12.08.2013

It's All About the Tree - and Not ... at the Same Time

When Cason and I got married, we were lucky enough to be gifted one of his parents old Christmas trees. It's a great tree, 8ft tall, beautiful... and BIG. I swear that sucker is about 5 feet wide. Well, after our decision to move Cason's big ol' lovely piano into our front room earlier this year, we literally had no room for that huge, gifted Christmas tree. So... I started looking for another one (taller, skinnier and maybe even frosted or flocked) that we could use in this new space, and thought about how awesome it would be to have TWO amazing trees to choose from for Christmas each year!

Fast forward 3 weeks later, and I'm standing in the middle of the Tai Pan Christmas tree section, crying my eyes out. Why? Because for the past 21 days I had been researching and shopping for that "perfect second tree" with absolutely no luck. Sure, my perfect tree existed, but only at the pretty penny of about $580-$750!!! There was NO WAY I was going to spend that much, even if I DID have the money.

Call me a brat, call me tired, out of energy and totally OVER having sick kids for the past 2 out of three weeks that I speak of above, (which is probably why the crying really ensued)... but YES, I let my obsession with decorating, and the pressures of what people would think in blog world COMPLETELY overshadow the fact that even though (for me) Christmas decorating is ALL about the tree - it TOTALLY WASN'T at the same time!!!

As I drove home that night, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why should it matter to anyone but me and my family what my tree looks like? What do people do who can't fit the "tree of their dreams" into their tiny apartments or smaller budgets? Have you really lost sight of what this whole holiday is all about?

This made me cry a little more... and then I went to Target (which always makes me feel better, ha!), used an old gift card that I had been saving, and bought this little ensemble. 

Yup... a tabletop Christmas tree, a cute bucket to put it in and even two ruffly curtain panels that I ironed out and rigged up on my little round table with some pins, to make it look like I had a layered ruffly tree skirt underneath it all. 
DIY ruffled tree skirt - thehouseofsmiths.com
ruffle curtain panels, tree & bucket from Target

The next day I made a few trips to gather up some pretty, new embellishments, so I could pair them with a few we already had, and the twins and I got to work.
white pompom garland  + metallic bursts - Michaels, disco ball ornaments - Tai Pan, star tree topper - Target
We even got creative and started wrapping the majority of our presents with gorgeous gold and silver supplies that I got from HomeGoods, and a recent flea market that I attended. Most of our (family/Mom & Dad) presents are now ready to go, and really, all we have to do now is wait for Santa to bring HIS special toy for each of us! ;)
Pillow - Target 2012

Usually our tree and present wrapping takes DAYS, but this year... just a quick Wednesday afternoon!

I LOVED it. Who knew?

Sure our tree is a little small, a lot less fancily flocked and maybe even a little strange looking for this space... but guess what? It's JUST A TREE! Only a SYMBOL of what our family has come to love and cherish, about this time of year.

It also now represents a story, a humbling memory and a big learning moment for me. Maybe I'll get a chance to snag that freakishly fancy, flocked, ginormous tree I was dreaming of, at a big clearance sale after the holidays are over, for next year... and maybe I won't. At this point, it doesn't matter. All I know is that I'm thrilled that Christmas is almost here, my decorating in WHOLE only took me about 2 days of errands and staging, and now, I can just sit back, enjoy, and take it all in.

No more drama, no stress, and definitely a lot less mess :)

xo

50 comments:

  1. Exact same situation here except substitute piano with bringing out all things baby for baby #2. We found a 6 ft pencil tree at hobby lobby. It has about 4 ornaments on it and I absolutely love it!

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  2. LOVE this sweet reminder. Glad you had an epiphany and were able to find the perfect tree for your family right now. It's adorable and sweet just like you!! I'm living vicariously through your current vacay pics because it's icy and freezing where I am. Smiles, Whitney

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  3. I have been there, done that. The year my mom died (2001) I had to get a new tree, so I researched until I was sick. I was so stressed. I realized it wasn't about the tree...I was just sad my mom.

    Hugs to you...have a sweet Merry Christmas!

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  4. Amen! It's so easy to want everything to perfect and beautiful for our family (and us!) when the beauty isn't in the tree at all. Thanks for a great reminder & for keeping it real-xo

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  5. We just have a little Christmas tree because we live in an apartment. It's only 4 feet so we only have room to put the sentimental ornaments on it and for that reason I LOVE it! While we plan to get the big tree when we get a house I think we will always decorate this tree as well. It was the first tree we had as a couple :)

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  6. Absolutely love this post! Your tree is lovely.

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  7. So glad you had that moment, as hard as it was. First of all, your tree and skirt idea are beautiful! But, you are right. Christmas and the tree are about you and your family, not about people on the internet. It is so easy to lose sight of what's really important when you are bombarded by images of what appears to be "perfection," but in the real world nothing is perfect and all that is important is you and your family and the memories you create. You work so hard at all that you do, be proud of that. Happy holiday!!

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  8. Christmas is also my favorite holiday, even though now I live in Argentina and instead of a white Christmas we have a hot Christmas, it really helped me understand that ALL of it is symbolic and the center of it - Christ - is what's really important. I love your tree! Have fun on your vacations!!!!

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  9. I was in the same boat this year. We have a HUGELY (😊) wide tree, and I dreaded putting it up it took so long. So I went to my local Trees N Trends and got a skinny 7 foot tree for $40 after the discounts!! Took 1/4 the time to decorate, I love it!

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  10. It's beautiful! Christmas time can get so stressful for us mommas, glad you decided to work with what you could and make it special. Merry Christmas. :)

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  11. I can't help but focus in on the photos on the wall! You guys look gorgeous!

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  12. I love this post so much! The meaning of Christmas is often lost in the hustle & bustle. And, your tree looks fabulous!

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  13. A Charlie Brown lesson! It's not about the tree. Xoxo Merry Christmas

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  14. Wonderful idea! So happy you did this for all of us who hate dragging out the big tree.

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  15. I think it's absolutely perfect!

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  16. I'm with you on this one. We have lost the meaning of Christmas and this is the first year I left half of my decorations in the attic. Only the tree and a few other things and actually, I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! Don't get me wrong, I love all the decorations I have collected over the past 30+ years, but how much do you need to remember the reason for the season. I love your tree and how you used gold. So sparkly. Beautiful!!!

    www.mylifeabundant.com

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  17. Good for you to get beyond the tree! There are families that can't even afford to have a tree and ornaments all together. I resigned from my job 2 months ago due to stress. We are on such a tight budget that we most likely will be baking goodies this year in lieu of gifts for ourselves & family. But you know what? That's ok because I'm not stressed, we are able to pay the bills on time and we have each other and our families. This year will be different but not every year will be this way. It's a reminder to think about how many others have less than we do and what we can even do for another family. We've got our tree up and it's beautiful! And yours is too! :)
    www.shopgirldaisy.blogspot.com

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  18. LOVE it! And, especially, love your wisdom. Thanks for sharing it. And, the gold and silver gift bags and boxes are stunning!

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  19. Gorgeous! I love how beautifully your gifts are wrapped!

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  20. whoa, those prices are insane for a tree! I want to see your newly updated photos up on the shelf! love the coordinating wrapping :)

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  21. Just wanted to say that we have a small living room with not much room for a tree. I only do real trees - so each year my hubby goes out and gets me a nice SMALL real one that is about 5' tall and super skinny. We don't even care if the branches are all even. We kind of like that they are not perfect. All of my decorations have been given to me as I was going up (one Hallmark ornament each year!) and they mean more to me than a super matchy tree.

    I am pregnant with our first child and I hope to carry on the tradition and buy him a decoration each year too. Maybe in the future when we have a bigger house I can have two trees - one all designer and one with our family ornaments.

    I love your tree and I think it looks so perfect in your living room :)

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  22. Your tree is sooo pretty; It all came together beautifully, and because it stands on the table it gives the illusion of being a full-sized tree.

    Family and relationships are much more important than stuff, as you know.
    I want to be wise, as in...

    "The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
    Proverbs 14:1

    Love built the house of smiths!
    God Bless!






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  23. I love how your tree turned out! Christmas is my favorite time of year and gold and silver decorations just have a special place in my heart! I also really like how you incorporated family photos as the backdrop to your Christmas tree.

    Lauren,
    http://www.atouchofsoutherngrace.com/

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  24. I love it! I have had a table top christmas tree for 4 years. I couldn't afford the 6 foot flocked tree, so I bought a 4 foot flocked tree and it sits perfectly on a round table!

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  25. I don't think it looks strange looking for your space! I love it =) Merry Christmas!

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  26. Yea for your family! This is a beautiful tree and what a nice afternoon with your girls. Lovely!

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  27. I think that was a fantastic idea! I love your tree...we had to buy a new one this year and opted for a prelit LED tree. Um, yeah, it was expensive! If I use it for like EVER then it will be worth it.

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  28. This is adorable! I love the wintery photos in the background and the music paper in the gift bags. The magic really is in the details!

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  29. We had a similar issue this year. We had always used the gorgeous, feathery, sweeping to the floor, hand-me-down tree from my husband's parents but it is huge. After building a new wall shelving system with fireplace this past year and rearranging all the furniture - we had no space for that huge tree. I found a beautiful tree on www.christmastreemarket.com. It's the 7.5' Asheville Slim Pine Christmas Tree. It doesn't sweep to the floor but it does have several types of branches and is really full/lifelike. They had sales in early November when I bought it so I'm not sure if they are still on sale. I love your solution but check them out if you are still interested in a tree for next year.

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  30. I love how your tree turned out! It makes a great story and memory. Love your pictures in the background, too.

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  31. Hi there, I'm Caitlin. Long time reader, rare commentor just because of the sheer numbers of comments you get per post!

    This post made me happy and sad all at once. I've been blogging for roughly 2 years on my current blog (I used to blog before it was even a 'thing'!). Nowadays, blogging has turned so competitive - probably because of all the sponsorship out there. When I started reading this post I felt so sad. I couldn't imagine worrying what your readers would think if you had a less-than-Martha-Stewart tree. It made my heart break for you, and any blogger who feels that much pressure from something that's supposed to be fun. But as I read further, I saw you came to this realization as well and I was happy to read how much your family loves the decor this year!

    I just wanted to say... don't lose sight of why you blog, what your blog is about, and what it all means. Who cares if you don't have the 8 foot tall Christmas tree that receives 400,000 hits from readers. You have an authentic tree that your family loves and it means something to y'all. That right there is a huge blessing!

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  32. This is EXACTLY what we did! Big trees are great fun, but to store it and all the decorations for 11 months of the year - just wasn't worth it. I feel so validated! Thank you!

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  33. you're amazing. Your blog always makes me smile.

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  34. you're amazing. Your blog always makes me smile.

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing this! My family and I recently downsized to an apartment when I stopped teaching in order to be a stay at home mom, and I was so bummed about not having room for our Christmas tree. It's been hard enough living in tighter quarters, but to miss out on a family Christmas tradition we cherish each year was unthinkable. You've inspired me! This blog post has taught me that small can also be beautiful, and the meaning can be the same. You're awesome, and I love your blog! -Yvonne Perez (Laredo, TX)

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  36. Thank you so much for sharing this! My family and I recently downsized to an apartment when I stopped teaching in order to be a stay at home mom, and I was so bummed about not having room for our Christmas tree. It's been hard enough living in tighter quarters, but to miss out on a family Christmas tradition we cherish each year was unthinkable. You've inspired me! This blog post has taught me that small can also be beautiful, and the meaning can be the same. You're awesome, and I love your blog! -Yvonne Perez (Laredo, TX)

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  37. Hey, I love it!! I love that story behind it and I LOVE the little tree with the ruffly skirt! I probably should've done that since my 9 month old is just about as obsessed with our tree as I am. ;)

    Oh hey, remember that one time you guys got new photos up on the gallery wall and didn't show us!?!?? :) Maybe I missed it. They look amazing from what I can see! You guys are stinkin' cute and I hope you have the best Christmas ever!

    xoxo, Mallory @ Classy Clutter

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  38. agh I love it! I always swoon over that polkadot wall as well!!!!! If only we were not flipping houses to get to our forever home, i have pinterest walls up the ying yang just waiting to come out to play LOL

    www.bonjourblissblog.com

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  39. It all looks beautiful! Im inspired by those gold dots and am loving your decorating for this christmas... Ive just been playing catch up and must say that living on the west coast of Australia I envy you having snow and the cold that comes with it! enjoy your holidays xo.

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  40. It turned out fantastic! Great job. By the way Happy Birthday sweet talented daughter! I am glad you got to enjoy some well needed R&R and sunshine before you jump back into your busy life again. Missed you guys. Love, Mom

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  41. Those Tai Pan trees are gorgeous, but I had a very similar sticker shock moment. I ended up with a much smaller simpler Walmart tree and am happy with how it turned out. But seriously, your tree is beautiful and now sentimental and that is what counts. You are amazing at doing creative things with what you have. Thanks for sharing this!

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  42. So beautiful!! When do we get to see the entire stocking wall?!??!! I see you put updated pictures in your frames! :)

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  43. This is a PRIME example of less is more. I LOVE that you have demonstrated how you can have beauty and elegance without a big tree! I'm glad you took the time to simplify. The holidays shouldn't be stressful. so when do we get to see the room as a whole? I'm dying to see your entire polka dot wall, with the stockings and new pictures!!

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  44. It's gorgeous. Nothing wrong with a little tree. I used to get real trees for years, then a big fake one but for the past couple of years have used a small tabletop tree. I think it's a little bigger than yours and we use all of our ornaments that we've used for years. Next year, God willing, I'd like to decorate it differently, but I'm loving the small tree :)

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  45. What a Sweet story and reminder of not letting the Hustle and Bustle get to you. Your tree is Beautiful and so very Precious!
    xoxo

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  46. What a Sweet story and reminder of not letting the Hustle and Bustle get to you. Your tree is Beautiful and so very Precious!
    xoxo

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  47. I noticed you changed out your pictures for winter as well... gorgeous. Trying to do that myself.

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