Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree

Last night, after a week of staring at our sadly naked Christmas tree, Kirk and I finally dragged out the boxes of ornaments stashed in the attic and got to work. After a short scuffle over Christmas decorating music (Tran Siberian Orchestra, Kirk? Really?), we opened the boxes and got to work.

For me, decorating the tree has always been something of a walk down memory lane. As each ornament comes out, I’m reminded of Christmases past, like when fourth-grade me labored over the fabric patchwork ornament, or when we celebrated our first Christmas as a married couple with the adorable bride and groom ornament my mom gave us. I smile at the Snoopy bulb marked with the year of my birth, and the Precious Moments one from my middle school years.

I love the tiny little Snoopy vignettes that can fit in a tablespoon, and the classic car one my parents gave Kirk one year, and the little wood second-grade me stamped with glue and sprinkled with green glitter.

As always, we loaded up the tree with tiny multi-color lights as well as a strand of chunky bulbs—just like the trees of my childhood. I’ll never have one of those elegant, white-light strewn trees with matching bulbs and perfect symmetry. No, for me it’s all about evoking the fun and playfulness of the many Christmases of my past. I think I’ll always cherish those wonky handmade ornaments and dingy, aged plastic figurines that get tucked away oh-so carefully each year.

As we were finishing up last night, I looked to Kirk and said, “You know, I don’t even know why or when the tradition of dragging a tree in our homes at Christmas started. What does it have to do with anything?”

He merely shrugged. “Haven’t a clue”

I started to head to the trusty iPad and Google the answer, but for some reason, thought better of it. You know what? It doesn’t matter to me how the tradition came to be, or what their thinking behind it was. I only know that for me it is a perfect time capsule, a way to remember all the wonderful memories of the Christmases I have shared with my loved ones. It’s about making new memories, of sharing true quality time with my hubby, and having at least one tradition that will always be in my household.

Do you put a tree up each year? Do you have the handmade ones, the store bought kind, or a mixture? Wouldn't you agree that the classic White Christmas and Let It Snow are SO much better for decorating than Trans Siberian Orchestra?? ;)

I have the perfect recipe for you today - the same one I used decades ago to make ornaments for my Nana and Papa as Christmas gifts :) It's the perfect way to make something memorable for you to look back on for years to come. Enjoy!

Homemade Dough Ornaments:

- 2 cups flour

- 1/2 cup salt

- 3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine ingredients and kneed for about 10 minutes. Roll out to desired thickness (about 1/4 inch) on floured surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes, then punch a hole for hanging. Bake for 30 minutes, and cook completely on a rack.

Decorate using acrylic paint, glitter, etc. Allow to try completely. Spray with clear polyurethane on both sides to preserve. Hang from tree with string or ribbon.


  1. All those memories hanging amidst the cheery lights is a delight indeed! I love your tree and in my opinion, the wonkier, the better! How cool you have a recipe to make ornaments...I'll have to try it one of these days, sounds fun. IAnd I definitely prefer Christmas songs I can sing along to. Harry Connick Jr has one of my favorite albums. I hear The Beibs has a great one this year too:)

  2. What a great post! We will have to try out the homemade dough ornaments on our next Friday Fun Night--maybe after the kids decorate the gingerbread house!

    As for our tree, it is covered in ornaments that mean something to each person. Of course we've got the multicolored lights, candy canes and jumbles of ornaments in stuck in one place (courtesy of the kids). BUT we love it!

    And I'm with Kirk, I love Trans Siberian Orchestra. :))

  3. We always have a tree (though it is standing naked at the moment). Our ornaments are a mixture of homemade and purchased. My parents always gave the grandkids an ornmanent for Christmas and I did the same with my children. When my eldest married, her box of ornaments went with her so she had a start on decorating her own tree. Once all three kids are gone and take their ornaments, the tree will probably be about as naked as it is now, though we have a few family heirlooms that get hung. Oh, and Christmas music is always in the background, usually traditional caroles.

  4. Kara, maybe we can have a little craft project with the niece and nephew Christmas Eve and make some ornaments then :) The Bieb? Yeah, don't think I can do it, lol!

  5. Marquita, I don't hate TSO, it is just not meant to be ornament hanging music! I love that your ornaments are all in clusters - you can probably tell who hung them based on height, lol :) Candy canes...I forgot about those. I should go get a box and get to hanging!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. You should definitely get to making new ornaments before the kiddos clear you out, Jane! Yes, my parents sent ours with us when we got married, and I'm glad for it. There are still some that they kept. My mom usually gets me a Snoopy ornament each year, and it always makes me happy :)
    Good luck getting that tree dressed soon!

  7. Thanks for the recipe, Erin! I'm going to use that to help fill space in The Professor's MONTH-LONG vacation from school. (Ack!)
    We used to always do a fresh tree, and I like those better, but S got sick of the mess and the cost. So, now we have a fake one, and it's still fine- I just miss the smell and look of the real one. We used to only do blue, white and silver. Two years ago, I switched it up to red and gold mostly, with vintage ornaments too. And, of course, whatever the boys make go on it, always. I only allow white lights, I love the elegant, soft twinkle, especially when you turn out the rest of the room's lights and just let the tree glow. SO pretty.
    I'm afraid that I'm not much help to either you or Kirk, since we tend to listen to B.B, King and Etta James... :D

  8. I don't know that I'll ever be able to make the leap to a fake tree, but I can see how it would be easier, Olivia :) The smell is sooo nice, though - maybe you can find one of those plug in air fresheners?
    There is something magical about those tiny lights being on when the rest of the room is dark, isn't there? Good luck with the recipe - I hope you have fun with it!

  9. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving my wife and I head to a small Christmas tree farm located here in LaGrange, due to the size the farm is only open this one day each year. This has been a tradition since our first Christmas together seven years ago. We browse around for sometimes as long as an hour to find the right tree. It can't be too tall since Syd is only 5ft tall and she does most of the decorating. We cut the tree ourselves with the handsaw provided by the owner, throw it in the truck and bring it home. I wrestle with it for about 30 minutes to get it into the stand, rearrange the living room furniture and bring it in the house. Syd will put on a Christmas movie and spend the rest of the day carefully decorating the tree. Most of the ornaments are the same ones we bought that first year together. There are a few sentimental ones as well. An OC marching band figure made from a wooden clothes pin and pipe cleaners that I've had since high school. Santa's sleigh and Reindeer that I beleive belonged to Sydney's grandmother. A small plastic elf or fairy plastic figurine that was one of many my grandmother always placed on her tree. There are ornaments from our honeymoon and some other childhood ones as well.
    We also have what we call "the wedding tree" this tree is a plastic fake ficus or fig tree that Syd has had since before we met. It stays in our living room year round. At Christmas it gets adorned with lgihts, beads and other decorations. It also gets sand dollars and sea shells we've collected on our many trips to the beach over the years.
    While Syd's inside decorating I'm outside putting together the Manger Scene I built about a year after we bought our house. The figures are lighted and I bought them from the store but the Manger and the star that appears to be floating above at night I built by hand in our garage as a surprise Christmas gift to Syd. Usually by sunset the Manger is completed and lit, the tree decorated and if we have no other plans we settle in for the evening to enjoy a Christmas movie and stare at our day's work.
    -Donald Creason

  10. Wow, Donald - that sounds like such a wonderful day! One of these days we might actually go cut our own tree, but for now we buy from the guys that come in from the mountains each year where there tree farm is.
    I'm glad you guys have set up such a nice tradition to look forward to each year. Thanks so much for stopping by, and merry Christmas!

  11. I cannot believe you dissed "The Christmas Attic", the perfect theme album for your evening, memories and blog! Sorry, I'm with Kirk on this one...the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is one of my new, favorite performers...I just recently discovered them. Anytime I have to use my Shazam app to identify a song that caught my ear and/or grabbed my attention, I'm going to buy that song - and usually the album - for my library, which is what I did when Shazam identified "Christmas Canon" from TSO's "The Christmas Attic."
    But that aside, I loved your post and your pictures! Merry Christmas...look forward to seeing you soon!