Inspired by the Christmas tree series over at Nat the Fat Rat, I thought I'd share my tree thoughts. I wisely photographed the tree immediately after decorating it. Nearly all of the ornaments and tinsel have been haphazardly rearranged, and I stripped the few remaining four-year-old candy canes after so many were snuck off and half-eaten by a certain toddler.
I love my tree. I've had real trees, a non-evergreen tree, and for the second year, this four-foot artificial tree, but they have all been decorated after the same fashion as the gorgeous live tree at my parents' house: nostalgic, eclectic, and traditional. The oldest ornament is the paper bell picture I brought home from kindergarten in 1990. The newest is last year's clear bulb holding the tiny bow that was pasted (without my consent) on my twenty-minutes-old daughter in May 2011. Each year of my married life so far, we've asked a clear bulb to hold a souvenir of that year.
When it comes time to decorate, Christmas music is turned on and grumpiness is turned off. The lights are pre-strung on my tree, much to my delight, so we twirl the silver (must be silver) tinsel, then add the gold bulbs, the traditional Finnish sheep and pig, of course, and gifted ornaments, and candy canes. The trick to an unfussy tree is to not fuss with it too much, obviously, and to work in order of ornament category, which maximizes balance around the tree. Oh, and put the ugly things in the back. At the very top, a star of Bethlehem is fashioned from carboard covered in aluminum foil, a nod to my childhood Christmas when a store-bought star was not in the budget--thank goodness, because aluminum foil has just the right amount of luminosity and cheekiness.
P.S. Christmas books are a great gift for anyone, and Design Mom has a lovely top-20 list.