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How I've Learnt to Love Decorating My Christmas Tree

The twinkling of lights, the scent of pine and spruce, the warmth of family gathered around – there's no denying the magic of a Christmas tree. This festive centrepiece has been a beloved tradition for centuries, its roots tracing back to Germany in the 16th century. The tradition of the Christmas tree embodies not only the spirit of Christmas but also the essence of home and family. It’s a symbol of unity, joy, and love, a beacon that brings together loved ones during the holiday season.

Christmas Tree with presents

Of course, the tradition isn't just about the tree itself. It's about the act of decorating it, the symbolism of the ornaments carefully hung on its branches. Each decoration tells a story, carries a memory, and represents a piece of our lives. Whether it's a glittering star that tops the tree or a simple homemade ornament, every piece contributes to the overall enchantment of the Christmas tree.

The beauty of this tradition is its adaptability. It's a canvas for creativity, an opportunity to express personality and style. Whether you prefer a classic, elegant Christmas tree or opt for a more whimsical, quirky approach, the choice is yours. And that's the beauty of it – it's your tree, your tradition, your story.

As a child, I was fascinated by the grandeur of the Christmas tree. I remember gazing in awe at the towering evergreen, adorned with twinkling lights and glistening ornaments, standing proudly in our living room. It was a symbol of love, unity, and celebration to me. However, my relationship with the Christmas tree became less significant as I grew older.

I admit: Christmas Decor Gives Me Sensory Overload

Unlike most people, the glittering world of Christmas decor doesn't quite stir up the same levels of excitement in me. You might find it surprising, considering how the festive season is synonymous with joy, warmth, and a sense of togetherness. But for me, it's a different story altogether. The twinkling lights, shiny baubles, and radiant tinsels that adorn every nook and corner often leave me feeling ambivalent, a reaction that's as unexpected as snowfall in summer.

decorated christmas tree

Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate the aesthetics of a well-decorated Christmas tree or a beautifully lit house. I see the effort people put into making their homes look like a page out of a glossy magazine. However, what gets to me is the sensory overload that is almost inescapable during this season. The constant flicker and the incessant glow of thousands of lights, the strong scent of pine and cinnamon, the ceaseless jingling tunes playing in every store, and the palpable frenzy in the air are all a bit much for me.

As soon as the presents are unwrapped and the festivities wind down, I find myself wanting the tree gone.

How My Daughter Changed My Ambivalent Perspective on a Christmas Tree

As an interior designer and content creator, it is a hazard of the trade to emerge fully into the world of Christmas decor, when the world transforms into a magical wonderland. I find that I have no choice but to delve into the world of Christmas decorations, exploring the exquisite beauty of each ornament, each garland, and each twinkling light. It is a world where creativity knows no bounds and where every piece of décor tells a story.

christmas ornaments
A Selection of our Christmas Ornaments

In recent years I have been taking my daughter on my Christmas decor-shopping trips and letting her choose the theme for each year's festivities. As I had content to create, and to surrender to decorating for Christmas anyway, I may as well hand over the reigns (within reason, of course, I am still a home decor control freak) to someone who gets so much joy out of it.

The glitz, the glamour, the over-the-top displays - it all just seemed like too much fuss for me. But all that changed when I saw the excitement sparkling in my daughter's eyes as she picked out quirky Christmas ornaments. The delight she experienced in carefully unwrapping each ornament, holding it up to the light to admire its shine and intricacy, and then carefully selecting the perfect branch on the tree to hang it on, was a joy to behold. Each ornament was chosen with such consideration and glee that it was impossible not to get swept up in her enthusiasm.

child choosing christmas ornaments

Her excitement is infectious, and now I find myself looking forward to our annual decoration ritual. It became less about the decorations themselves and more about the joy they brought to my daughter, the stories we would create together, and the tradition we were building. This year we are going for a fun tree again, with a high quirk factor and forego the more classical look. It's been an art of letting go for me, in the end, it's not a permanent fixture in the home.

Girls and dog in christmas jumper decorating the christmas tree

However, I'm cautious not to let this joyous activity turn into a monotonous routine. To keep the magic alive, we don't rush into the decorating spree right after Thanksgiving like most families do. We wait. We wait until just a few weeks before Christmas. This way, the anticipation builds up and when we finally unwrap our box of ornaments, it feels like we are unwrapping our very own Christmas present. The wait ensures that we don't get enough of the festivities too soon and that the spirit of Christmas stays fresh and exciting right till the end.

It's fascinating how parenthood can change one's outlook on things that once seemed trivial. What was once 'too much', has now become 'just right'.

The Importance of Ornaments in Christmas Tree Decoration

Ornaments play a pivotal role in the overall aesthetic of the Christmas tree. They are the elements that bring colour, texture, and character to the tree. Ornaments are more than just decorative pieces; they reflect traditions, memories, and personal tastes. They bring a sense of whimsy and nostalgia, evoking memories of Christmases past and creating new ones to cherish.

The variety of ornaments available today is staggering. From traditional baubles and stars to more unique and quirky ornaments, the choices are endless. They offer a fantastic way to personalise your Christmas tree, allowing you to express your style and personality.

Croissant and Chocolate Bar Christmas Ornament
Croissant and Chocolate Bar Christmas Ornament

Choosing and hanging ornaments is a tradition in itself, a cherished holiday activity that brings families together. Some families have a tradition of adding a new ornament each year, representing milestones, travels, or simply a token of the passing year. Over time, the Christmas tree becomes a beautiful tapestry of memories, a reflection of the family's journey through the years.

Trend alert: The Rise of Quirky Ornaments for your Christmas Tree

In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of quirky ornaments. These unconventional ornaments add a fun and unique touch to your Christmas tree, making it stand out from the traditional ones.

When it comes to quirky ornaments, the sky's the limit. These unconventional decorations bring a unique twist to the Christmas tree, infusing it with character and charm. Quirky ornaments can range from whimsical animals and mythical creatures to miniature food items and pop culture references.

Dog in Handbag Christmas Ornament
Dog in Handbag Christmas Ornament

One popular type of quirky ornament is the character ornament. From superheroes and movie characters to animated favourites, these ornaments add a fun and playful touch to the tree. They're perfect for those who love to showcase their fandoms during the holiday season.

Another fun type of quirky ornament is the novelty food ornament. Whether it's a tiny taco, a mini mug of hot cocoa, or a petite pizza slice, these ornaments are perfect for foodies and add a delicious twist to your Christmas tree.

Sushi Christmas Ornament
Sushi Christmas Ornament

Clever designers are taking the opportunity to turn anything into a Christmas ornament with last year's newcomer, Sattie in the tree, taking the cake.

How to Choose the Right Ornaments for Your Christmas Tree

Choosing the right ornaments for your Christmas tree can be a delightful endeavour, but with the vast array of options available, it can also feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you select the perfect ornaments for your Christmas tree.

Firstly, consider your overall theme. Do you want a traditional Christmas tree, a quirky and unconventional one, or a blend of both? Your theme will guide your choice of ornaments. If you're going for a quirky tree, look for unique, unusual ornaments that reflect your personality and interests.

Camera Christmas Ornament
Camera Christmas Ornament

Secondly, think about the size and scale of your tree. Larger trees can accommodate bigger, bolder ornaments, while smaller trees might look better with petite, delicate decorations.

Lastly, consider the colour scheme. You might want to choose ornaments that complement or contrast with the colour of your tree and other decorations. For a quirky tree, don't be afraid to experiment with bold, vibrant colours.

Tips for Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Quirky Ornaments

Decorating your Christmas tree with quirky ornaments can be an exciting adventure. Here are some tips to help you create a stunning, one-of-a-kind Christmas tree.

Firstly, start with the lights. It's easier to position your lights first and then hang your ornaments around them. This way, your quirky ornaments will be beautifully illuminated, showcasing their unique designs.

Every year I vow to stow away my Christmas lights properly. Every year I find myself detangling Christmas lights for ages regardless. Why oh why?? Do you recognise this?

detangling Christmas lights
The Great Annual Detangle

Secondly, balance is key. Distribute your ornaments evenly around the tree, ensuring that all sides are equally adorned. Mix and match different shapes, sizes, and colours for a balanced, harmonious look. Combining traditional and quirky ornaments can result in a truly unique and charming Christmas tree. The key is to strike the right balance between the two.

Start with your traditional ornaments. These might include classic baubles, stars, and tinsel. Distribute them evenly around the tree to create a solid, traditional base. Next, add your quirky ornaments. These will serve as the eye-catching elements, the conversation starters. Place them strategically around the tree, allowing them to stand out against the more traditional decorations.

Girl decorating the Christmas tree
My daughter goes straight for the bubble gum machine

Lastly, don't forget the tree topper. Whether you go for a classic star or angel, or opt for something quirkier, the tree topper is the crowning glory of your Christmas tree. It's an opportunity to make a statement, so choose something that complements your quirky ornaments and reflects your style. I've gone for a simple star this year - still waiting to find the perfect topper.

Woman decorating the Christmas tree
Adding the final touches

Christmas Tree Decoration: A Fun Family Tradition

Decorating the Christmas tree is more than just a task; it’s a cherished tradition, a time for family to come together and share in the joy of the season. The process of unwrapping each ornament, reminiscing about its story, and finding the perfect spot for it on the tree is a special experience shared by families year after year.

Including quirky ornaments in your Christmas tree decoration can add an extra layer of fun to this tradition. It allows each family member to express their individuality, to contribute something unique to the tree. Whether it's a handmade ornament or a store-bought novelty, each quirky decoration adds a touch of whimsy and a dash of personality to the tree.

In essence, the Christmas tree becomes a reflection of the family, a blend of traditions, memories, personalities, and styles.

Simple Christmas Tree with quirky ornaments

Final words: Something about Letting Go, and Embracing the Sparkle

In conclusion, for me, embellishing the Christmas tree has evolved into more than just an aesthetic and mandatory exercise; it is now a captivating family affair that brings us all together. I've learned to let go of my meticulous design aesthetics, understanding that the beauty of this tradition is transient and yet timeless in its own way. I surrender myself to the sensory overload (albeit a little later than most) - the glittering lights and the vibrant ornaments, although I draw the line at the melodious carols continuously playing in the background.

It's a delightful chaos that I now embrace. But, what truly fills my heart with joy is seeing the delight in the eyes of my loved ones as they revel in this festive spectacle. Each twinkle reflects their excitement and happiness, making every minute spent on this festive tradition worth it. This transformation of decorating the Christmas tree from a task to a cherished tradition is a testament to the magic of Christmas - a season that's all about warmth, love, and togetherness.

christmas party



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I am Marieke, a Dutch Australian interior designer, business executive, tutor, content creator and social media influencer.


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