DIY Decorating: Our Christmas Tree

Eugene surprised me with an adorable little live Christmas tree this year!

In past years, I've always put up one of the two artificial trees I own (I have a full-sized green one, and a small silver one that I got for my retro Christmas party back in 2009). I'd been planning on just pulling out the silver one again this year, though in my heart, I really wanted a real one.

I LOVE real Christmas trees. It's what we grew up with, and it was actually a little bit of a scandal in our home when my parents decided to switch to fake trees (the pine needle mess was driving my mom crazy). My brother and I were horrified, and I swore that when I had the chance, I would get myself a real tree. Unfortunately, when one lives alone in the city, a real tree is kind of a major hassle (this was pre-Eugene, obviously) so when I first moved to New York, I ended up just ordering the faux version.

Once Eugene came along, we continued to put up the fake tree (he's Jewish and therefore had no opinion on the matter either way), but each time we passed one of those Christmas tree sales around the city or in my hometown, I would kind of involuntarily sigh or stop to breathe in that incredible pine aroma. Which is why it was pretty amazing when I heard the knock on the door around the time he usually comes home from work, and found him standing there holding a tree in his arms.

I wanted to do something a little special for the decorations, and ended up loving the results so I figured I would share with you what I did!

The tree is a live, potted tree, which means we'll be able to replant it after the holidays. It comes in a big ugly base, so I got this galvanized beverage tub (from Target) and nestled the base in there. I used some checkerboard napkins I had on hand to cover the top and give it a finished look (a diy "tree skirt" of sorts).

I added a string of white lights, and then some mini sparkly silver, gunmetal, and lilac balls I had from trees past. I got these at Kmart years ago--I believe they were from one of the Martha Stewart collections.

The pièce de résistance on my tree, however, is the homemade garland I made using kitchen twine and little triangle pennants cut out of book pages (there are a few little hidden shapes in there, too--a cross (the reason for the season!) and a little girl shape.

Eugene actually cut these out for me, and I then folded them over and glued them onto the twine using adhesive spray.
(If it horrifies you to know I cut up a book, be assured that it was a truly awful novel that sent me into a fit of irritation each time I spotted it on my shelf. No innocent books were harmed.)

These pennant garlands are so fun to make, and you could actually use them for other kinds of holiday or party decorating--they'd be fabulous strung along an entry way, on mirrors, or even just along the wall. Use different colored construction paper or newspaper paper to personalized your look.
I then cut and folded a star out of the same book paper to top the tree. 

I think tiny little bits of interest are key on a tree--it's always fun to have little cute thing hidden in it for guests to find. I tucked in a few silk flowers into my tree and one tiny vintage Santa Claus figurine that I've had for years.

To finish off the look of the tree table, I added some sparkly pillar candles around the base, just for decoration; I would never light them because one does not light candles next to real wood trees decorated with paper.
With all the lights off!
I love our tree. I think it's adorable, and Eugene has noted that it's my "best one yet!"

Want more Christmas ideas? Try this DIY Coke Bottle Advent Calendar. 

P. S. Did you know? I wrote an eCookbook! The Puerto Rican Christmas Table features over 40+ recipes and full-color photos. Click here to learn more!

Merry Christmas!

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