Today I am giving you a close look at each of our three Christmas trees. I hope they will provide inspiration and give you decorating ideas for your own tree (or trees) to add personality, meaning, and joy to your home this holiday season!
It’s a Three-Tree Christmas!
It was great to spend time with you on Thursday for our virtual holiday cookie exchange!
I hope you came away with some new favorite cookie recipes. I know I did!
It is not too late to join in the fun! The great thing about a virtual party is that it never ends, ha!
You can start with my Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, and then click through the links to see what my friends baked!
As I mentioned in that post, it was downright cold here this past week.
Thursday morning there was even sea smoke out over the ocean. That happens when the air is much colder than the water.
And there was ice covering the rocks as the tide receded.
I have been staying cozy inside — spending time by the fire and enjoying hot beverages.
The warm glow of the Christmas tree lights makes everything feel merry and bright.
This year we have three trees!
I decorated the living room tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Last week I brought out the tree in the guest cottage. And our new tree in the bedroom was done before Thanksgiving.
Today I am giving you a close look at each of them.
Each one is special in its own way!
The Living Room Tree
Our living room tree has undergone a big transformation in the last several years.
The Switch to an Artificial Tree
After our first Christmas here in Maine I switched from a real tree to an artificial tree.
With the kids grown and gone, it just wasn’t much fun to go and pick out a tree anymore. And getting it off the car roof, into the house, and set up was really no fun.
The only spot for the tree in the room is a tight corner, and Maine trees are fat!
After dragging that fat last real tree out of the house after Christmas, needles dropping all over the place, I was ready for a change. (I think there are still some of those needles caught between the floor boards!)
The next year I purchased a Balsam Hill 7 1/2-foot unlit Stratford Spruce, and it is still going strong. With its slim shape, it fits the space perfectly. The unlit versions are quite a bit cheaper than the pre-lit and allow you to get the kind and number of lights you want.
I am still an incandescent-light gal. And I like the ones that twinkle gently. Not the blinking ones! The twinkling lights are hard to find now, but I searched the internet and finally found them here. Maybe I should stock up….
With the lights on, it is time to decorate!
The Pinecone Tree
Last year, our first year without the kids home for Christmas, I decided to do a “themed” tree instead of our traditional family “memory” tree. I loved it so much, I did it again this year.
Inspired, as I always am, by the view out our windows and the fact that Maine’s nickname is the Pine Tree State, I had the vision of a tree covered only in pinecones.
Except to give it a little sparkle, I would also use glass pinecone ornaments I had purchased from Walmart over the years.
And to bring in the blue of the ocean, the pinecones would be tied to the tree with blue ribbon — velvet, of course!
I was able to simply tie the ribbon to the metal loop on the top of the glass ornaments, but I used a glue gun to attach ribbon pieces to different varieties of real pinecones.
For the topper, I wired a giant Sugar Pine cone with a big bow to the upper part of the tree.
The finishing touch was an ornament I found at a local store — an owl atop a large pinecone — nestled into the tree. Just one!
I love the simplicity of this tree. But also that it has a little sparkle to it. In my mind, it is both natural and elegant.
It just seems to go with the room. My favorite thing, though, is how it is an extension of the view out the windows. When I stand in front of the tree, facing out to the water, I can see the silhouettes of its live spruce cousins saying hello from across the harbor.
Shop this tree
The Bedroom Tree
As much as I love the Pinecone Tree, I missed all the collected family ornaments.
Especially since many of those ornaments were gifts from my mom. Every year she would give each of us an ornament. A hockey player, tennis ball, or trumpet for Jack. A ballet dancer for Zoë, and a swimmer for Leah. Almost always an eagle ornament for my husband. A cow or a chicken for me — depending on what my collection of the moment was.
I would also pick up an ornament when we went on a trip, or as a memento of a favorite place or a significant happening in our family’s life. So many ornaments that bring back memories of summer vacations spent on Nantucket, my cousin’s wedding on Majorca, a special trip to the Athens olympics. And now, a collection that depict my life here in Maine.
Each of our pets through the years has a spot on the tree.
And of course there are ornaments that the kids made when they were little.
There are even some ornaments from my grandmothers’ trees and from my husband’s mom and grandmothers.
So this year I decided to get a tree for the bedroom to display all these treasured memories.
I chose a 6-foot King of Christmas Noble Fir, unlit of course! I love that this tree, with its open branch structure, looks a bit like a Charlie Brown tree — in the very best sense! It is shaped like a tree that you went out in the woods and cut down yourself. Simple and sweet.
I placed it in a cylindrical wood container (more elevated than a bucket and with no handle) that I found for just this purpose at a local antiques store. It ties in with the dark wood tones of the bed and dresser. Get creative with the tree container and look for something that reflects your style!
There was some leftover foam insulation in the basement, which I cut into pieces and wedged around the tree base to secure it. I know that there are tutorials out there on how to make a concrete tree stand in a bucket, but this worked for me!
Time to decorate the tree!
Decorating the Tree
Since the tree is more open, with fewer branches, I knew I wanted to really light it up.
I used a total of 500 incandescent white lights to wrap each individual branch. It took a while (and I don’t even want to think about how difficult it will be to unwrap each branch). But the beautiful glow it radiates was definitely worth the effort!
I used a smart plug for the lights, which connects to Alexa. They are scheduled to come on at dusk each day and turn off at 1 am. So each night I go to sleep with the Christmas tree aglow. It is truly magical. And on those cold dark mornings I can ask Alexa to turn the lights on from bed. So cozy!
I might leave the tree with just the lights into January!
If the Pinecone Tree represents Christmas Present here in Maine, then the bedroom tree, with all its memories, represents Christmas Past. Both are important to me and combine to define this magical season of light.
The Guest Cottage Tree
The guest cottage gets its own little tree! One just for fun!
A few years ago I discovered and was lucky to partner with Craftspring, an amazing small business.
Located in Brooklyn, NY, they partner with women artisans in Kyrgyzstan to create the most wonderfully whimsical handmade felted ornaments and other home decor. And they are currently expanding their collaborations to artisans in Palestine, Morocco, Afghanistan, Madagascar, as well as adults with disabilities in the U.S.
Craftspring is women-owned, fair-trade certified, environmentally responsible, and “committed to spreading joy”.
I love everything about this business — including their ornaments!
The small tree in the guest cottage has a Maine theme — lobster, anchors, fishermen/women, a Bean boot, a lighthouse, a seagull, and more.
I got the tree from Lowes. It comes with the option of colored or white lights — I go with colored for maximum joy.
I added a few pinecones a red-and-white-checked ribbon, a wood-bead garland, and called it done.
Be sure to visit to the Craftspring website. You will be absolutely charmed. And you will probably go down a rabbit-hole.
I did just now when I was getting the link for their site. I will definitely head back over there when I finish writing this blog post!
This Week Into Next
There you have it! Three distinct Christmas trees.
I hope I have inspired you to give your tree (or trees) their own personality.
Like your home, they should have meaning for you, regardless of current trends.
And they should definitely bring you joy.
We will see a warmup this weekend, so I plan on hanging my outdoor wreaths and greenery.
After I hit up a few holiday craft shows, that is!
I love giving gifts that are handmade. And also supporting those creatives who make them.
On Sunday evening, I will be joining a group of talented fellow New Englanders to spread some holiday cheer on Instagram. I know I am biased, but there really is nothing like the holiday season in New England!
I hope to see you over on the ‘Gram!
And by the time I post here next week, I should have finished decorating the house! I am thinking of sharing with you the small details that are sometimes lost in the big room pictures. Those are often my favorite part of decorating for the holidays!
For those celebrating, I wish you a happy and blessed Hanukkah. May you find comfort, hope, and some measure of joy in your faith and family during this difficult time.
Peace and love,