Of Christmas Trees


Remember last year’s hanger tree?

ALL of the kids mentioned that tree this year. It was a desperate, make-do idea when I couldn’t see putting up a real tree by myself and had no money to buy a decent-looking fake tree. And yet I think it’s the one the kids will always remember. Morgan wanted me to do it again this year, but over the summer, I’d ordered a nice slim-style, pre-lit (!) 7-foot tree. It sat in a box for months, waiting, prepared for the holidays.
I had Morgan and her boyfriend put it up one evening before everyone descended for Christmas week. It’s still up because I haven’t talked her into taking it down yet and I can’t work up the motivation to do it myself. This tree doesn’t hold my attention. It’s a perfectly lovely tree, but it’s boring.

For a number of years, I’ve had real trees. My favorite was the one Ross and Weston cut down in the woods on my cousin’s farm.

It was too big, too bare, too misshapen, but free, and like the hanger tree, it had personality and character, unlike a Christmas tree-farm tree from the store or an even more perfect fake tree.
I’ve come to the conclusion that “regular” Christmas trees aren’t for me. Putting up a Christmas tree requires effort, and a too-standard tree lacks the inspiration to motivate me. I don’t think I’ll put up a hanger tree again–that was almost too special of a memory now to repeat–but I know that next year, I will do something different, something that will be remembered, something that can inspire me.

Meanwhile, who wants to come over and take this one down? Anyone? Is your tree down? Any great “different” tree ideas out there?


  1. BuckeyeGirl says:

    As far as our family is concerned you have a free pass at least till the 6th of January Suzanne! That’s the Feast of the Epiphany and we call it “Little Christmas” It’s another excuse for some nice bakery, usually sweet buns of some kind, (We always make babka, either in loaf or buns, a sweet yeast bread with raisins) A nice dinner, not on the level of turkey and trimmings, maybe a roast chicken though! Also, the sharing of small gifts, I’m talking very small, but always the chocolate coins, but we never did figure out another substitute for the frankincense and myrrh.

  2. GA_in_GA says:

    Our tree is still up, but definitely, absolutely ready to come down. Needle shed is passing moderate and heading toward maximum. I will be happy to take yours down, if you will reciprocate at my place. 😆

  3. ladybird_1959 says:

    My tree is DOWN!! I really didn’t want to put one up (I have a nice artificial)but I have to grandbabies and felt like I needed to do it for them. For several years I didn’t decorate or put a tree up, but once the oldest granddaughter was two, I felt bad about not putting up a tree. I just don’t get into Christmas like I did when my kids were younger. It seems like too much of a chore to put up the tree and take it down. Who knows what next year will bring. I might turn into scroogette again.

  4. SarahGrace says:

    Leave it up for a while longer. The Christmas season goes through the 13th of January. Ordinary time starts the 14 of January, so in all honesty it’s too early to take it down! 😀
    No ideas about different, creative tree ideas. This was the first year we put up our big tree in several years because we didn’t have room for it until we added onto the cabin. It was wonderful getting out all of our Christmas decorations and ornaments. We tell the story behind each ornament. Remembering all those special moments, special places, and special people is one our favorite moments of Advent and Christmas.

  5. cinderbama says:

    I love feather trees but a unique twist is the kind made for a table top out of real feathers glued to a cone foundation. You could make a table top tree from your own chicken’s feathers. And since I am a librarian I am partial to “book” trees (https://www.bookliciousblog.com/2010/12/christmas-trees-with-bookish-twist.html).

  6. Pam full of joy says:

    I’m with you Suzanne about Christmas trees being work. Now that my daughter is grown and out of the house, if she’s home for Christmas and wants a tree–get must be here for the whole shebang–buying, lighting, decorating, undoing it. She has chosen that only once in the past ten years. I was more faithful about a tree when she still lived at home–even if I didn’t make her participate in every step.

    I’ve skipped several years without a tree. Put out a bowl of ornaments and call it good. I have stuck found limbs in a bucket, strung colored lights and Christmas cards I’ve received on it–particularly with money for such things that year. I’ve taken a hefty log from the yard, wrapped it in aluminum foil and put white lights on it. That was a fun one. This year I decorated the mantel with purchased garland and objects from around the house–a few ornaments, too. It was plenty and fun and will be easy to undo whenever I decide “be gone”.

    Hangar tree is fabulous. I am sure you’ll come up with another found-object tree in the future. I think they are the most fun.

  7. Pam full of joy says:

    Well I didn’t type that well–the bucket/limb tree was when there _wasn’t_ money for such things.

  8. cabynfevr says:

    Mine is still up and probably will stay up until the weekend. I love real trees but I’m allergic so we have a small, 5′ artificial tree that fits nicely in the corner safe from the Labs tail. I don’t think it’s the tree itself that is special but how you decorate it that makes it memorable. I seem to remember you having spectacular trees decorated mostly with orange slices and cookies. I loved the pics of the 4 legged kids enjoying the decorations!

  9. Granma2girls says:

    After 36 yrs. of real Christmas trees, I’ve had to say this was the last year for a real tree. We used to make it a tradition to go to the local greenhouse and pick out the tree with the kids. And even though they were from a tree farm, they were never perfect. Crooked trunks, bushy bottoms, bare spots are the norm. As long as it had at least one “good” side, and the right size, that’s all we cared about. But a debilitating back issue makes it too hard to crawl under the tree and water it everyday. Getting an artificial one is not my preference, but I can’t think of an alternative. Look forward to seeing what you do next year,Suzanne!

  10. brookdale says:

    Suzanne, your tree is lovely! It’s special because Morgan and her friend decorated it. Remember, it’s not the tree, it’s what’s on it. I didn’t see your homemade orange slices or gingerbread man cookies this year?
    I’ll bet you have some Christmas-y trees somewhere on your 100 acres. Perhaps next year the boys can go out again and cut down a nice one for you. From your own land!
    And, ours is still up too. The house looks so bare when it is gone, I leave it up as long as possible. We now have a skinny, fake, pre-lit one, because of my allergies developed with “old age”. But it looks pretty with all the old favorite ornaments on.
    Happy New Year to you and yours…

  11. mamajoseph says:

    No. My tree is still up, but pretty sure Mr. Wonderful will take it down in the next few days. He took on the job of Christmas decorator several years ago. I’m glad he did. I’d rather focus on cooking.

  12. falnfenix says:

    this year, we opted for a fake tree because we had a puppy (who is no longer with us, but that tragedy is another story for another day), and we didn’t want to deal with him drinking the water/peeing on the tree/whatever else we could think of.

    so we pulled out the ratty 50s-style silver tree, bought branches for an aluminum tree from the 50s off Ebay, and got to decorating. all ornaments on the tree fit either the spacey theme we went with or they’re from Nightmare Before Christmas. i even found one of those leaded glass spire tree toppers to go on top. we completed the look with rainbow bubble lights.

    the tree took the least effort of all the trees we’ve put off, and i like it the best.

  13. MMHoney says:

    My tree is put away. I want it up the weekend after Thanksgiving and down right after Christmas. I love to turn off the house lights and play my special Christmas music and dream of all my lovely friends and how truly blessed I am. If you can’t stop and count your blessing – I will do it for you!!!!!

  14. StuckinMiami says:

    I love the idea of Floating Christmas Trees. You can take tokens throughout the year and hang them in a tree pattern with fishing line. Then as you look at each item you remember that incident from the year. Then each year you simply add to it. A special rock you find out in your field, the broken halter from Glory Bee. a piece of a horse blanket for your horses. There are even clear ornaments that you could slide pieces of these items into if you prefer a ball shape to your tree. A piece of this tree for next years Christmas….

    Just an idea for the future.

  15. Linda Goble says:

    I just took ours down 2 days ago. I think it depends on the type of artificial trees. We bought one last year that really looks real. Even my sister said this year that wow that tree looks real for a fake tree. After disasters with the real ones in the pass I had enough and went artificial. This is my second artificial. First one wasn’t as nice. I love it that it is prelit and comes apart in 3 different sections and stuffs back in the box. I also set my tree in a old antique wash tub that my dad bought me.

  16. Jersey Lady says:

    Just leave that tree up all year.Change the ornaments to match the season or holiday.If it takes up too much room,put it out on the porch or out in TheStudio until next Christmas. If not,you are good to go at least until Epiphany,Jan 6, since that is the 12th day of Christmas.

  17. RosieJo says:

    After my M-I-L’s sudden illness and death in the month of Nov. we decided we were going to give ourselves a break and decorate “lightly” this year. After all, both the daughters have big trees at their homes so the g-kids wouldn’t be missing out on anything. We put up the Nativity sets and began wrapping gifts. Since we have a new dog who chews anything inappropriate all the gifts were placed on the game table where the tree would normally go. As we progressed with the wrapping we noticed that the pile of gaily wrapped presents took on a pyramid shape that grew taller and taller. Finally someone noticed the gifts had taken on the shape of a tree…no Scrooges live at our house. On Christmas day all we had to do was hand out the gifts and HURRAY, the tree was gone. A new tradition for our family.

  18. joykenn says:

    Wow! What a list of Christmas tree ideas and traditions. Also, a librarian’s special thanks to Cinderbama for the link to “book trees”.
    We’ve done the cut down your own tree (til all those places got made into suburbs) and now have a nice artificial tree. After buying one “special” ornament each year, saving the kid’s handmade ornaments, getting ornaments as gifts, I now have more than 4 boxes of them. Something has GOT to go as I’m running out of space. No grandkids yet, no daughters-in-law (get going you guys and get me some females to help!) I can’t wait til I can pass some of these memories on to the next generation. Such memories as we take down and put away 1993, the first christmas ornaments, 1981, Radko from a friend.
    Whatever you decide to do about a tree–real, artificial, bought-from-a-lot or green clothes hangers, it really IS the memories that last, not the perfection of decorating.

  19. gardnerh says:

    We live out here in Christmas Tree country. There are tree farms everywhere so getting a tree in not very expensive – you can find them for $10 or less. One farm was even giving them away because they were retiring and selling out after 40 years of growing. We cut off several of the bottom branches and used a 20 gallon crock as a tree stand this year – I loved it. The tree, sadly, is down. It was getting a little dry and we were going out of town and leaving the boys to take care of the house (didn’t want it bursting into flame).

  20. SuzieQ says:

    For several years I had a bare twig tree. We cut several small sweetgum trees with lots of branches near the tops. Cut down to 8′ lengths and wired/screwed them together to form one big tree. Used LOTS and LOTS of lights and there was plenty of room for all sorts of beautiful decorations. They looked like something from a fairytale and having no needles could be left up as long as I wanted. The entire big front window was filled up and strangers would always ring the doorbell to ask “what kind of a tree is that”? They were always invited in to examine the tree! The trees were beautiful and cost NOTHING!!! I miss those trees and have to make do with an artificial one now, but boy were they BEAUTIFUL!!
    :snoopy: :snoopy:

  21. sueann37 says:

    Sending a link to some Christmas Tree ideas. https://www.trendytree.com/image-gallery/2012-raz-christmas-trees

    I was going to do the one with all the houses, but we have a new rescue kitten( 3 or 4 months old). So,we only put non breakable items on the tree and would you believe, he pretended the tree wasn’t even there. Oh well, next year. :wave:

  22. jodiezoeller says:

    Our artificial tree is still up. I downsized on how many of my ornament collection went on the tree, with no breakable ornaments, as I have a cat now. We’ve only been doing a small tree for the past several years, but this year I wanted to celebrate in a bigger way. The pre-lit artificial tree looks very life like including having some spaces like a real tree… so its not perfect. Plan to take in down Sunday 1/6. If I wasn’t married, it would stay up permanently. I love having a tree up with small lights to light the room at night.

  23. catslady says:

    I loved your hanger tree. I have never had a fake one in over 43 yrs. A real one is a heck of a lot more work but I think it’s worth it. Unfortunately I didn’t get mine up until the 23rd and needles are falling down like rain. I will have to get to it this weekend.

  24. Jen says:

    There are so many fun repurposed Christmas trees. Have you seen this one yet? https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/2011/12/making-of-2011-stepladder-christmas.html

    I’ve also seen some pretty ones made with a tomato cage turned upside down.

  25. MousE says:

    I know what you mean about ‘boring,’ there’s something about a real tree…. I prefer a real one too but they have become way too expensive, and as I live in a city there’s not a lot of alternatives. I hated my last artificial tree and have given it to a theatre for use as a prop. But I did find a nice little one at Ikea of all places – it looks like a sparser Douglas Fir, which I like, and the branches are wrapped in brown, and it’s not all perfect and proportioned. I quite like it. But it isn’t the same. It is safer in an apartment though. Real ones, if they dry out, are an extreme fire hazard.

    I usually put mine up before or by Xmas Eve, and leave it up till the first weekend of January…. just because. =D

    When I was a kid, it was a big deal to go to the Christmas Tree lot on Christmas Eve and stay up quite late decorating it. I tried that once with mine, and boy was everyone tired and cranky the next day. This explains a lot of the drama we used to experience at that time of year! Anyway I keep it simpler now and still manage to find a moment or two of magic in the season.

    Happy New Year to you!

  26. guernsey_girl says:

    We always buy a real tree, the kids won’t allow anything else, and leave it up till at least Epiphany (cool to see that others have that tradition as well). I just hate to to take it down ’cause the lights are so pretty at night! We also have a small silver tree from my mother-in-law in the kitchen. We used to put red balls on it until our cat got the idea to knock them off until we fed her:)

  27. yvonnem says:

    I took my tree down on New Year’s day, always heard it was bad luck to take it down before then…? I put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I started to not put it up, because it is really a lot of work by the time you drag the tree out of it’s storage (or in from outside), ornaments and lights, not to mention stuffing it back in the box and putting everything away. But, I do thoroughly enjoy it while it’s up.

    I also have a pre-lit, second year for it. Previous years, we bought from a tree lot and always brought home a beautiful fraser fir. This artificial tree I have very, very closely resembles the fraser, but I miss the real ones. I could leave it up for about five weeks without it losing many needles at all.

    Your hanger tree from last year was truly a fantastic idea…who knew it could be so pretty? I loved all of the ideas posted today.

  28. FrannyP says:

    One year we were preparing to move right after Christmas, so instead of having a tree, we had a bowl of lights! We filled a cut glass bowl I had with a string of colored lights and put it in our front picture window. I loved it, but our neighbor who worked at a nursery couldn’t stand the idea of the kids not having a tree and brought us one for free.

  29. Jane L says:

    I never have a tree, so no need to worry about taking it down – makes life so much easier. I don’t like artificial, I don’t like killing a tree for nothing, and frankly, I am over Christmas anyway! It was fun when I was a kid, but really, I just don’t want to know now. (I probably sound like such a Grinch!). My mother takes sticks and paints them gold or silver and strings a few lights through them with a few baubles. Very pretty and doesn’t cost anything.

  30. Canner Joann says:

    My favorite that I’ve done so far is really simple. It’s a standard fake tree, but it’s not bushy and full. It’s skinny and the branches are very sparse. I put 2 strands of white lights on it and then a few red cardinals (fake, of course.) I sprinkle fake snow over the entire tree and top it off with a cross I made of twigs from the yard. Simple, beautiful and representing the true meaning of Christmas for me.

  31. Jersey Lady says:

    I think the Invisible Tree I posted above could be done way easier than the way they suggest, but the idea is neat.

  32. Dawn says:

    a couple of years ago I was really sick ( bed ridden) and could not put up a tree – I was fussing because its just my adult son and I and I did not want him to miss out on christmas just because I couldn’t so he got out a jewelry display stand I had that was about 2 feet tall with a few arms but on all sides – he then strung 1 set of lights – hung some christmas stuffed animals around it and topped it off with a santa hat at the top – plugged in it looked wonderful and was just right for the few presents we had for the two of us.

    on the other hand – Ihave a friend who has a ranch and loves real trees but doesnt want to kill it by cutting it down – 40 years ago one of his sons noticed the perfect tree was the top of an 80 footer – he told the youngster that no way was he cutting down a tree that tall just for the top but after thinking about if for a minute he decided he just might be able to hit the trunk with his rifle – he tried and did – on the first shot – there was a wiggle and the perfect 6 foot tree toppled off the top of the 80 footer and a tradition was born. He has “shot” the family christmas tree every year every since and all 40 of the trees have lived on to grow.

  33. Katharina says:

    Live tree. Still up. Stays up every year until January 6th which marks the 12th day of Christmas.

  34. GrammieEarth says:

    Loved the hanger tree, love the invisible tree too.
    No tree here this year, not even the balls on the outdoor tree 🙁 Too busy with work, and I had put up three trees for older clients!

    Since the grandkiddos weren’t going to be here (I was there) through the holidays, it was ok for me. I stuck my fake poinsetta’s throughout my grape ivy, hung the polar bear runner on the inside, front door and called it done! Now, I’m looking for the time to take it all down 😆

    I usually have a natural tree as it’s much better for the environment ++. My rule of late is ‘no taller than me’…I’m getting older too you know 🙂 Next year I think I will have my oldest grandpeep (4)to help cut one ‘no taller than him’! 🙂 I expect that to change in a few years LOL

    Calm, happy and healthy 2013 to all

  35. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I think I like the twig tree idea, either painted white, or gold, or not painted at all… but I think painted with lots of lights. :yes:

  36. Sonia says:

    Well, what about a tree made up of dead tree branches…really neat ones of all shapes and sizes that still have the moss or those fungus thingies still attached. Gather enough of them to form a tree and for the trunk, use green carpet moss to wrap around and give it that really nice beautiful natural look, or use some other natural material. Also, maybe some Spanish moss draped on some of the limbs to give it that bit of splash. This type of tree would look awesome with white lights and beautiful ornaments hanging from the bare limbs. Oh, and get one of those tiny wind chimes or a small bell so when the tree catches a draft, you can hear a little tinkle as the limbs sway. If you really want to go all out, use an old root ball as your tree base so it will look like it grew there naturally. Oh..another idea, place some little tree fairies here and there on your tree to give it that whimsical look, and at the root base, a tiny little Hobbit house. I can picture this tree right now, and it looks beautiful! I do not think I would ever want to take it down, 🙂

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