Monday, November 8, 2010

A Perfect Setting for Christmas Trees

The Halloween boxes have just been put away, and we haven't even gotten around to Thanksgiving yet, so why do I already have a Christmas tree post?  Christmas trees make me happy, and I feel like I need to get a head start on all the decorating projects, so I won't be stressed out in December and I can devote more time to cooking, shopping, friends, and most importantly, family. 

A bit of background is necessary here.  My mother always loved Christmas trees, even more than I do.  She made all of her own ornaments, using costume jewelry, beads, sequins, braids, trims, velvet, whatever she had at the time.  Hers were all different colors, but the ones I am using now are all white.  She insisted on putting up a tree every year, even when she was in her late eighties and early nineties.  My mother died on New Year's Day, 2009, and for the last two years, I haven't put up my tree in the foyer with her ornaments.  The first year she was very ill, and I didn't have the time or strength, and last year, I couldn't bring myself to pull them out.  This year I ordered a new tree, and yesterday I pulled all the ornaments down and started to go through them.  This is not my big tree where the family gathers Christmas morning, but this is a pencil tree I will use in my foyer with my mother's ornaments.  Here is what the foyer looked like before:
Since I don't move the table, I have just enough room for a slim tree.  I will use the black and gold fishbowl as a tree base.  You could also use a large urn.  The next photo shows the arrangement I used last year and the year before instead of the tree.

To use the fishbowl as a base, I took an old coffee can and put cardboard pieces inside, and then placed the tree base inside.  I added marbles, you could use rocks or something else heavy, and made sure it was in the center of the fishbowl.  Then I added more cardboard pieces around the coffee can, and stuffed every available space in the fishbowl with heavy brown paper, like paper grocery bags or heavy brown paper.  Then I added the remainder of the tree pieces.  For added security, sometimes I use green Velcro tape and secure it to the banister. 

The tree is secure, and this picture is with the lights off.  I like to decorate the tree with the lights off, because I feel I can see the placement of the ornaments a little better, and if it looks good when it's not lit, it will look great when it is!

Most trees now are pre-lit, but if you add lights, make sure to wrap the branches up and down, this gives the tree a nice depth.  I added ribbon just to catch the light.  The best way to do this is cut the ribbon in small pieces, it is much easier to work with and you can hide the beginning and ends of the ribbon pieces behind branches.  It just looks as if the ribbon is winding in and out of the tree branches.  Another way to add depth to your tree is to decorate "inside" the tree, not just on the branch tips.

I also add icicle garland, again to catch the light and to give a shimmery feel to the tree.  This ornament is decorated with sequins, pearls, and silver braid. There are no two alike!

Pearls . . .

Can you see the bird--upper left?  My parents had these on their tree when they were first married.

It's not necessary to decorate the back of the tree, but in this case, I do because you can see it when you come down the steps.  If you need to put your tree closer to the wall, you can just flatten the branches in the back, it's not noticeable.

At the top of the tree, I use shiny branch-like stems all the way around the top.  You will see a better example of this when I decorate my main tree.  I think it gives a "crown-like" appearance to the tree-top.

Try to hide the cords, if possible.  This tree had a heavy green extension to it, so I hid it with a gold cover that's sold to hide computer wiring.

I think a Christmas tree is a very personal thing, and each and every one are beautiful.  Thanks for taking the time to look at my "memory" tree, it is very special to me!  Can't wait to see yours!!


  1. Hi! This is such a beautiful post...both the tree and the special memories! I find myself looking forward to Christmas this year more than I have in the past. As the years tick by I'm becoming more and more aware of making these special memories... like the one you've shared!

  2. The tree is perfect there. It is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a beautiful tree...I love how it sparkles with all those lovely handmade ornaments.

  4. It's so stunning...I use slim trees too...they are so easy to fit in your decor without moving and moving!


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  5. Love this Christmas tree. It is gorgeous and it is perfect there by the stairs.

  6. That's a beautiful tree. I understand how you feel. My dad was buried on Christmas Eve when I was a teen. He was 50. I still remember that terrible time when Christmas rolls around.
    My mom died on my 50th bday. We never forget, but they wouldn't want us to not celebrate.
    I do a tree in my dining room with lots of white battenburg angels and other angels. I think I like it better than the main tree!

  7. Hi! I just came over from Met Monday where I knew that anyone who was posting about Christmas already was going to be a kindred spirit! :-) I just got my boxes down from the attic and have begun the "change" in my home too. Yours is absolutely gorgeous and I just had to stare at it all for awhile to soak it all in! Your home is so lovely and elegant and I need to go look through your other posts to try and see more of it!
    P.S. I'm a new follower now! :-)

  8. Very beautiful and your foyer itself is very gorgeous... Ornaments added a real beauty to it.

    Hope you would like to pay a little visit to me at
    Love Farah

  9. Oh this tree is breath taking in your beautiful foyer! This is my first introduction to your blog, so it is perfect that my introduction is in your foyer. I feel as if I've been invited into your home for a wonderful Christmas party. I can't wait to see the rest of your Christmas decor. laurie

  10. Very beautiful!! It fits perfectly by the stairs!!!

  11. This is just beautiful! What a treat to walk in and see such a beautiful display! I'm getting warmed up for Christmas decorating, but not ready yet. This is definitely inspirational and motivating!

  12. What a perfect tree for this space!!!! AND, it brought back memories of MY Mother who made some ornaments just like you have on this tree!!!! When I pist my tree I hope you will see them!!!! I love the pot you put the tree in too! Can't wait to see your main tree too!!!!!! XO, Pinky