It takes only 5 easy steps from the tree to the ornaments to put together a Christmas tree you will be proud to call your own!
Are you worn out from your holiday shopping? Stuck on what to get the kids? Why not give your family the experience of an old fashioned Christmas this year? Shari and I enjoy all seasonal decorating projects, but decorating for Christmas is our absolute favorite. We love the lights, the colors, and most of all, the old fashioned Christmas trees.
In most homes, the tree is the focal point of all the holiday décor. For many families, choosing and decorating the Christmas tree is an annual tradition. Today, it seems, that Christmas trees can be found everywhere from malls to the internet. If you are looking for an old fashioned holiday experience, however, your family might enjoy cutting your own tree at a local Christmas tree farm. Or you might enjoy shopping at one of my favorite places. I get my tree at the lot around the corner, which is run by the local Boy Scout troop. It’s filled with hundreds of trees just waiting to be taken home to a loving family.
1. The Tree
When purchasing a tree from a lot, look for a tree with a healthy green appearance. The needles should be shiny, soft, and pliable, not dry or brittle.
If you are not putting your tree up right away, store it in a protected area where it will not be subjected to freezing temperatures. Make a 1” cut off the base and place it in a bucket of warm water.
When you decide to bring the tree inside, make another cut to ensure proper hydration. Check the stand daily to make sure there is sufficient water to cover the base of the tree. With proper care, a tree can safely be kept indoors for several weeks.
2. The Lights
Decorating an old fashioned tree can be a family affair, but Mom or Dad may want to handle the lights. To imitate the candles that first illuminated trees, try using all white lights. For an even more authentic look, you might use lights which are made to look like candles.
For a beautifully lit tree, run a green or brown extension cord along the “spine” of the tree. Then, instead of stringing the lights around the tree, try wrapping the individual branches, beginning in the interior of the tree and working your way to the outer edges.
3. Add Branches
Once the tree is lit, you can add holly branches with berries and pinecones to fill in any open spaces in your natural tree. Even branches of snow covered pine can be a refreshing addition to your traditional tree.
4. The Garland
A general rule of thumb says that for every foot of tree, you’ll need two yards of garland. To get that old fashioned feeling, why not have the whole family sit and string a garland of popcorn and cranberries? You’ll be able to complete the job in no time at all if you string the kernels and berries onto waxed dental floss. And the job will go even faster if hot chocolate and Christmas cookies are included in the fun!
When you are placing the garland on the tree, it’s best to start at the top and work your way down. Try draping the garland so that it lays in small curves at the top of the tree, with bigger curves as you move down.
5. The Ornaments
Now it’s on to the ornaments. The great thing about Christmas ornaments is that they don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. In fact, the most cherished ornaments on the tree are often the ones that cost nothing at all. They’re the ornaments that have been made by loved ones, and are special because they evoke wonderful memories of Christmases past.
As you begin to decorate your tree, place the largest ornaments first. They will become focal points. Then fill in with the smaller ornaments. To add interest and depth to the tree, hang some ornaments close to the trunk of the tree and others on the outer branches. Bunches of dried flowers and ribbons are another lovely addition to an old fashioned tree.
When the last ornament has been hung, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with your beautiful old fashioned tree. While the tree may only last a few weeks, your family’s memories of it will last a lifetime, making it an enduring holiday gift for the whole family.