Friday, December 4, 2009

Putting up the Tree

The countdown begins – just 3 weeks until Christmas. I’m thinking a lot about getting a tree. We’ve had a lot of different trees in the last 29 years. Artificial trees are very beautiful but lack the fresh smell of a real tree. You can get the freshest tree by cutting one down at a Christmas tree farm but that takes a lot of time and effort. I like to choose one on a lot although it can be a challenge choosing a fresh tree that hasn’t been artifically colored.

We usually put our tree up about now and take it down sometime after Christmas. It usually doesn’t make it until New Year’s Eve. We cut off at least an inch of tree at the bottom and soak it in a bucket of water overnight. Then we wrap it in an old sheet and bring it inside and place it in a stand. The sheet keeps most of the needles from being shed all over the place on the way inside! I save the cut off branches and make them into a centerpiece. I use an initial mixture of 1 tsp bleach, ½ cup corn syrup, and 1 quart of water to help keep my tree fresh and then keep the reservoir filled with fresh water. They soak up a lot of water the first few days and more if the air in your house is dry.

I start decorating by placing the angel at the top of the tree. The angel needs to be attached to the lights so I get it arranged first. Then I put on the lights. The secret to a pretty tree is putting lots and lots of lights on it. I put them on vertically starting at the top if I have a full tree and I want to make it look taller or horizontally if I have a skinny tree that needs to be filled out. I like to mix in a strand or two blinking lights. Next I put on a few garlands. My husband and I usually put the lights and garlands on together but we decorate the rest as a family.

We like to make a party of finishing the decorations. We have 29 years of child made ornaments and other nostalgic ornaments to put on. We get out some cookies and hot chocolate, put on some Christmas music, and let the memories begin. It’s an awesome tradition and our children always love this part of Christmas.

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