The countdown is on! Only a few more days until Christmas and I hope that you are feeling more excitement than stress, more peace than pressure, and more joy than sorrow. Christmas is not an easy time for everyone, something I think we often gloss over. I am praying that the celebration of the birth of Christ fills you with deep contentment this season, no matter what context or situation you find yourself in. I am having to cash in on that prayer, myself, these days as we wait (sometimes patiently and sometimes not) for the arrival of our daughter. Waiting is hard! So, to take my mind off things, shall we take a spin around this year’s Christmas tree?
I am so excited for the years of trees adorned with mismatched, homemade, colorful ornaments that tell the story of our lives, of our family. Mitch and I have already collected a few- we try and get one from every place we visit or vacation- and someday, we’ll have enough to fill an entire tree and then some, I’m sure. For now, we’re having a good ‘ole time picking a “theme” of sorts and going all out. This year’s? PINK-IFIED!
In honor of little miss T, I thought it would be fun to have a pink Christmas and deck out the tree with all things pink, gold, silver, and shiny. You know me- I’m not a huge pink person, but I have to admit that it was a lot of fun to have an excuse to try something new, something I normally wouldn’t have gone for. Admittedly, it might be my favorite Christmas tree we’ve had yet. But who am I kidding? I say that every year.
We are in the camp of those who set their tree up on the early side. Every Thanksgiving weekend, we head out to the local tree farm to chop one down and bring it home. Not to rush through Thanksgiving (I LOVE Thanksgiving and am not one of those people who listens to Christmas music before it comes… cough, Mitch), but we have found that with as much effort as it takes to get and decorate the tree and as fast as the Christmas season tends to fly by, it’s so nice to be able to enjoy the decorations for as long as possible. So we air on the side of an early set-up every year and it has worked for us so far.
This year, we had a beautiful day for tree cutting- not too cold, but brisk enough that it didn’t feel wrong to be Christmas tree hunting. I love this local place… they always have Christmas music playing, a fire going, free hot chocolate and beer, and a tractor ride up and down the hillside if you’re not up for the walk (which was tempting this year, I have to admit)… what more could you ask for?
Here’s our 2016 pick! It’s just crazy to think that next year, we’ll be snapping this photo with an almost-one-year-old in tow…
Back home, we set it up in the family room… all it took was shifting some furniture to make enough room in front of the window. We don’t really have many options for a tree location in that particular room with the way it is currently set up, but we’re really happy with the end result. It’s so nice to have it partially in front of the window because you can see it glowing from outside. Plus, keeping it in the family room means we can enjoy it from the kitchen as well!
For decorations this year, we did a mix of using what we had and buying a few new bits to play up the pink theme. My favorite addition is the paper chain that I made out of scrap book paper. This paper has gotten its fair share of mileage in our house this year… it’s the same paper my mom used to craft an adorable onesie garland for our baby shower and it’s what I used to line the drawers of the dresser in the nursery. I love the gold and pink combination and looping link after link together to create one long chain to wrap around the tree ended up being the perfect foundation for the rest of the decorations.
Ornaments-wise, we used all of the white, gold, and silver ones we already had and then I went on a pink ornament hunt and came up with a few fun options. Some fuchsia “icicles” add some depth to all of the other light colors. Those mauve sparkly ones caught my eye in Michael’s and I love the way they glitter among the Christmas lights.
Finally, on a trip to Goodwill, I stumbled upon two packs of mini paper lantern string lights on sale for $2.50 each… one in a classical sphere shape and another in a star shape. The nice thing about our Goodwill is that they get a lot of overstock from Target, so often you can find things there that are still on shelves for full price at Target! I figured I could pop the paper lanterns off the string of lights, add a wire hook. and use them as ornaments and when we’re finished, I’ll just reattach them and we’ll have the original string lights back!
For the base, we continued the faux sheep skin tradition (ours came from Ikea if you’re looking)… the fact that it looks like a soft blanket of snow gets me every time. And to top things off, the nativity set! This one is actually a combination of probably three sets… over the years, I just kept my eyes open in thrift stores for like-pieces until we had each of the characters. Nothing technically came together, but we managed to accumulate ones that look similar enough to pass as a single set. I think it was a couple of years until I could track down a “matching” Baby Jesus, but we’ve since got it all sorted out.
Now let’s talk presents… this year I went a little nuts with the pink theme. Hey, why go through all the trouble to decorate the tree one way, only to throw a blue snowflake package underneath and mess the whole thing up? 😉 If you’re going to work a theme, I say go big or go home. So pink and gold presents it is this year! All I did was grab a few rolls of wrapping paper (Hobby Lobby often has them for half off) in coordinating colors… don’t worry, I limited myself to only getting a couple and making sure they were ones I’d use again in the future. There has to be some self-control to all of this, after all. Throw in a few bags and ribbons we already had on hand and we’re all set to go!
Mitch was a good sport, following suit and wrapping my gifts with the same stuff. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make him switch out a red and green bag for a pink one, though. Hah! I’m married to a saint. I love, love, love how it all turned out! The brown paper, playing so nicely with the white and gold spotted, which sets the stage for the pops of light and hot pink here and there. Who knew? Maybe I’m a pink fan after all!
During the daytime the tree is certainly pretty, but nothing can compare to the glowing, show-stopping version that takes over our family room at night.
THIS is what I’ve been waiting for since the day we moved into this house… the feeling that it is finally our home. This scene brings me so much joy and rest… in fact, there have been more than one case where I have come out here in the wee hours of the morning when I can’t stand the tossing and turning anymore and don’t want to wake Mitch. I have loved turning on the tree, lying on the couch, and just enjoying the peaceful glow. It’s been my happy place this season and I am thankful for the small wonders that seem to make all of the difference in the world, especially when you need them the most.