Anatomy of a Christmas Party: The Tree
I feel like the holiday vibe is in the air early this year. That said, this is the first in a little series of posts leading up to our annual holiday party where I’ll cover the major elements of pulling it all together and pulling it off. Since I got married this past summer, the theme for this year was making the most of what we already had.
Today we’ll cover the focal point for any Christmas party…the Christmas Tree! In years past, we’ve gotten our tree from the local Home Depot. Being that we don’t have a car and the store’s only a ten minute walk away, Conor usually ends up carrying a little tree home while I chirp at him asking if it’s too heavy all the way home. While it’s a charming experience to walk a Christmas tree across an overpass, this year my mom and I grabbed a slightly bigger one from the Boy Scout tree sale while I was home for Thanksgiving and trucked it back to Boston.
Here’s the tree in situ after a little rearranging in the living room. I’m taking this picture perched up on the corner of the couch so you can see that our living room is on the small side. I always like to make sure the tree is visible as soon as you walk into the room but, when you are hosting a party in a small space, you don’t want it to take up too much room. Since we have a small tree, I used a large ceramic planter from Ikea that we already had instead of a traditional stand. That way, I can use it for plants or a contained herb garden in the spring. To make sure it didn’t tip, I clipped some of the lowest branches short so they would fill up the planter and stabilize the tree. I hung onto the clippings, as you can see on the trunk above in another white planter, to use for making a door swag. More on that later.
I always start with lights. I know people have strong feelings about using colored or white lights for decorating. I grew up with multicolored lights every year and it always makes me nostalgic to have them on my tree. This year though, we had a couple of strings of white lights left over from the wedding so I decided to risk throwing the world off its axis by mixing them in. So it would look even, I strung the lights vertically, multi-colored strings first, a few inches apart and then went back and strung the white lights in between. I also try to set them back into the branches so the wires aren’t as prominent.
Garland comes next. I always get a little discouraged at this point since I feel like things look really wonky. I had picked up two strands of red wooden beads and one length of red berries at Target for about $19. I should have gotten more but I underestimated the amount of real estate on this year’s tree. To fill in a bit, I also used a string of silver beads I already had. Although that picture looks like a hot mess, I really like all the different elements in person. It adds to the eclectic/homey/traditional thing I was going for.
Once the ornaments were on I felt much better about the whole thing. I always put my favorite ones on first so they get the best branches and then move on to filling it in with everything else. Most of my childhood ornaments are still with my parents so this tree gets a bit of a random mix. There are some new and vintage gifted ornaments, some silver ones that I bought in a set from Target years ago, and this year I even threw in some grapevine spheres from a set of outdoor party lights. While having a tree that’s more color-coordinated and matching appeals to some people, I like a tree that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I like that mine has a bunch of different elements that have been collected over time and tells a story in a way. I think the holidays are stressful and expensive enough without worrying about if your tree is department store worthy.
Oh! We can’t forget about the tree topper right? Again, I was using what I had on hand and didn’t have much around for a crafty solution. I decided to cluster all my bird ornaments in a misfit flock at the top of the tree. Again, there’s a mix of some I bought, some vintage ones my mom gave me, and some that were given to me. It’s a little offbeat but I really like it. Nothing says Christmas like a peacock.
All Images by Kate McCusker for The Loud and Clear