Monday, December 14, 2015

Shiny and bright (sort of)

As far as I'm concerned, the raison d'etre of a Christmas tree is to be shiny, and, let's be frank, an evergreen tree is the opposite of shiny.  Pine trees are pretty depressing and tend to behave like a visual black hole.

This year, I decided I would really, really create the dainty, sparkly feather tree of my dreams.  A feather tree is an old-fashioned, artificial, spindly little tree with a bare trunk and sparse branches.  The original ones, which came from Germany in the 1800s, had feathers as branches. I made an attempt a few years ago, to prune our real tree down to feather tree proportions, but the tree itself was too bushy and for some reason, I waited until it was dark (WTF?) to start pruning.  I wish I had read An Urban Cottage's post about doing this before I started, but oh well.

Anyway, this year, Seamus and I looked through the assortment of trees at Snow's Garden Center until we identified the sparsest one they had.  It wasn't all that sparse and the lady who helped us pack it up clearly thought I was crazy when I told her I was planning to cut a bunch of branches off of it.

Back home, I held the tree upright with one hand, and sawed off branches with the other.  This was pretty awkward, especially as I got down to the base of the tree.  When I noticed how large the pile of pruned branches was, I chickened out.  I also felt sorry for the tree.  Ever since I read "The Fir Tree" by Hans Christian Andersen, I have imagined that Christmas trees have feelings. (For good mental health, avoid Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and if you're going to follow the link to the story, I suggest pre-medicating with prozac.  Or vodka.)

Anyhoo, once the tree was installed in the living room, we used Becky's method of applying the lights.  It makes a HUGE difference to wrap your lights around the trunk.  Doing this helps to mitigate the light-sucking properties of the evergreen and it gives your tree depth and delicacy.

Beginning to add lights.
I'm trying to do something different with the mantle this year.  I laid some of the pruned branches from the tree on it, with a gold ribbon.  It still needs something.  Candles, I guess.  There is nothing on the wall because we have never found the right piece of art for that space.

I would like to restore this Christmas cross stitch project I did nearly twenty years ago when the kids were babies. The pattern came from a library book. Now, it's in rough shape and I don't know what the best way to display it is.  I used to string them all on a strip of gold cording, but they would twist and it never looked right.

Well, I didn't achieve the feather tree look, but next year I'll be more successful.  I'm still very pleased with this year's tree.

My house is only half-decorated, and considering how busy and exhausted I've been lately, I think this is as far as it's going to get.  How's your Christmas decorating coming along?


  1. I didn't out-Becky Becky in the lights department but this year I put 400 lights on the tree, which is wildly extravagant for me. Other than the tree I've done no decorating. I like to think it's a minimalist approach but really it's sloth. I was much craftier when the kids were little and noticed decorations. My favorite decoration while growing up was a wreath my mother made from clear plastic dry cleaning bags. Gack! She threw it out a few years ago or I would have snagged it to torment my own kids.

    1. Dry cleaning bags. Who knew they could be so useful? We had a Santa face made of a Clorox bleach bottle (halved lengthwise) and torn up dry cleaner bags as a beard. We hung it on the front door for years! It was the tackiest thing but we loved it.

  2. I was going to go minimalist, but Edie said the house didn't feel like Christmas with just a tree up, so the banister got decorated and I realized last night the den needs a little something....
    Your tree is beautiful! I only have 600 lights on the tree this year - I got 200 of those large size LED bulbs that bring to mind the old school Christmas lights and I find when I put those on the tree, I don't need as many. I mixed up the colors this year too, after finding purple lights again. Maybe I should do another tree post? Hmm....

    As to your decorations - I'd suggest disassembling them from their current state and reassembling them in a garland, maybe the length of your mantle? (which looks lovely by the way!)

    1. I do have some green wire, so I probably could make a garland. I have tons of prunings still.

    2. I was thinking more along the lines of a flag pennant garland - something reusable every year with little effort.

  3. I think those cross-stitch squares are remarkable and beautiful. They deserve to be seen. I wonder if you could hang them from a curtain rod, on hooks. I am completely uncrafty, so you must regard what I say with a critical eye.

    In our house we do not put up any Christmas decorations, other than my Advent/Hanukkah paper chain. I admire your tree! I think it looks lovely.

  4. I feel nuts this year. Like, I want to cover the front of the house and the entire yard with lights. This is very odd, when you consider that the most lights I have ever managed to put up were 2 strands of icicle lights inside the kitchen windows.

  5. that tree looks magnificent! I need to get on board with that trunk-wrapping technique. next year.