I was always a Real Tree or Die kinda girl at Christmas time. I hate those fake trees and think they look cheap. Oh how little I knew. Every year, I'd drag a tree up my front stairs and into place and lovingly water it for a month and then stop watering it all together but feel like it didn't matter because I wasn't turning the lights on anymore anyways. And then some time in February I'd finally get rid of it, dragging it back down the stairs and to the curb. Leaving thousands of little needles embedded in my carpet until June.
But it was worth it. How could I not have a real tree?
And then one year, after Keith pointed out the ridiculousness of my wrangling a tree up those steps every year for just me, I caved. I picked up a nice artificial tree at Target's after Christmas sale. And I was converted. At leat for now. Maybe once we have kids, and a single family home that would allow a tree to be moved in without copious stairs, and hard wood floors, maybe then I'll go back to real trees. But for now I'm happy with my aritifical ones. Especially now that I've found these awesome little sticks that you hang from the branches of your artificial tree to make them smell like real trees.
Oh. Did you notice the use of the plural there? That was intentional.
It turns out that when I bought my first artificial tree a few years ago I made a fatal error and did not get a prelit one. Which means that every year we have to individually install each branch and then string the tree with lights. Really, the entire point of getting an artificial tree is convenience and this thing is definitely not. So Hubby and I made a vow that this year we would upgrade and get a pre-lit tree.
The first one I got (yep, first) at Christmas Tree Shop which required an hour long drive up to Haagerstown with Jen, but it was worth it because I was able to get a pre-lit 6 foot tree for $79. Quite the steal. And it had LED lights (not the kind that shine bluish but the warm kind) and said LED lights had the option of either being white or multicolored*.
*sidenote: when it comes to Christmas lights I am 100% white lights only. Keith is a huge fan of the multicolored lights. So he and I are having a Fairy Godmothers in Sleeping Beauty over Aurora's Dress style fight over the lights on that tree. When he's in the living room, they ware color, when I'm there they are white. I'm fairly certain that by the end of the season, they'll be stuck on the white to color chasing option and we'll lose our minds.
What's that you say? Mine is already lost? Fair enough.
The new tree lived in the living room, in it's box for about a week because I refused to let Keith set it up before Thanksgiving. On that, I'm a purist. It is not the Christmas season until after Santa Clause rides his sleigh down 34th street and into Macy's in Herald Square. No way, no how.
Cut to this past Friday, we're driving home from our Thanksgiving in Connecticut, planning our Christmas decorations for this year when Keith started talking about how he wanted icicle lights to hang on the balcony. I said that would be fine (little did I know he planned on buying multicolored icicle lights. Icicles aren't multicolored! It makes no sense!) and suggested we go to Wal-Mart since at 10:30pm, they were probably the only thing open. While we were walking around marveling over the fact that a store that had barricades out front to handle the Black Friday lines was now virtually empty, Keith stumbled upon a 4 foot pre-lit tree for only $25. He decided it would be perfect for our memory tree.
What is a memory tree you ask? Every year, we give each other an ornament that represents somethind that happened in the previous year. Last year I got Keith a pair of moose (he loves mooses) that are holding a sign that says Just Married and then a little sign with the year 2010. He got me a little gingerbread man holding a rolling pin that says "I love cookies" since I had just started this fun little experiment of baking cookies from scratch. Well, those two ornaments and a Mickey and Minnie on an engagement ring that he had given me in 2009 pretty much filled up my teeny little table top tree that I've had since college. So getting a nice 4 foot, pre-lit tree for $25 sounded pretty reasonable to me. And we were up to two trees.
While we were driving home from Wal-Mart, I was giddy with excitement over the fact that I had gotten a battery operated lit wreath as well as some bows and pine cones and balls to decorate said wreath and a lit garland. I mentioned that there were two Christmas decorations that I'd always wanted but never had. One was the decorated/festooned lighted garland and the other was a kitchen tree. I told him how I once had a boss whose wife had 25 Christmas trees that she would put all over their ginormous house and each tree had a theme. There was the classic tree with the fancy ornaments. The baby tree which featured ornaments marking the first Christmas of all their children and grandchildren and family friends' kids/grandkids. They even had a nativity tree which my boss' wife explained was a tree that had become kind of ratty and sparse over the years so she filled in the large gaps with nativity scenes and then was able to repurpose old nativity sets that had lost pieces by making the remaining pieces into ornaments. She also had a kitchen tree. It sat on her kitchen counter and was covered in cute little food and kitcheney ornaments. And I loved it. I feel like we spend so much time in the kitchen (especially during the holidays) why should all the decorating be left to the living room.
The next day, Keith went to Home Depot to pick up supplies to make his Christmas Village table (since I refuse to let him use the Dining Room table this year because we'll be having his family over to eat.) When he came home he told me he'd gotten me a suprise and produced another 4 foot tree (this one with a nice planter style base) that he'd gotten for $30 at the HD. He simply said "now you have everything you've always wanted"
I know, right?? I think I'll keep him.
And so, Kitchen Tree was born. To start all it had was a single cupcake ornament Keith had gotten me from Hallmark a few weeks ago, but after going through all my ornaments I was able to add a margarita, a martini and a jug of Oberweiss milk to it. I found this cute ornament kit at Michaels and a super cute set of Christmas themed ceramic measuring spoons that I converted into ornaments. I also put some candy canes on to continue the food/drink theme. I didn't need a tree skirt for this one since it has a pot but I created a star topper from an old ornament I had that matches my big tree topper, by essentially hog tying it in place (but with some silver twist ties)
While I got to work creating my festooned garland, Keith began opening boxes and assembling trees and pulling out decorations and all was going swimmingly. Until he stepped back from assembling the main tree and said "hmmm" Never a good sound. Turns out 6 feet is from the floor to the end of the last branch. Well, there was about a foot between the base and the first row of branches and the last branch was about 6" long. That little sucker is 4.5 feet if its an inch.
So I began fretting about how silly it looked in the living/dining room under the cathedral ceiling but Keith said it was fine and to not worry about it. Cut to a couple of hours later, I was still complaining about how wee the Christmas Tree Shop tree was and how it barely fit even his Disney ornaments and a lightbulb went off. We decided that it should be the disney tree. We later expanded it to include Claymation Rudolph, Shrek, the Grinch and Alvin & the Chipmunks ornaments. But it was the cartoon tree at the very least. I also included all of the big plain red balls I had bought last year when I thought my Christmas tree didn't have enough red in it. To finish it off, I bought a new star for the top and a new tree skirt that for some reason reminded me of Mickey Mouse.
But we still didn't have a main tree for all our classic looking ornaments. Off I went on a hunt for another tree. Since we'd already spent $135 on trees, I was trying to be thrifty, but i didn't want to end up with another midget tree. So I went to Michael's just to see what they had. I was shocked to see that their trees were all 40% off. Huzzah! I found a lovely 7 foot tree which was originally $209 for $129. I also got a little mini star for our memory tree. I then used up some gift cards I had from my birthday (thanks Sara and Alli) and brought my total for the trip to $78. It's a Christmas Miracle!
I have to say I adore this latest tree. It is absolutely perfect for our space. It is tall and skinny so it takes advantage of the cathedral ceiling but without spreading too far into the main living space. The branches and lights are super lush and our classic ornaments look really good on there. It just glows. I was able to use my old star (from Pier 1 that I bought 8 years ago, but I still love it) and my old tree skirt.
Now we live in a winter wonderland.
1300 square feet, 4 trees, 2 Christmas Villages, 2 humans, 2 dogs and a partridge in a pear tree.