Saturday, December 13, 2008

Family Memories Tree

Laurie at Tip Junkie is having a Christmas Tree Contest. Not only can you see beautiful trees, she is looking for ideas on decorating and creating ornaments. You can sign up on her Mr. Linky until December 20, when Laurie will select her top 4 choices and then have her readers vote for their favorite.
Many people like to decorate their Christmas tree with a theme such as angels, Vitoriana, woodland animals, or a color scheme. Some families have a star on top, others have an angel, bow, or finial. It seems no matter how a tree is decorated, it always looks gorgeous!
The theme of my tree this year, if it can be called a theme, is family memories. Every ornament has a story, either handed down with it, or one I experienced personally. Some have been made by family, friends, or myself, while others were gifts for significant events. There were so many that I decided against any garland or ribbon. Last year I hung only ornaments that had some reflective bling to them, and the year before all red, gold, and white.
Decorating the Christmas tree has always been serious business in my family. My paternal grandparents died young, and the first Christmas my dad and his sister were on their own, they made a huge mistake and only decorated one side of the tree. This was back in the 40s when they didn't use the heavy iron stands we use now. You can guess what happened, the tree fell over and many of their family's glass ornaments from Germany were smashed. They are in their 80s now, and they both tell this story every year.
Growing up, we had actual rules for decorating the tree! In most families I'm sure they are just common sense things, but my sister always felt like she was being second-guessed when hanging ornaments and to this day she doesn't like to decorate the tree and avoids it at all costs. But I love it! I like putting on the ornaments and then rearranging as I notice ways it could look better. To help those who may be new to tree decorating, here are Bogie's Guidelines!
  • Evenly distribute ornaments around the tree. If one side has too many, it could fall over.
  • Every ornament should hang/dangle. They should not be leaning or sitting on branches or other ornaments.
  • Avoid having too many of the same color right next to each other.
  • Large ornaments get hung on lower branches.
  • Items that fly, such as angels and birds, get hung up high.
  • Hanging shiny ornaments on inside branches makes the tree even more sparkly.
  • Garland or ribbon should be put on the tree before ornaments, but tinsel should be put on after ornaments.
I love all of my ornaments and wish I could use all of them every year, but only about 1/2 fit on a standard 6 foot tree. I wish I had space for more than one tree. I know if I moved things around I could have another, so maybe next year.How do you decorate your tree? Do you have a theme? Do you decorate more than one? Do you use your ornaments in other ways?


bfs said...

My most unique ornaments were hand-carved by my thoughtful brother-in-law. Today as I was putting them onto our skinny tree (we had to go skinny a couple of years back due to lack of room), I couldn't help but be amazed all over again. Our tree decor is very sentimental - lots of angels, and lots of wood-carving.

imjacobsmom said...

As you know, my tree is a natural tree decorated with birds nests & houses, bird seed ornaments, pine cones, berries, stars and wooden hearts. As a family we created & stained all 300 hearts, created and painted the dozen birdhouses, and Jacob loves to place the birds in their little nests. It is so cute to watch him....It's not avery sparkly or glittery tree but sure is a warm & cozy tree. ~ Robyn

Smilingsal said...

My "theme" is much like yours: memories are most important. I never knew the angel rule, though; I've placed them all over! (gasp!)

Jerri - Simply Sweet Home said...

Pretty tree. All your ornaments are nice. The Wizard of Oz ones are cute!

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

I follow the rules as closely as possible with one exception. My angel mermaid goes with my sea ornaments near the bottom so that she's at home with her aquatic friends and the treasure chest. Other than that, I'm pretty much like you. My handmade ones from friends and kits hang on the bottom so that they can dangle because they are pretty large, but not heavy.

I wish I had more room too cause I have scads of ornaments. xxoo

Chris said...

I only have one thing that I do every year and that is to place all the ornaments that belonged to my MIL, when she was a little girl, at the very top of the tree. Some of them are 80 years old, she told me. So they are priceless, to us anyway. Your tree is beautiful.


Ronda's Rants said...

Well...I still don't have my tree up!!! My Hubby wants to be sensitive to the environment so he wanted to buy a big potted tree and plant it after Christams...but he can't find one big in Florida...
So we won't be getting an artificial one and it would seem I am not getting a murdered tree either. I am in limbo tree land!
I found a huge Palm tree that I have threatened to decorate with sea shells for Christmas...
Our children think their parents have lost their minds!

squawmama said...

All my ornaments are in storage until we get another house... I have a small 3 foot tree in Tassie that is all dressed up with new ornaments that have the look of old... We decorate like you do pretty much... lights, garland, ornaments, tinsel... We have a lot of old ornaments from my mother that were in her family when she was young and then ones we have collected for the 40 years that we have been married... plus all the ones our children made... All trees are lovely in my eyes... Even the little Charlie Brown tree...


Joy said...

Your ornaments are seriously wonderful!

Shelia said...

HI Elizabeth! Love hearing about your ornaments! I still don't have my tree up yet! Ugh!! We've been having flooring laid, that was done last week and now carpet on Wednesday. Maybe before Christmas day I'll have it up! lol
Be a sweetie and thanks for coming to see my little dolls.
Shelia ;)

Kelli said...

What a beautiful tree! How tree has the same theme...lots of family and homemade ornaments...I love it!

Sandra said...

Elizabeth, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed my time here reading your posts. Love seeing the Christmas tree photos...very beautiful!

Have a merry Christmas!

Ravenhill Cottage

Heidi Jo the Artist said...

Such a beautiful tree! I love family stories! I love the wizard of oz ornaments too!

Heidi Jo the Artist
My Etsy Shop!
My Creative Blog!

Sarah @ ThriftyDecorChick said...

Elizabeth, I love that tree. And that's so funny you mention that...our son's little tree crashed the other night because I only decorated half of it. :) That's so sad the family ornaments were broken!!