'Three Things Every Traditional Christmas Tree Must Have'
by Roxanne Hughes Packham
I can remember back thirty years ago, as a little girl, getting dressed up with my sister in our matching Christmas plaid dresses, getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner, and posing for pictures in front of our brick fireplace in our first house. I can still remember how excited we were for Santa Claus to come and leave presents, how much fun it was to have our crazy, loud family all together for Christmas. There are so many memories of Christmases past, but mostly the beautifully set tables and decorated trees and presents are the forefront of my memories. Our family is so much fun, and there was always so much laughter, loud and often hysterical storytelling, great food, and mostly an appreciation for our blessings, not material, but the blessing of our family.
Sometimes the decorating during the holidays gets so overwhelming, it becomes more daunting than it does desirable. You must keep in mind that for most people the memories made by Christmas past is the sweet memories that it conjures up time with family, friends, surrounded with textural delights all in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. So keep that in mind when you are breaking out the decorations that you are simply setting the backdrop for memories for family and friends, not trying to get an award for the best tabletop design in the country nor the most amazing tree in the land. Most of our deepest desires for the Christmas Season are to make a lovely, festive memorable day for our nearest and dearest.
Keep the following in mind for your tree: There is no award for the most amazing tree (that I know of), but you will touch the hearts of all who enter your home and enjoy the beauty of your tree because your tree represents your family.
~ Family ornaments!
This may be funny to some who have more than 25 years of ornaments saved and carefully packed each year. Good for you! Even if you just buy one new ornament per year on a vacation, or special event someone in your family participated in it makes such a story once the tree is fully decorated. I like to take a permanent marker and write the specific event and year on each ornament, after purchasing, in case I forget all the little details. It makes decorating the tree quite a tradition as each person takes the ornaments out of the boxes and begins to reminisce about the event or trip. Even with shiny new ornaments the old ones really give a history for the family and meaning to the tree.
This might go without saying, but little white lights and colorful red Christmas balls really go a long way in making a Christmas tree look Christmassy! The lights reflect off the balls and the more the better, in my opinion. It is traditional for the tree to be mainly red and green. Since the tree itself is green, invest mostly in red ball ornaments. The more little white lights the better, especially important towards the back. Hang the simple round ornaments way back towards the trunk so that it sparkles all the way through. Don’t just hang the ornaments right on the front of the trees. Remember also to do a topper on the top! If yours broke, or you haven’t had one, use ribbon and make a large loopy bow and stick it almost on the very top. This one you will have to tie to the tree with the bow facing towards the front.
~ Candy Canes and Bows!
Although I often do themed trees throughout the house, it is always our big main tree that I like to be very traditional, red and green, with all the family ornaments. And, of course, no Traditional tree would be complete without candy canes and bows! Hanging the candy canes on last after the tree is decorated is the easiest, filling in every spot where there isn’t an ornament. They don’t even need a hanger, but can just be set hanging on a branch! Tying bows can be fun while watching a favorite Christmas movie or listening to your favorite Christmas music. While I know sometimes the teenagers have other things to do, they are always glad we took some time to make some more Christmas memories together. Lastly, tie the bows. I recommend something very “red & green” like polka dot ribbon with those colors, or something very Christmas-plaid! Those say Christmas-time more than any other types of bows. You can either tie the bows right onto the candy cane before you hang it, or tie the bows, and use an ornament hanger on it to hang the bow. I find it way too hard to tie the bows onto the tree.
Enjoy your time together this Christmas. Time is the most precious thing there is with loved ones! Bless someone by asking them over for simple coffee and tea, and to enjoy your beautiful Tree. Practice Hospitality, Romans 12:13! Merry Christmas!
You can find more design ideas in 'Inspired Design,' co-written by Roxanne and her daughter, Hannah.