a real, live christmas tree

Each year when it's time to decorate for Christmas,  my family turns on the carols (Pandora Glee Christmas), we put on a big pot of hot chocolate, and head on into the garage where our 8ft faux, flocked tree is waiting patiently to be brought inside and trimmed.  We pack it full of ribbon, garland, over sized balls, frames with vintage family photos, giant reindeer, toy soldiers, velvet flowers, snowflakes,wreathes, kiss balls, and every other item I've scored for 50% off, the day after Christmas over the last 5 years.  I absolutely LOVE it.  

This year after we hung the magnolia garland and stockings on the banister, we were on our way to the garage and my 17 year old SNAPPED.  He decided our tree had way to much crap on it, our house had  too many decorations, and it was time for Christmas detox.  I dropped a tinsel ball, paused in dismay, and thought, maybe I'd given birth to the Grinch.  Then I thought some more and realized...maybe Christmas isn't all about me. 

We called a family council, and together we decided to do things a little different this year.  The boys thought it would be a good idea to go cut a real tree from the forest, so we immediately made plans to go up north and find the perfect tree.

As fate would have it, I came down with the wretched flu and found myself bedded down in my jammies and wool socks, staying close to my new BFF, the latrine.  I insisted the boys head into the forest without me and I must admit, I was really sad I couldn't go. I was also a little nervous about what they might drag home, but I put my faith in them and begged them to take lots of pictures. 

They came home with no pictures and the perfect tree!

As soon as I could dress myself, I headed to the store to find some very light, and very simple decorations.  I couldn't weigh down the 6 good branches with heavy ornaments, so I drove right to my favorite bargain spot.  The $ store. 

I found glittered reindeer with jingle bell chokers (2 for $1.00)

and tiny little bird's nests with white, speckled eggs.

Then I headed right over to Wal Mart (I know) to find the rest of the tree decor. 

I grabbed this silver, beaded garland ($4.00 for 9 ft), these 3 inch white, feather balls ($1.99 ea) and a roll of wax paper to make this faux, capiz shell garland. 

I followed the garland tutorial {here}.  It took me about an hour to make and cost just pennies!

I also bought a star for the tree top at Wal-Mart.  I don't know myself any more.

The big splurge was this gray and white tree skirt I bought at Home Goods for $19.99.  I'm a sucker for polka dots.
I love these tags I downloaded from {Emily Jones} a few years ago.  They're so simple and adorable and come in several different colors and designs.  Still my gift wrapping go-to.

Are you ready to see our baby?

I think it's pretty cute in it's own Charlie Brown kind-a-way.  The best part is that my family couldn't be more thrilled.  There's something about a real Christmas tree that you just can't fake.  That natural, woody trunk, the dark green pine needles, the smell and the life it brings to our room.  I secretly LOVE it too. 

A few more simple things I've added to our home this year.

Feels really good.


  1. It all looks amazing.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

    1. Why thank you Mr. Hunting,
      You're amazing!

  2. I needed a good Mia story right about now. :) They are the BEST! And the tree is so perfect.... the real deal is my favorite for sure. xoxo Kels

  3. Your tree looks like Pure Magic. I think I would have to leave it up ALL year long. Yes.

  4. Thanks for sharing the link to my garland tutorial. I love your tree- it is beautiful!

  5. I absolutely love your tree! Exactly what I wanted this year! I got something somewhat perfect instead but next year I'm going in that direction! Love love love it!

  6. So you're the one who got all the sparkly reindeer from the dollar store! Love your tree. I'm glad the boys got to have a say in the decor :-)

  7. I love how simple and elegant. I'm thinking maybe I over-do it, too...hmm. BTW, where did you find that glittered twig wreath? I saw something similar at our local craft store but it was faux birch looking...spray glitter could pretty it up (the birch, kinda looked funky...cause I like a good birch!). Have fun!

  8. Love it! I adore the wax paper garland...and I snagged some of those dollar tree reindeer too! Love. them. <3 Heidi Rew from PartiesforPennies.com

  9. A year or two ago I realized we had way too many decorations. I pulled out the things we really care about and donated the rest. Our house still feels real festive, but it no longer feels cluttered.

  10. I love the way we decorate our tree. Lights, some gold star garland from my mom's old college roommate, and then each family member picks out a few of his or her favorite ornaments. My mom gives us a new ornament each year to build up our collection. I like the look of a tree with lots of different ornaments - sleds (made from popsicle sticks by my grandpa), vintage stuff from my grandma, sport ornaments, personalized ones, historical figures (a Beefeater and George Washington), a handmade clay dove from the artists' community in San Diego...the list goes on. I have a mini version in my dorm room and it makes me happy every time I look at it!

  11. I love your tree, I love your story, and I love how it all came together. Thanks for making me smile when I needed it the most : )


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Mia & Jilly

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