Dec 13, 2009

giving up the tree

a few years ago,
i gave up on the tree.
if i were to grade 
my christmas tree 
based on the elements of good design,
it would get a solid "D".
maybe a "D+"
but still, it *for sure* wouldn't "pass".
 as a newlywed, i found great pleasure in 
looking at my perfectly decorated christmas tree.
it made me sigh and swoon.
it made me happy to look at.
but then, 
macaroni-noodle stars and pipe cleaner
snowmen started sneaking onto my perfectly coordinated, 
symmetrical and sophisticated tree. 
at first, i admit, it was a little hard.
as an interior designer, it was a little
like having someone stick a neon blue and yellow
lava lamp into the subdued and elegant room
i had just completed.
but then, 
i realized that the christmas tree
isn't about me, and my perfectly coordinated 
ribbons and symmetrically-placed ornaments and 
sophisticated color-scheme. 
it's become about our family.
and so, i let the kids pile on the 
 the pom-pom santa claus and popsicle-stick reindeer.
because now, looking at the tree makes them happy.
and that makes me happy.

besides all of the "crafty" kids ornaments, our tree
also has dozens of picture frame ornaments.

each one is filled with a picture of our family,

some from the last year or two,

and others from four or five years ago.

but all of the pictures bring back a great memory.

yes, even the one of little g-man crying.

and so, even though our tree isn't elegant 
or sophisticated or coordinated,
it's perfect for us.


  1. You don't have to give up your tree. . . my mom always had 2 trees. One was the "family" tree w/ our awesome, homemade ornaments, & the other was "her" tree w/ full symmetry & untouchables on it. Merry Christmas.

  2. jason,
    having two trees is a great idea. one day i would like to have two trees! merry christmas to you too!

  3. i couldn't agree with you more about this post. i was the same way prior to having kids. now, i love having their special ornaments on the tree as well. i am even going as far as to but the year on the ornaments, so when pulling them out years later, i'll know what age, etc. they were made. deep down inside, i realize i wont be getting homemade ornaments for long. they will grow out of it too soon. so bring on the pom pom noses, neon colors, and foil bells. :)

  4. Hi Autumn,

    I just found your blog and I'm having such a great time reading your posts! This particular one hit a chord with me because I have had the exact same issue! As my kids grew, I added more and more of their things to our tree. It went from a sophisticated tree to a mishmash of sorts. This year I have put up a second tree.I just love it and should have done this years ago! I picked it up on sale AND it's prelit! {the ONLY way to go!} It's tall and thin and holds my collection of angel ornaments. It stands in my foyer and greets people as they enter our home. My second tree is our original tree and is located in the den. It is decorated with all the kid's ornaments. It also has loads of their pictures. Each year I add another picture ornament so that I can "see" their changes. At this point I have 34 pictures! It's really my favorite because, like yours, each picture shows a different stage in their lives. Mine is not "professional looking" just a tree of love. Thanks again for sharing such great posts!

  5. sharlotte,
    thank you so much for your comment. it really is nice to know that other women have had similar struggles with "giving up the tree". and it's great to know that their is a solution! i think i am going to hit the after christmas sales and buy myself a small christmas tree that i can decorate all by myself!