Monday, December 19, 2011

28 Happy Holidays: The Christmas Tree and a Ripple Effect

Today's post is a little bit of this and that.  A small tangent post if you will.  It's been awhile since one of those hasn't it?  It's mainly about our Christmas tree, but it comes with some more live time house updates as well!

I know that you may be thirsty for organizing projects galore, and trust me, I itch when I go a week or two without organizing anything.  In fact, the chances of that happening are quite slim.  Except during the holidays.  I am so busy getting my house in tip top shape, planning events and gifts, attending holiday programs, writing out holiday cards and decking the halls, that organizing moves down on the list a smidge.  Plus, it's important to me to be spending time with the family through it all, since I know how the holidays can become too crazy and that just isn't fair to the littles.  It's supposed to be a time of happiness and joy and not about hustle and bustle.

So far in our little holiday edition I have created a card display:

And a little dining room holiday display:

So where is the Christmas Tree?

Well, if you check in on our family blog at all, you may have seen that we picked up our Christmas tree last weekend.

We got it home and realized that it was a little on the big side...

We get a real one every year.  It's tradition.  And I LOVE the smell.  I have always gotten a real tree since I was a little lady, and I just haven't been able to make the switch to artificial...  And I love that my 5 year old thinks he knows the difference between a Fraser and a Balsam....

But, it was what it was.  And although it would be trimmed down a little bit, it wasn't going to shrink.  We just needed to be smart about how we were going to use our living space with a GIANT tree in the room.

Here is what we had started out with on the other side of the room:

If you have been following for awhile now, when the lower level flooded, we brought up our giant sectional, since it provided more seating than our previous couch did.  It's been working OK in the interim, sure, it's huge, but it's great to have the seating space!

But huge couch and huge tree don't agree with one another.

So even though the family room in the lower level still needs some trim work finished up, we decided to switch the couches back around to make room for the Christmas tree.

Here is the after of the ripple effect, and how it will probably remain moving forward:

The space really opened up by removing the large, dark and heavy piece of furniture.  Everything fits so much better now. 

What's funny to look at now is how the room looked just before the flood....

Those built-ins really just made such a happy difference in our home.  I still smile everyday because of them!

See, told you, tangent....

Here is a view of the room looking back at the tree, all decked out!

Notice, I stuck with the same theme as I did for the holiday display in the adjoining dining area.  Lots and lots of color.  I am a color addict.

For as much as I love a good arts and crafts session, I just didn't go that route with the tree this year.  Remember, I am trying to manage my time.  And crafting for the tree didn't make the cut.  But decorating the tree with the kids did.  As in, they pretty much did it all, I did the top with a stool, but they managed the lower level.  They were good color clumpers.

We just used inexpensive and unbreakable shatterproof ornaments that had lots of bling to them:

I did put a couple of glass ones up higher... just because I loved them so!

For those looking for an inexpensive gift idea.  I wanted to share one of my most favorite Christmas presents ever.  My bff snuck my kids away one day and had them make me ornaments.  She painted their hands white, and stamped them onto a bulb.  Once the paint dried, she turned their teeny tiny fingers into little snowmen, and wrote their name and date on the back.  Melt. My. Heart. 

Try not to cry after receiving that gift.  Not possible.

And some pretty tree topping ribbon finished it off...

So there you have it.  Our holiday decor and more home progress, thanks to a little Christmas tree push. 

Anyone else get their tree home and realize that your eyes may have been bigger than your room?  How did you handle it?  Or lets chat about hand made gifts that brought you to happy tears!  What are the best tear jerking gifts to give?


  1. Awwww... what a awesome Christmas gift idea!!!

  2. We got a 7.5ft artificial tree as a wedding gift (a very unique and much appreciated gift!). When we went to set it up on our first Christmas it was juuust below the celiling of our rental house with no room for the angel! In our new house we have 9 foot ceilings so it's not an issue.

  3. I love it Jen. Everything looks so bright and cheery!

    We had the opposite. We under-measured and our tree is short!! I like big trees and was a little disappointed but I still think it looks pretty.

  4. Beautiful -- and those handprint ornaments are ADORABLE! Love.

  5. awwww it looks beautiful!!!!! My favorite tear-jerker of a handmade gift is the letter my husband writes and puts in my stocking every year! Its a recap of the entire year from his POV and always makes me bawl like a little girl =)

    Everytime I look at your gorge green living room I always miss our FL rental which was a similar hue! It was always PERFECT for the holidays and so earthy year round! =) Might have to stray from my grey a bit ;)

    happy holidays lovey!

  6. Where on earth did you get the basket that is on the lower shelf of your coffee table? I need something like that for ours! It seems to be a junk pile spot and a big basket would help so much! PS- Love your decorations! I love color for Christmas as well!

  7. Everything looks beautiful!

    I totally copied your card display idea and linked back to you on my blog! Thanks for the idea!

  8. One year we got a tree that was WAY too tall, scraping the ceiling too tall. We chopped as much as we could off of the bottom and then hacked off the top. The solution to having to chop off the top of your tree, put a santa hat up there. It looked pretty cute actually. That was a good year. =)

  9. That snowman ornament was so special! I love to give gift that have a meaning. This year I am giving such a gift to my sister-in-law. While visiting my house last month she spotted a picture of her mother, who she lost to cancer in 2009. Her eyes watered as she held the frame. For Christmas, I simply had the photo copied and bought a special frame for it to go in. It was an inexpensive gift, but it will be priceless to her. Can't wait to see her face when she opens it.

  10. I'm glad we are not the only ones who rearrange furniture accommodate our tree. :-)

  11. Beautiful tree....I really like the ribbon cascading down.

    Where did you put your console table/desk temporarily during the holidays while the tree is there?

    I am totally enjoying our space I rearranged to fit our tree! I'm planning on keeping it even afterwards. :-)

  12. awwwwwwwwwwww heart it all Jen!!! Love how the Living Room looks now! Much more space in there. Heart all of the decorations too. That was a very sweet gift to get. Great friend! She knew what would get a good way of course. ;)

  13. I know this post is about your tree, but I "heart" your chairs and pillows!

  14. i just started following your blog (which i found through Pinterest)and you are an inspiration. We rent a home that needs some organization and I can't wait to start the new year going through your blog for all your great tips! Thanks and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  15. Jen!!! That rug in your living room!! Where did u get it???? (the current rug not the floral one) everything looks amazing but I have been searching for a rug for months and THAT one is PUUUUURFECT!!!!

  16. The tree is huge! And very pretty. I have the same snowflake ornaments.

  17. I found your blog through Pinterest as well, and I boy an I glad I did! We are renting our home too and you have inspired me with many wonderful ideas! My tear-jerker gift was my son's baby feet in paint and put on a bookmark for my Bible, and my daughter's painted handprints of a Christmas wreath. My son is 14...still have the bookmark...daughter is 6 and still receiving those cute gifts!! Thanks for sharing YOUR gift of organizing!!

    Merry Christmas!

  18. So, I have to know...(and let me assure you - there's no judgement here!)...your tree is suspiciously free of all things Oriental Trading! Our living room is red and we used to decorate our tree with mostly red and gold ornaments. When my 7 year old was in preschool I could get away with "rearranging" specifically gaudy ornaments (i.e. back of tree...see why I'm in no place to judge? heehee). Now I have two boys (7 and 3). This year I just had to let it go. They were so proud of their ornaments, so now paper Santas, popsicle stick reindeer and giant foam wreaths mingle loud and proud with our gold and red. And okay, I'll admit...I still do a *little* rearranging once the boys are in bed. :-)

  19. Each year, my children's elementary school creates a Winter Craft in their art class that is given to whoever they want in their family, one year, it was a tile they decorated with their hand print, another year it was birdhouses, another year it was pottery. They are so lovely and the kids are able to give something to their parents/loved ones. I cry every time because their is always a sincere message along with the gift.

  20. My oldest's preschool did that snowman craft ornament. My daughter is now 9 and that is STILL my favorite ornament!!!

  21. I LOVE that ribbon!! It looks amazing!! You are such an inspiration :) Thanks for sharing.

  22. I've never had a real tree but it must be so amazing. I have the same silver snow flake ornaments on my tree!

  23. Love it!! Wondering how you made your card display, how they "stick" on?

  24. My first grade class made those hand-print ornaments for Mom and Dad one year. I had to bring in about 5 parent volunteers, otherwise it would have been a disaster! But they were so cute and sweet that it was well worth the trouble. Your tree looks beautiful!

  25. Wow nice pictures and good design in here, you have a good feeling for style ! very nice hope u will check my new site aswell T.C.

  26. @KTB, the basket is from Pottery Barn:|basket|39|best|0|viewall|24||6&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Sku_Top_Marketing_Rule|Baskets-_- {I had a $25 off coupon making it SO much easier to afford} It is pretty fabulous!

    @Heart and Haven, it's actually in our master bedroom for the moment... :)

    @Heather: Here is a link to the rug: {5x8 in potter's clay} We adore it!

    @Catherine, That is a great question! We actually have a tradition of admiring and hanging all of the handmade ornaments on Christmas Eve. That way, I get the "pretty and simple" tree for the weeks coming up to Christmas and then on Christmas Eve we go crazy decking it out with the years worth of kid's ornaments. It's a fun little tradition and a way to compromise on the tree.

    @MonogrammedEverything, we actually just use a little ball of mounting putty. Works like a charm!


  27. Ahhh, thanks for answering the question on how you "handle" homemade ornaments. What a FABULOUS idea! Love it!


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