Saturday, December 5, 2009

Two Trees or One?




We haven’t bought our fresh Christmas tree yet. And now, with a beautiful snow falling outside, I think we’ll stay hunkered down and put off going to the tree lot until tomorrow.

A few days ago, Molly and I put up the Kids’ Tree. What started out as an homage to the tiny, magical tree my sister and I had on a table between our twin beds growing up, has turned into a 7 foot high artificial tree covered with the kids’ treasured ornaments.


I know the subject of a “Kids’ Tree” can spark serious and heated debate. I mean, is it to showcase their special things, or is it just a ploy by a control freak mom to keep pipe cleaner and felt creations off of the real, fancy tree? I would say for us, it’s a bit of both.

My mom was a florist and a great home decorator. When we kids finished trimming the tree and wandered off to do other things, Mom would get to work. She wouldn’t undo what we had done, but she would tie it all together. Strands of fake pearls or silver beads, white birds with ribbons in their mouths, tons of gold balls—she would find one way to unify the tree each year and make it the Best Tree Ever. Our kiddie creations were more than welcome there, but our trees always looked classy.

I mimicked her decorating style as an adult, and each year I’d have plenty of gold or silver balls, and as one boyfriend called them, “necklaces” on my trees. I was good at it, remembering to hang ornaments deep within the branches and never to skimp on the white lights.

What I hadn’t counted on was the sheer VOLUME of ornaments my kids would make and receive each year. My mother in law is a prolific supporter of Hallmark, so collectible ornaments abound. Combined with classroom crafts and our church’s Advent ornament workshop, the kids were hauling in about a ten new ornaments each per year. Do the math. My own contributions were personalized ornaments for each. Because I was traumatized as a kid when I couldn’t find anything with the name “Anna” on it (how times have changed!), I just can’t pass a “Molly” or “Jake” ornament up.

So, now we have the Kids’ Tree in the upstairs hallway, and the “Real” tree in the family room. I love how the upstairs tree is right in front of a window. In my book, that gets me off the hook for hanging exterior lights. The downstairs tree is more subdued with a lot of white, silver, and my decorative touches while the one upstairs is a riot of color.

I love the upstairs tree because I don’t try to control or “fix” it. I don’t move ornaments around. I don’t mind if there are New York Yankees ornaments, or Santas in Hawaiian shirts. We love going through the ornaments, remembering where each came from. A clothespin reindeer with one googly eye, a wooden apple from when I was a kid, Tom’s collection of Little Drummer Boys, Molly’s dough stars, and Jake’s golden macaroni picture frame. The tree itself is a little smooshed in the middle, or at least it appears so in this picture.









Some of the kids’ creations are on the tree downstairs, too. The most treasured are the Names of Jesus ornaments each child made in second grade. They are made out of paper, red yarn, and glitter, and they remind us why we are putting up the trees in the first place.

So, while our two trees sprang up out of the need for space for all these ornaments, they also allow me to keep some semblance of control over our home’s d├ęcor. This might not seem like a lot, but I feel as if I have so little control over the paper and clutter and dog hair that come into the house. It’s nice to have one tree look the way I’d like, and the kids love having a tree just for them

The staid silver balls and tasteful ribbons help ME enjoy our trees more, but it’s the quirky, one-of-a-kind ornaments that hold the most special memories for ALL of us. Nothing gets left out.

But those two molded plastic Mark McGuire ornaments my MIL got us in the 90’s? Whoopsie. I just couldn’t seem to locate them this year.

15 comments:

Masala Chica said...

Anna - I think it's wonderful that your family is growing so much history in its ornaments . . . i can't wait till we have to have two trees. I didn't use to think much of it when people bought me ornaments as gifts - now I cherish it so much. Thanks for sharing a part of your family experience!
Kiran

Kristina P. said...

I love the idea of two trees. I think that's such a fun idea!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I have never heard of a kid's tree before. Sounds very festive.

Love the idea of the necklaces on the fancy tree...

Brenda Susan said...

Ha! Great post! I put up pics of my tree that carries some plastic super hero guys on it even tho my "boys" are 23 & 27. They asked where they were, what could I do, I dug them out of the boxes I had saved for them to take when they get their own places & that is happening this month!!
Enjoy the kids tree while they are kids!!

Pretty Little Things for Home & Life said...

Currently. we have the "real" tree, my fancy one, in the living room.

There's a 2nd, smaller one, that I received as a child, that has the sentimental mis-matchy ornaments I had as a kid, in the hallway.

However, as soon as we have our basement finished, there will be another full-sixed tree down there. I antipicate that it will be the "traditional" tree, and when we have kids, that will be their tree to decorate.

I agree with you that it comes out of necessity, but also gives you a chance to have a "show" tree, and then one decorated with love!

heytheredearheart said...

Funny how it seems we'll always want a bit of Christmas for ourselves. An ornament with your name on it as a kid, and now two trees that together better reflect what you want Christmas to be today.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a kids tree too. Your kiddos' tree is perfect. Enjoy it while they are into it.

jbhat

Christy said...

We'll definitely being a kids tree in the future -- but only because I have too many ornaments for just one! I love the mismatched look and my ornaments are from all the over place, in tons of colors. I loved this post! And all things Christmas-related!

Aaron@CheapThrillsDecorating said...

I think having 2 trees is a tradition I'll have to adopt once I have kids old enough to care. I'm expecting my first and it won't be long 'til I'll have a ton of home-made ornaments that will need a place to hang.

K a b l o o e y said...

Beautiful post. I have to say, I wish we Jews got to incorporate ornaments somehow. I love the idea of a collection commemorating special occasions, the kids crafts, etc. I'm not getting a "Chanukah bush" and I can get a bit grinchy sometimes because I don't get to do this cool holiday tradition stuff.

Oonafey said...

I hope your MIL doesn't read your blog, LOL!

I think two trees is a fantastic idea.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oh Anna - you know how I feel about my tree... Control freak doesn't begin to cover it. Forget ugly ornaments - I have issues with placement. I had to tell Chris that he was no longer allowed to help decorate the tree - his sloppy ribbon ties and clumpy ornament arrangements got him voted off the island. I don't know what I'm going to do when the kids are old enough to help. I just don't think I can give it up... A kids' tree will be the best bet for us.

Hollywood Farm Films said...

Pretty tree!

Raquel, The Glamorous Life said...

i have 6 trees in my home so i obviously think 2 is a great idea lol... thanks for visiting my blog!

A Buns Life said...

We actually have 4 trees....2 small ones in each of the kid's rooms. (Pink and blue trees of course!) and a tree in the office with all of my husband's sports and star wars ornaments along with the hand-made ones....then in the living room we have all of the hallmark ones. We just can't get a tree big enough to fit everything! ;)