This year, finally, I added lights to our tiny tree. I wanted them before, but they were always too expensive. This year, I bought 6 sets of tiny LED lights for about $4. I wrapped them around the tree … and now, the tree is just right. It needed some lights. I have only used 4 so far … two remaining in case the others punk out.

We put the two nutcrackers on top of the wood stove. If Duke got hold of one, it would be wood shards in minutes.

The blue lights are still up over the big window in the living room, same as last year and for the past 10 years. I will add the gifts when I wrap them. But with Duke, the Toothsome, I think I’ll put them out last, maybe on Christmas Eve.

How deliciously simple. The simplicity is a big improvement on my holiday spirits. When it’s too much like work, a lot of the fun disappears for me.

Merry Whatever-You-Celebrate! Even if you don’t celebrate any specific holiday? Enjoy the season. Be bright and cheerful and enjoy the bright nights and lights and happy greetings. After the holidays are over, it’s only winter.

It’s one of my goals in life to prove that it’s possible to have a lovely Christmas tree that is NOT 9-feet-tall, real, or weighing half a ton. I know the argument that “fake trees” are a hazard because they are plastic. I would believe that — except for a few details:

  1. No one buys a “fake tree” for a single year’s use. Each of mine has lasted five years or longer.
  2. They are much too expensive to buy annually and many of us leave the tree fully or partly decorated, then store it in a basement or attic for the following year. You cannot do that with a live tree.
  3. The ability of manufacturers to make a tree look very real has come a long, long way from when we were kids. A lot of people like to touch my tree to be sure if it’s real or not because it looks entirely real.

Given all this, buying a non-real tree is no more expensive or unfair to the environment than buying any other decorative object for your home. Nothing lasts forever. I’ve had to throw away burnt out ovens and lamps and carpets and who knows what else.

This little, fake, 4-foot tree has been with us — as of this year — for four years. I paid less than $30 including shipping. No, I didn’t get it on Amazon. These are specialized items and I wanted one that looked as much like a tree as possible … without the dry, falling needles and branches and the godawful mess a real tree makes. The falling needles alone can take a full year to finally get clear and I’m pretty sure I’ve still got some needles hiding in the wood and bricks from our only two trees “real” trees, 17 and 18 years ago.

Also note: we live on a street with a Christmas tree farm just up the road. We did the whole thing with the hayride and picking the tree and tying it to the car and then … figuring out where to put it because that was when we have five people living here and space was at a premium.

I do not believe that a dead, dry, real tree in some way screams “Birth of Our Lord” — well your lord, not mine but you get the idea — any more than no tree or a fake tree. The tree has nothing to do with religion. It predates modern religion by probably a thousand years and is more reminiscent of the ancient Norse and Celts than Christianity.

Decorate however it suits you. Do whatever makes you happy and enjoy it. It is a festive time of year and I think we need some festivities during this darkest part of our trip around the sun. At least when it is full dark by four o’clock, I can light up the tree. That helps. Truly, it does.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

39 thoughts on “UP THE CHRISTMAS TREE”

  1. It looks beautiful. I love seeing other people’s Christmas decorations. I stopped a few years ago, although we do have a tiny tree somewhere with 7 lights. I leave Christmas decor to Mr. Swiss although he doesn’t do so much now. We always have a candle burning somewhere in the evening. Christmas presents no longer exist since a few years here. The only thing I bother with is some good food over the festive days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I keep this tree — fully decorated — in the attic. In December, I have Owen bring it downstairs. Put it on the table and voila, it’s Christmas. The simplicity makes me very happy. If it were any more complicated, I probably wouldn’t bother, but this is manageable. And pretty πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Duke’s First Christmas” (A Samuel Goldwyn Production/2017). Sally Fields, Tom Hanks, Kate Winslet, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Anthony Perkins as “Norm, Duke’s next door neighbor”. Dir:. A. Hitchcock. Music: Bernard Herrmann.


            1. Mostly, they survived the cats. They were the true killers of glass Christmas bulbs. They were shiny. They would swing around the branch. One good kitty paw whacking it and it was more broken glass. over the years, they broke ALL the older glass pieces. I replaced some of them, but mostly with plastic, cloth, wood, metal. The dogs take a toll, too.


    1. It definitely improved the tree. For one thing, we can see it at night. Before, it disappeared with the shadows. I’m wondering how long these tiny little lights will work. I’m hoping at least one full season πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So can all of us. These past few years have been very hard. We lost four dogs in two years … and handful of friends (the two-legged kind) too … and then we got this … thing … we call government. Wagers on seeing it end sooner rather than later. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I have a tiny candle of hope.

      If I could promise you the best, trust me, it would be flying to you with bells on and a crown for your head.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Streamlining the process has really improved it for us. I really loved the whole deck the halls thing — 50 years ago. But I was a lot younger and I was married to someone who was actually willing to help put the decorations away at the end of the holidays. These days, it all falls to me to do the massive cleanup and a few years ago, I said NO WAY. I tried a few ways around it and this worked best. Simple, pretty, with a hint of elegance and back into the attic it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a ‘purist’ with things Christmas (as I am with a lot of other stuff). I love the scent of fresh pine and that was my reason for purchasing real trees for a lot of my adult life. Marriage changed that, hubby was not holiday spirited and would grumble and bitch about the cost, the mess and the disruption to his TV viewing to the point that I finally stopped getting a real tree. The last two we had were potted pines, which were planted in the back yard as soon as spring made the ground viable for such a purpose. They grew to be huge, and then as pine trees do (apparently), they died, first one and then the other. Now I’m too crippled and too stubborn to deal with the cost, the mess and all that is inclusive in putting up a real tree. I have a Shopko Charley Brown ‘special’…which looks for all the world like a stick with bare branches and a lot of little lights embedded in it. I get my fresh pine fix from the fresh wreath I buy for my front door. Happy Yuletide to your house and family Marilyn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried the potted pines thing, but we had two really bad winters and by the time we could put them out, they were absolutely DEAD. That was my last try at “live.” I’ve been pretty happy with fake, or more to the point, with THIS particular one which is surprisingly real looking. And, it turns out, we can be entirely happy about Christmas without the big tree. Who’d’ve thunk it?

      Merry Christmas and a Cool Yule to you too!


      1. It is, it works so beautifully. My son bought us a fake tree this year, never had one. Always done the swag thing, which I’ll get him to take pics of soon, I hope. You’ll see the tree too. I’ve always had red balls and accessories, but he said after 20 plus years, a change would be nice, and he bought me white, silver, opaque and off white. We mixed a few red balls into the scheme and I’ve never enjoyed decorating as much as this year, it was spectacular. Well, he does the decorating since I can’t get up on a ladder and see what I’m doing either, lol, but I can take credit for suggestions on where to put things to make it pretty. hehe. I love your room and how you decorated it looks welcoming and homey so yeah, loved it!


  3. Beautiful tree. I We have a five foot artificial that looks taller only because I put it on top of a chest. I prop it up because I like to put my little guys under it, since we do not do gifts. Love your Nutcracker men. I have a thing for them! We hadn’t put up a tree for several years and spent last Christmas at the hospital with my husbands Dad. This year we decided to pull it out and decorate. Maybe it is just like you said, we needed a little cheering up.


  4. Your tree looks beautiful and so does your living room. We not only use a fake tree, but we keep it decorated in the basement all year and just pull it out for the season! I hope it lasts forever. I never want to have to decorate another tree. Too much work for a Jewish girl! Give me eight candles and we’re done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Us too. We keep the fully decorated tree in the attic. Owen puts it away, then gets it out. There are a few hundred decorations up there, but I’m better they will never be used again. The candles WERE easier, but the wax was a bitch πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m thinking you and I have similar decorating ideas maybe because we are in a similar age group. πŸ™‚ I have lights on the mantle plus a second tiny tree with lights. And, they all come on at 4 p.m. so it doesn’t seem to dreary. But, I sure miss those lights when I take the decorations down. I have a friend who has one of those indoor norfolk pine type plants, and she leaves white lights on that all year long. She may have something there. πŸ™‚


  6. Love your tree! Lights are always a plus in the winter. Particularly in New England where winters can be long. You could definitely keep them longer. Enjoy and tell Duke to behave or he will get a piece of coal in his stocking!


    1. Thank you so much. What with snow expected tomorrow, winter is much on our minds. We are still at Tom & Ellin’s in Connecticut, but we have to be out of here early to beat the storm.

      Yes, winters can be very long, and they feel the longest at the end, in March, when it’s still cold and the snow hasn’t melted. I was really sorry about the snow. We were hoping it would hold off another few weeks.

      We need all the light we can get πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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