What Is Your Christmas Tree Like? JFF

Updated on December 06, 2013
M.C. asks from Louisville, KY
27 answers

Growing up, my grandma had a lot of antique ornaments that were made by her grandma. She had strings of glass beads, birds, icicles, etc. her tree was ALWAYS blue and white, with a few coordinating splashes of color. It was a beautiful tree, really, but not much fun for the kids (we lived with her for several years) as we were not allowed to eat candy canes off of it, couldn't get creative when decorating, etc.

My "single person" tree was usually very bright and fun, and coordinated to look really happy and cheerful.

Now, the family tree ... It has character. That's about the only nice word I can come up with for it. Lol. It has a bunch of generic plastic ornaments that won't shatter if my DD happens to knock one off. Instead of being spaced evenly, or colors kept separated, the bottom half of the tree is full of clusters with 3-5 ornaments on he same branch. (Courtesy of my DD's creativity...) For some reason, my husband brought home some tinsel streamers, but not enough... So we have two different colors of tinsel kind of stretched around the thing. Also included are the ornaments my daughter has painted every Christmas for the last two years. (She is three now... So they are quite hideous. Lol.) oh, and we can't leave out the individual tinsel strands that we lost motivation to string individually and wound up throwing at the tree in hopes they wouldn't look too horrible. (And I am still sweeping up 3 days later...)

But, I have to say that I love our tree, in all it's hideous character. Even when guests laugh at it.;)

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answers from Danville on

My first tree out of college was a potted one and I got a spool of ribbon and tied bows on it (all I could afford). The next year, I had a cat, so I made more bows, and invested in wooden decorations over the years. Then, when I started having kiddos, I continued the 'wooden' ornament tradition.

Now, years later, it is a beautiful 7 or 8 foot tree...complete with the 'bows' from my first adult christmas, the wooden ornaments from kitten and little kiddo days, to hand made ornaments from the kids, as well as ornaments from my childhood days that my mom gifted me.

It is a beautiful tree to me! Sort of contains the history of my life - and my kiddos lives. Priceless...

Happy holidays.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My tree is pretty traditional. We have been collecting keepsake ornaments for about 17 years, so now most of the tree consists of those types of decorations. I also try to buy decorations on-sale after Christmas to have nicer decorations for the next year...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

It's matchy. All the ornaments are pink, red, green blue and silver. But who knows what it will grow into...We have only had a house to decorate for the past 3 years

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answers from New York on

Real tree with multicolored lights and just about every ornament is sentimental. Lots from my and my husband's childhoods, plus in addition to a special ornament I give the kids (and sometimes hubs) each year, my mother gives everyone in my family a small ornament each year. My departed MIL also gave us ornaments as gifts, and there are quite a few from godparents too.

So nothing matches on ours, but almost every ornament brings a smile.

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answers from Jacksonville on

We typically have a live tree between 8 and 9 feet tall. I like them narrower more so than fat, but usually is near the classic Christmas tree shape.

The lights are multicolored and I use tons. On average, a bit more than 1000 lights..last year was 1300 I believe (I bought the new LED ones, so I knew exactly at the time). I wrap each branch of the tree starting inside on the trunk and working outward. Lights normally takes a few days of work.

When I was single, I had a fake 6 foot tree and resorted to buying a couple of boxes of glass balls. Wasn't my favorite, but it was what I had. When husband and I met, and took our first trip together, I bought a Christmas tree ornament at our destination, and it became a tradition. Every vacation or trip we went on thereafter involved the purchase of a memory ornament. One for our GSD the year we got her. One from the place we honeymooned. One with the 3 of "us" (bears on a sleigh) the year our son was first with us for vacation in the mountains, etc.

Until I finally fell in love with some glass icicles at "The Christmas Place" in Pigeon Forge tennessee and bought them, there was not one ornament on the tree that was from a boxed set or like any other. Every one was separate and a memory.

Being that we have been married for 17 years, and 2 kids later... we have a few more boxed ones (more colored icicles that came 6 to a set), and some that have been given to us or the kids made at school, or were purchased for a classroom tree that were later returned, etc.

I never used plastic b/c of having little kids. Just was careful and kept a close eye.
I love beautiful trees. Ours quite literally GLOWS from inside the branches and you can see nearly every ornament if you sit and gaze at it. :)

Oh.. and I put a star on top. There is also garland. It is clear plastic diamond edged teardrop shapes (smallish) but when you get it on the tree and the lights turned on, it looks like diamonds and reflects tons of light.

Around Christmas, after our tree goes up, I take a picture and usually use it for my FB profile pic for the season.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

"Hideous character" sounds awesome!! I love the mental picture. I can picture you all throwing the last bit of tinsel on as your motivation and excitement dwindled as the night wore on.

As a child I remember collecting tinsel off of neighbors' christmas trees after New Year's when everyone kicked their tree to the curb. Great memories collecting and making tinsel balls :)

As for our tree. 3 years ago our beautiful,hand me down, artificial tree snapped in half. We were gonna dump it but the kids hollered to keep it. So we really decorated and kept the 1/2 tree. We called it our Christmas bush..there was no tapering...it was just the bottom half. Now talk about HIDEOUS. But it was fun and definitely had character. It will make for great memories in our kids' future...a great tale to tell.

The next year we decided to start getting real trees. Our kids never had one before. So now we go to the same local,family owned, tree lot and pick out a tree. AND....we get it flocked! Oh my goodness it is beautiful!! We love the white frosted tips that look like fresh,fallen snow. Makes it fun for this California family that never sees snow unless we drive a few hours :)

The kids and hubby help throw on pinecones, homemade school ornaments, Hallmark ornaments they each get every year from Grandma and grandpa, gold bows set near the little light bulbs so they shimmer, cinnamon dough stars I made 15 years ago when I tried to be a crafty mom(tried is emphasized), white lights and other odds and ends. It is a hodge podge haberdashery that turns out gloriously beautiful. When we travel we always get an ornament from the location. We love reminiscing about our world travels as we unwrap and hang those ornaments each year.

Thanks for the question. It is fun to read about everyone's trees...they really do become a part of our family for a month. "Did you feed the cat? Who gave the tree water?? Ok....c'mon...go feed the tree water...it is thirsty!!"

Hmmmm....I think I just came up with a new and fun idea...we are gonna name our tree each year. The kids are gonna have fun with this one. We will take a picture each year and and label it with it's name.

PS...just read about Wild Woman's bug infested tree...ugh..I never thought of that. Yikes! Hope the blasting of the "flocking" chemical killed any creepy crawlies.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Love it LOL! We have never, ever used tinsel. Too much mess and too much work. We have an artificial tree so anything that goes on has to come off easily.

So my tree is a pre-lit (white lights) artificial one that I bought when I lived in a 3rd floor walkup and had little storage space, so it's rather small (6 feet). I keep thinking I'll get a bigger one every year but then I see the prices and decide that my current one is fine.

I had a tree-trimming party the first year I had the tree so I have a bunch of unique ornaments from friends and some packages of several ornaments from friends. When my oldest was little I used to get him a Hallmark ornament every year until he was 5 - I didn't do that with the other kids so he has a nice little train set of ornaments that the rest of the kids don't have. I do try to get ornaments of all of the kids' names every year or so - little mini snowmen, Santas, bells, sleds, etc. I also have some basic colored, round glass ball ornaments. Then I have all of the ornaments that the kids make at school and Sunday school, and some cookie dough ornaments that my oldest and I made with a friend many years ago.

Aside from ornaments, I have pine cones and bows tied on some branches and I like to weave strands of beads and velvet and plaid ribbon in and out of the branches all around the tree. My tree topper is a lit star, and my skirt is silver.

Fun question!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We currently have a fake one with multi-color lights prestrung. It has tons of ornaments from my childhood and then ones the kids have made and collected over the years. Santa gets them a new ornament each year as well. I want a white lights tree for the front of the house, so maybe after Christmas when everything goes on sale :).

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answers from Grand Forks on

We have an artificial tree we have had for over 20 years with ornaments I have collected for more than 20 years. Our ornaments are all very commercial. We have Coca-Cola, M&M's, Pepsi, Campbells Soup, Lifesavers, Tim Hortons, Burger King, Canadian Tire, Warner Brothers, Disney, Spiderman, Star Wars, The Grinch etc. There are ornaments the boys have made over the years, and we give each of the boys an ornament every year as well. I love our tree because it is very colourful and fun. I let the boys put the ornaments on, but I rearrange them at night after they go to bed.

ETA: We also have sports teams ornaments-hockey, football and baseball home teams.

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answers from Dallas on

Yours sounds like a tree I could get behind and enjoy. :)
It seems to be all the rage around here to have perfect, immaculate, department store looking trees, and while I always compliment them and think they are pretty, it's SO not what I think Christmas trees should be for our family.
Growing up, we always had 3 trees: the "Charlie Brown" tree that was pretty beat up, fake, from the 70s when my mom was a divorced mom of 1 and didn't have any money. That tree was awesome: it had strands of red/green contruction paper loops stapled or taped together, multicolor lights, instead of tinsel we had FAKE strands of popcorn and gumdrops, our first ornaments, stuff we made at school, etc. It had a garish lit up star. My brother and I thought it was so beautiful, and loved putting it up. We had a big over stuffed patchwork skirt that my mom quilted: the only thing she ever did, but it was great and I judge all other skirts by it.
In the den (or formal living room, whatever you call it), was the "Mikasa tree": we had a tall real tree with all white lights, only crystal or red ornaments, and a pretty angel in a pretty dress on top. I don't remember the skirt but I'm guessing it was red or silver. Everything was crystal, some smooth and some cut specifically to refract light. It was impressive, beautiful, but not very personal or fun. I think beautiful and perfect trees are more for adults whose children have moved out now. At least, until grandchildren start making ornaments for grandma. :)
In the kitchen, we had a live potted fern type of tree (can't remember what it's called but I see it often around this time of year at some stores). That was our "Cajun tree". It had red pepper lights, we made little ornaments of the little bottles of Tobasco sauce (hot glued hooks on them) and wrapped dry red beans or rice in little squares of toile and tied little bows on them, we had some cool real crawfish ornaments, topped with a crawfish dressed in a little cotton gown and straw halo and wings. It was always a hit when people came in (we actually decorated it all year with whatever season was next).

For our house now: we have a big fat 10' tree and we love it dearly. It's got well over 1000 multi-color lights. Colorful seems more childlike, and to me this is a holiday that goes that direction, so it makes sense to me. Every single ornament has a story or "reason" for being there. We have a couple neat "world" ornaments and some Santas from different countries, some dolls of boys/girls from different countries all dressed up in their native dress that are so sweet. We have Hallmark or similar ornaments: we get one every year for each of us to commemorate what hobby we were into, an achievement, a trip, whatever from that year. The kids' favorite little toys from happy meals, too, make our tree. (Ice Age, Bat Man, Chipmunks, etc---when they are finished being played with, you can hotglue string and hooks to them). Each of us has our own ornament crates with our own ornaments (initialed and the year written very small on the bottom of some) so that they can take theirs with them when that time comes. Setting up the tree is my job mostly (lights starting at the trunk and working out as someone else described), that is tedious, takes a lot of time. But the next day is a little party where we play some music, make some wassail in the crock pot so it's slow and makes a delicious smell all through the house, we have some Christmas treats, and decorate all together. We do go through our ornaments and talk about them and rehash the stories, laugh, have a good time. I wouldn't have it any other way even if it looks NOTHING like a department store tree. The ornaments three feet high and down move around all year long---my little guy loves to redecorate his own ornaments over and over for a month. They get bunched up and all wherever he's looking at that moment of the day, but we don't sweat it. I have an "ok" skirt, just normal, but I look forward to someday (hopefully during 2014) getting a fluffy patchwork skirt done the way mom's was.

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answers from Washington DC on

we have an artificial tree. When I lived in Belgium - we bought a real tree - came home and our home was invested with bugs...it took us getting the house tented to get rid of all of them...NEVER will have a live tree again...

our tree has white lights and colored lights. Our topper is a star that our youngest son made.

Our ornaments are a mixture of old and new...many Hallmark and Coca-Cola stuff...foot ball (Patriots and Cowboys) and the like...it works for us...

I'd love to have one of those "fancy" trees - with the bows, etc...but not in my home...maybe when I'm old and gray!! LOL!!

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answers from Chicago on

I love our tree. Most of the ornaments are cheap Dollar Tree or Target ones, but each year my husband and I buy 1 ornament for each other, and the kids pick out 1 ornament for themselves. It has been a very nice way for us to fill the tree with some sentimental ornaments. I have my childhood ornaments as well, and my kids love to help put them on the tree.

My sister's MIL gets new decorations every Christmas. Each year she has a different theme for her tree.

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answers from Washington DC on

hee! well, ours is sort of pretty (great lights and a truly terrific train garden), but yeah, at this point every. single. ornament. is more about sentiment (who made or gave it to us etc) than aesthetics. and that's always been fine with me. i love unwrapping each old friend and greeting it with delight.
on the other hand, with the 'kids' now grown (although they still come home to cut and trim the tree, thank all the gods) i'm actually starting to think how nice it would be to ….. move away from the oldies but goodies and have a tree that's actually beautiful.
my dh is starting to push for an artificial tree. maybe this year will be the swan song of our family tradition up to this point.
:) khairete

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answers from Phoenix on

My moms tree has character like yours does. It has ornaments that I (I'm 46) made when I was little and ornaments my kids have made. Our tree right now is a pop up, pre lit and decorated tree. lol Super quick and easy. That one is in our front window and has been since the first part of October! (only because we moved over the summer and it was too hot still to unpack and organize the garage so when hubby came across it, I told him to grab it so we didn't' lose it again. lol) I haven't decorated a tree since my ex and I were married. So this year, since the kids are getting older, I thought I would. I bought a large artificial tree and last night my husband brought in some boxes with old decorations in them. I also have some boxes of my moms since she is in the process of downsizing and moving to a senior community. So it should be interesting to see what interesting things those boxes hold. I know for sure there is purple, blue and green strings of garland from the 60's that I still have from my grandma and I can't wait to string it up on the tree! I'm probably going to have a crazy looking, non-themed and non-matching tree but I know the memories it will have will make it FABULOUS!!!

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answers from Dallas on

We have an artificial pre-lit (multi-colored) about 10ft tree.

We just got it up yesterday and I have 1 spot all the way around where the lights are not working. :( I guess that is to be expected since it is about 7 yrs old already which has been a good lifespan for an artificial tree.

I have ornaments from our first Christmas together 25 yrs ago, assortment of ornaments which mean something to us... a tradition is to always get an ornament when we travel. Of course, I have some ornaments my daughter made when she was little.

Last year, when I removed ornaments, my daughter was about to turn 18. So I put all of the ornaments that had been given to her that were special, etc in a box for her. She moved out in August to her new condo and last week we purchased her first artificial tree.. 6 ft pre-lit clear lights. So the ornaments she will start out with are all hers and have meaning. She will also buy some of her own ornaments.

I have a beautiful large Waterford vase on my formal dining table and I put the oldest ornaments (multi colored balls) in that vase. It makes a pretty centerpiece!

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answers from Santa Fe on

Besides all the handmade ornaments our kids made, our tree is all about nature. We really are celebrating winter solstice. We used to live in a small cabin with no running water on dog mushing trails in Alaska. My mom who loves giving ornaments only gave us ones centering around nature and that is how it started. Our tree is decorated with pine cones, ornaments of bears, polar bears, whales, seals, birds, leaves, snowflakes rabbits, etc. We have little ornaments of a dog sled, a pine branch, snow shoes, and skis. We have ornaments made out of wood, antler and other bone. Like you our daughter puts too many ornaments down low in the exact same spot. But our 9 year old son puts them up high, so it all kind of evens out. I love our tree!

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answers from Washington DC on

Our tree growing up had a lot of sentimental and poorly made kid-craft ornaments. And tinsel. And garland. And an angel on top. For years it was a horrible old fake tree, til my then-SF got a new tree when I was in my late teens.

These days, we still use a fake tree (just easier, with our schedule and our cats) and it's still covered in mostly sentimental things (and a few of DD's toys). The skirt is blue because we have dark colored cats and it shows less hair. All the plastic ornaments are at the bottom. All the Hallmark and fragile ones up top. Topped with a star that DH had already. It's only about 7.5 ft tall, but works well for us. Both colored and white lights, some blinking, some not. No tinsel (cats) and the only garland is plastic icicles.

Sooo...you get my vote. I'd rather have an eclectic tree that has family memories than something I carefully planned and color-coordinated. I like those trees, but not in my house.

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answers from Detroit on

We always love our tree. Loved it when it had hand painted ornaments (that broke when the kids came). Loved it when it was a version of a Charlie Brown tree loaded with kid made ornaments and love it now when it's a chalk drawn tree on our chalkboard wall. I am currently stitching up a tree made of flannel tartan. So far, I am happy with this one too. Maybe it is the spirit. I have always loved Christmas. Even as a little girl I preferred Christmas over birthdays. I love the fact that everyone gets a present.

Happy Holidays!

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answers from Appleton on

Our tree is HUGE! This year it is 19 feet tall and has about 2000 white lights on it. It is then wrapped with red ribbon and we have a ton of ornaments. Most of our ornaments are red, some sparkly, some shiny, some matte, some even made of felt. I love when the tree is finished each year! It is a lot of work but worth it!

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answers from Detroit on

I think a tree with "hideous character" is the best kind! When we were first married I got some "sophisticated" silver and clear and white glass ornaments, burgundy garland and I wanted white lights, but we already had multi-colored. A FEW of those ornaments are still around, many have broken. IU have some from my childhood. My name is J. and we always had this ornament that looks like a small jar with a handle that says "Grandma J.'s Pickled Beets" Why anyone ever manufactured it I have no idea, but we have always had it, so I brought it with me when I got married!

Every year we all pick out a new ornament. There is no rhyme or reason to it, but we LOVE pulling them out to remember when we picked them out. I did start writing the year on them after a few years. I love remembering when my son was SO excited to find a ninja turtle ornament, the year he picked out a big blown glass boat with tinsel "water" coming out the back. There is the one from early in our marriage when my hubby had surgery and we found one with a Cat nurse taking care of a mouse. Hideous, but meaningful at the time!

I have one that is shaped like a tea cup. Inside it has a mouse baking with 2 little mice. I bought it in 8th grade after my grandma died. She loved mice and I have wonderful memories of baking with her. It always gets placed front and center on the tree.

Our star? Hideous. Gaudy. Hubby loves it.

I guess our tree has a lot of "character", too. And that is what makes for great memories. Martha Steward trees have got NOTHING on us!! LOL

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answers from Spokane on

We have a 9 foot pre-lit/white lights (can't have real trees anymore b/c of my allergies). My boys, 5 and 9, love to help decorate. So, like yours, our tree has a ton of ornaments around the bottom and middle ~ where they each can reach. I have red, silver, gold balls and gold ribbon and a red star. The ornaments are gifts, collected (the kids each get an ornament every year with their name/year on it. when they get their first home/tree I will give them their ornaments), homemade and crafts from school. And a whole bunch of candy canes!! I really do love our tree.
It took us forever to decorate it this year b/c we sat on the floor and looked at and talked about every single ornament. Where it came from, who made it, who gave it to us. It was so much fun!

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answers from Las Vegas on

Now that you mention it, my daughter's pink decorations are missing!

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answers from Huntington on

Your tree sounds great!
As a kid, I do remember one of the best things about Christmas was unpacking the old familiar decorations. And we liked best the ones that were cheerful and kid-friendly, not the "beautiful, do not touch" kind.

We have an artificial tree which I LOVE because I can put it up whenever I want rather than waiting for hubby to help us get a live one- the years we did that, we would not get a tree till the middle of Dec and by then I had been nagging so long my Christmas spirit was about gone. We have colored lights, a garland that looks like it is made of gumdrops, and all the decorations are bright colors like fuschia, turquoise, light blue, light green. We made a bunch of those ornaments painted with acrylic paint on the inside last year. There are several school-made ornaments as well. It is a bit overcrowded on ornaments but the kids felt sad if any were "left out". Lets face it, the tree is mostly for the kids!

I DO want to get one of those white trees that spins and has the colored lights shining up from the bottom- the kind all my grandmas had a zillion years ago! Not sure where I would put it, but I do think they are fun!

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answers from New York on

Ours is 7 ft and pre-decorated, but not pre-lit. It's got some berries and mini pine cones already in it. We bought it on clearance at Home Depot, and its doing its 3rd X-mas with us. Right now, its got a string of lights a snowman, a star, a sequin gingerbread house, and our elf on a shelf on it. It's topped with an awful angel (a starched cotton crotcheted thing from the dollar store gifted to us by my mother) both hubs and I are eager to replace.

DS and hubs will put the set of 75 plastic assorted baubles I bought at "lot less" on over the next day or so. They are different finishes, but all red and gold.

Nothing home made or highly personal on the tree as yet, but perhaps over time.

Our tree, BTW has decidedly fewer berries in the lower tiers, as over the past few years, DS has taken to picking them off. Cest la vie.

F. B.

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answers from Tulsa on

Our tree is like yours! I see so many pictures on FB of beautifully decorated and coordinated trees. My 2 year old helped us decorate, he decided all the ornaments he could hang (unbreakables) belonged in the lower left portion of the tree, so there's a huge cluster there and not much on the rest of the bottom since my suggestion of spreading them out was met with a sure "No, they belong right there". I wouldn't trade our tree for any other one though, he is so proud of "his Christmas tree!"

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answers from Parkersburg on

My trees over the years have been like you describe. Depending on the age of the child(ren) decorating it. Even as they grew up, we still used the ornaments they made a kids. I have never had one of those beautiful, nicely done trees that I see in pics. One year we strung popcorn and made paper chains out of construction paper. My tree now is a pencil tree that you lift up and then fluff. We had a 7.5 ft tree and we decided it was too big for the 2 of us to take down and put up (my nephew lives with me 13 now). We have a mixture of old and new, homemade items and glass. This year 3 great nephews ranging in age from 8 months to 3 yrs. Will def be interesting. I like to have the kids decorate or at least help so the tree is their tree. I figure you need to have fun with them while they are little as they grow up way too fast. :)



answers from Los Angeles on

My tree is pretty much a Disney tree. It is an artificial 7foot slim prelit with white lights. I have worked for the company for 13 years and every year we receive an ornament from the company. Plus we buy one or 2 every year. I also have ornaments from when I was little and ones my kids have made. I really dont have any garland or ribbon I add. It is a mishmash and in no way cohesive or designer. I am cool with that. I have a piece of red and green plaid fabric that is cut to be a tree skirt. I always want to make a really cute skirt but have never gotten around to it.

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