Since our kids grew up and left home, I haven’t quite had the same warm fuzzy feelings about decorating for Christmas. In fact, several years recently I’ve tried to get away with not putting up our Christmas tree at all. But every year, either my husband or one of our kids—or just the thought of the grandkids seeing Papa and Mimi’s house without a tree—always convinces me that it wouldn’t quite be Christmas without that ancient symbol of our celebration of Christ’s birth. (And yes, I know the Christmas tree has pagan origins, but in much of the world, for at least several centuries, to most of us, the Christmas tree means it’s Jesus’s birthday!)
This photo is the year I got away with just a tiny Christmas tree behind the love seat. Hopefully we made up for it with a huge wreath in the window, a “Joy to the World” banner across the mantel, and other festive touches throughout the house.
In years since, the full-size tree is back up, reflected here in a leaning mirror behind it. If you’re short on space, a skinny tree fits in a corner without taking up too large of a footprint.
I even had a little “book” tree in my office last year. This is an idea that could easily translate to a child’s room or playroom, using children’s books for the base, and decorating with tiny toys. And maybe a Tinkertoy star? The only limit? Your imagination—and better yet, your kids’ imaginations!
When our children used to beg to put the Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving, I could sometimes satisfy them for a few more days by putting a wreath on the door or setting out a few tabletop decorations—especially if one of them was the Christmas candy dish. The mistletoe always gets hung early at our house too.
Christmas is a wonderful excuse to get out the fancy serving trays and dishes, and try out new recipes that will make your house smell like Christmas!
A cage full of ornaments makes a great centerpiece at Nana’s house.
And Nana’s simple outdoor arrangement says “Christmas” even before guests enter her home.
One of my favorite (and so easy) tree trims in recent years is this “ribbon” I made, simply by printing the Christmas story in a pretty font on nice linen-look paper. I cut the paper into strips, taped the edges together to form a ribbon, then wrapped it around the tree from top to bottom. (Tip: printing the long way on legal size paper helps the paper to curve and curl like real ribbon.) I love finding ways to incorporate the real Christmas story into our holiday decor. It’s also a good way to help our children and grandchildren associate all the hoopla of the holidays with the real Reason we celebrate.
Wishing you and your family all the blessings that make your house a home—and praying that Christ is the heart of your home this holiday season—and every season.
What is the one decoration in your home that, without it, it wouldn’t quite feel like Christmas for you and your family?