Skip the Skirt, Get a Box!

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This year we tried something new with out Christmas tree.  Instead of using a tree skirt to hide the base, we have a box.  I saw someone selling these on the local buy/sell page and considered having the hubs make one but since they were selling for $40, which is about what the materials would cost we agreed that it was a better idea to just buy and leave the extra time for more important activities.

7The box came unfinished, with the trim being 2×4 and the planks being cedar, probably fence pickets.  Although that was pretty it felt a little to raw for me, so I gave it a quick rustic coat of white to play off the flocking on our tree. There is also a small hole drilled in the back for the power cord to go through, which works perfectly.

The hubs likes the look and Luna likes having a new hiding spot inside.  I like that I’m no longer constantly fluffing the fur throws we used to use as a skirt!  Although it’s one more thing to store, I’m glad we made the switch and can see us using it for years to come.

Hang a Star on the Highest Bough

StarOldI’ve had the same tree topper for years.  I bought it on sale after Christmas one year and added a string of lights so that it lit up.  I loved it, but it was always so heavy and cumbersome, requiring a rod to support it and a special extension cord to be run to it for the lights.  After fussing with it for 15 minutes this year and still not liking how it was sitting, I decided it was time for a change.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted exactly, but figured it would be another star because that just seems right to me.  I know an angel is traditional, and I think that’s what I had as a child, but many I’ve seen are down-right creepy or psychedelic.  I like the symbolism of the star, which guided the wise men to Jesus’ manger and being an Alaskan, the North Star is always a favorite.  So star tree topper a-hunting I went.Picture 2

My first stop was Target, which had tinsel options, but nothing that seemed to fit my style.  I was considering researching DIY options when I decided to stop in at Pier One because I had a 20% off coupon.  They didn’t have any tree toppers but I did find this large glittered star ornament.  They called it a snowflake, but it sure looked like a star to me, especially in gold.  I wasn’t sure if it wold work as a tree topper so I carried it around with me as I browsed other areas of the store.

Something told me that even if I didn’t end up using it as a tree topper it would find a use in my holiday decor so I went ahead and bought it.  It was already a good price at $6.95, but I also got my coupon discount on top of that, so it was a super deal.

Once I got home I climbed on a chair and placed it at the top of the tree, arranging branches to make it sit just so.  After a few times off the chair to check and make sure it was straight, I was completely happy, so I cut off the hanging string and left it atop the tree.  It’s just the right scale to complete the shape of the tree and it coordinates with other decor in the house, so I think we have a new annual topper!  And for less than $6 it’s the best deal I’m likely to find, perhaps even after Christmas!

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O’ Christmas Tree

Although I had the movers put the Christmas tree box in the family room because I intended to put it up right away, I didn’t actually get to that task until about a week after the move.  We’d just bought the tree last year, but we had to send it off to the tree infirmary after Christmas because as the Grinch says “there’s a light on one side that just won’t light” – although in our case it was a whole section. This was the first time I’d opened the box since it had been shipped back to us and had to chuckle when I spotted a tennis ball right on top!  Apparently the workers found it somewhere in the tree and put it back in the box to make sure we got it back!  Only us!

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I initially planned to put the tree in front of the windows next to the fireplace, but once we arranged the furniture there wasn’t room for it there.  So I tried it on the other side of the fireplace next to the TV, but it was too big for that spot.  Then I decided to try it at the corner of the family room where the dog bed had been placed.  I moved the dog bed – much to Sangria’s dismay – and started setting up the tree near the hallway, only to decide I didn’t like it there either.  It still felt crowded.

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At that point I stood in the middle of the main area and looked around trying to decide where to try next.  It was about this time that the hubs woke up from his night shift sleeping and saw me standing there pondering.  I explained my dilemma and he agreed that it didn’t fit right next to the TV or fireplace.  I told him I was considering placing it next to the back door where I’d just placed the curio cabinet – one of the few pieces I hadn’t ‘envisioned’ a spot for before the move – to see if I liked it there.

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Notice the fixed doggie door gap?! 🙂

The problem was I did like it there.  I knew my brain would see wherever the tree was placed for our first Christmas in this house as “the spot” it would go from here on out and I didn’t want to commit to moving the curio each year to put up the tree.

Hubs said he thought that was the best spot for the tree and then wandered off to wake up further.  I continued to stand puzzling, like the Grinch over Whoville.  Finally, I decided to try it just to appease my curiosity, which required moving the curio to three different spots before finding it’s temporary home in the guest room.  I started again with just the base section and liked how it looked, so I added the other two sections and started fluffing branches.  About that time the Hubs returned and noted that the tree looked good there.  I agreed and stated that he’d been right all along.

Unfortunately, I got distracted with some other project at that point and the tree remained undecorated for several days until I scheduled time to finish decorating this past weekend.  And here’s the final result!  I love the traditional feel of the white lights and this model has flocking and faux pine cones that make it feel real, especially when I get the sugared pine wax melts going!

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Our family has a tradition of letting each child choose a new Christmas ornament for themselves each year so that when they move out on their own they have an entire collection full of memories to decorate their own first tree.  I continue the tradition for myself, choosing a new ornament to add to the tree each year.  This year I found a wonderful vendor at a local craft bazaar who made ornaments from clay and I just couldn’t choose between two, so I got both.  One is a reindeer with a strand of lights tangled in his antlers while the other is a classic truck, much like my own 1955 F-100.

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TreeOrnamentNew2Although I love the look of themed trees seen in the magazines and stores, I still like having my eclectic grouping of ornaments at home because they remind me of the stories behind them.  Here are a few of my favorites.

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Still my #1 favorite, an Egyptian hand-blown glass ornament my mom got for me many years ago.

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I bought this little guy on my first trip to Kodiak. He’s lost an antler since then, but I still adore him.

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Found this at a craft bazaar in Kodiak and loved the simplicity of the design. I actually bought a few for my nephews too!

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Antler slice ornament with an otter I picked up at another craft bazaar.

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I loved the otter but also loved the reindeer on this one, which is why I bought both! I’m sensing a trend.. 🙂

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One of my top faves – The Grinch, which I ordered from another crafter.

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I bought this ornament for my husband to commemorate his time with the Coast Guard. He’s not super fond of it, but I am because it reminds me of his character and desire to help others in all he does.

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I don’t remember where this ornament came from – probably one I picked out and mom bought me, but I love the different designs on the deer.

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I picked this up on my layover in London on the way to Prague. Another great memento.

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The ornament my sister got us after our wedding.

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And the one my mom got us too!

Do you have favorite ornaments?  If so, what makes them special to you?