Most folks, they have boxes of ornaments they’ve had since they were kids. Dozens of trinkets with historic, sentimental value. I think those kinds of trees are special for kids. They establish tradition, and encourage storytelling. Not to mention, kids’ ornaments are often a part of the tree (I know mine were), which sparks creativity, and shows off the results in a perfect fashion.

I…always felt like those ornaments were an obligation that tied me to one tree forever. I think my sister has the childhood stuff, if any of it still survives. Me, I always wanted a designer tree. Instead of creating memories with individual ornaments, our whole tree marks the year.

I finally started in 2005. Unfortunately, I wasn’t great at documenting my efforts at the time.

Victorian Tree, taken with Bill’s Christmas Holga. Remember when they were a thing?

My first tree was Victorian themed. I created bundles of bulbs, silk roses, and ribbon, and interspersed them throughout the tree. I filled in the gaps with bulbs, fruit, and single roses.

A slightly better pic.

At the time, I called it my “Martha Tree,” because I felt like Martha Stewart.

Putting together a tree like this is expensive. Really, really expensive. Thus, we had the Victorian tree for several years. It’s still a favorite. Yes, I have kept all the stuff for all the trees so far. I may have to rethink that in a few years.

My next tree didn’t happen until 2010. I’d been wanting a “Merry & Bright” tree for a few years, so I was able to think ahead, and raid the post Christmas sales.

I thought of this as “Merry and Blight” KC liked the fleece tree skirt.

I hated those paper birds so hard.

My first shot at Merry & Bright was not happy making. It was limp, and to me, it looked thrown together. Yeah, I’m my own worst critic. I thought I’d make some pretty paper birds to fill in gaps on a budget. I think I finally threw them out this year, because I hated seeing them.

After that, I went back to the Victorian tree for a few years.

Back to Victorian for 2012

I would not be defeated by Merry & Bright. I was determined to get it. In 2013, I think I did much better.

Ah, that’s much more cohesive

Colors were grouped, rather than scattered, giving a rainbow effect. Don’t remember being nuts about this tree at the time, but looking back, I like it.

I have no pictures of a tree in 2014. I’m gonna guess we went back to Victorian, because it’s our go-to. But I do remember what happened  after Christmas in 2014. I was going through the bins, and saw something pretty and purple. I decided I must have a purple tree. I filled two (maybe three?) carts with deeply discounted purple bits. I had learned that more is better. You don’t want to be scrambling to fill gaps, and a full tree looks more professional.

Purple tree

I love this tree. It used some stuff from the Merry & Bright. It also re-uses a key idea from the Victorian tree: flowers.  Almost anything can be a Christmas ornament, if you have enough of it, but this is especially true of flowers. Even a tree with tons of daisies would be cool. Hey…60s tree?

As we were browsing through Home Depot that season, Bill saw some felt ornaments he really liked. They were expensive, and didn’t go with anything, so we left them there. But I remembered. After Christmas, there were still tons of them, and they were cheap. I thought they’d work with a Nordic or Woodland type theme.  It’s been really big the last few years, so it was easy to find stuff…but I didn’t.

Don’t buy one ornament. Buy at least 30. Not kidding.

Instead, I made the rest of the ornaments myself (with help from the Spousal Unit). Little felt critters and bundles of “frosted” pine cones.

Foxes, bears, and owls

I adore this tree, even though I wasn’t sure about the ornaments when Bill spotted them. As with the Purple tree, nothing is breakable. I’d had enough of shattered glass ornaments.

This year, Bill has been eyeing things I would describe as Mid-Century Modern…which is a fantastic theme for a tree, but I’ll have a hard time finding retail items. I better get making stuff.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *