When I was growing up my mother loooooved to decorate the tree. Always a real tree. Always. With its imperfect branches and sap covered needles that eventually fell all over the floors. She used colored lights and too many ornaments and let us help her decorate it which meant they were never evenly spaced. Ornaments from years and years of preschool classes and souvenirs and random treasures. The final touch was tinsel, the stringy silver stuff that lived in the vacuum cleaner year-round.
I'd tell her that someday I would have a fake tree that was perfectly shaped and didn't make a mess. I would use simple white lights and ornaments strategically planned with a color scheme in mind. They'd be perfectly spaced and there would be no messy shiny tinsel.
My mom would always tell me that I was welcome to have that tree someday - in my own house.
This year is my first Christmas in our new house. We got a fake tree with white lights and I put pearl trim on it. It's semi-sparsely decorated with gold and green balls that I purchased at some random craft store on sale. It's exactly what I had envisioned year after year as a child. Precise and balanced and pretty.
But it turns out my mom was right. You need the tacky colored lights and too many crazy, random, memory-filled ornaments. The tree should smell fresh and prick your fingers as you decorate it with all kinds of happy clutter. You need a cross-stitched tree-skirt that never matches anything. And you need the damn tinsel.
Lovely image via the flowerchild dwelling