We use a pre-lit faux tree for a few reasons, the biggest of which is that I hate putting lights on the tree. Also, there is no yearly expense for a real tree and we don’t have to remember to water it or pick up needles or worry about a dry tree catching on fire or disposing of a real tree… So there you have it, but I do wish the fakes smelled good like the real thing.
In high school, my mom and I went after-Christmas shopping and bought all white and gold decor. When I moved out, she let me take it all with me! Over the years I have added other colors back in, so that there is no longer a scheme, but I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with the things you love and not being pigeon-holed into a ‘theme’ just because you chose it some time in the past.
The only souvenirs we bring home from vacation are Christmas ornaments, so I get to reminisce about our trips each year as I put up the tree. I also have several sentimental ornaments.
Our official wedding ornament from 2005:
Christmas gift from my cousin Olivia:
Wedding gift from my mom’s cousin Laura:
From buying our first home in 2007:
After the loss of our crippled cat to cancer in 2013:
To celebrate adopting our dog Buddy in 2013:
From buying our Forever Home in 2014:
To celebrate Bradley starting his dream job in May 2014:
To celebrate adding our cat Shelley to the family in 2014:
To celebrate adopting our second dog, Jovie in April 2015.
My aunt Dianne passed away in May 2015 from cancer. All of the nieces and nephews received these ornaments she had cross-stitched for us back in 1990.
In 2016, I went to the Georgia Aquarium and got to do the penguin and sea otter experiences.
Ornaments from our travels
From my trip to Argentina in 2001:
In May of 2005, while visiting my best friend in NYC, Bradley surprised me at Tavern on the Green with a proposal of marriage. I of course said yes, but the restaurant closed its doors in 2010, so we will never have a chance to go back. I found this ornament on ebay to commemorate our experience there.
From our honeymoon in the Bahamas in 2005:
From our trip to Washington D.C. in 2006 for our 1st anniversary:
From our trip to the Grand Canyon in 2007:
From our trip to San Francisco in 2007 (Muir Woods and Sonoma):
From our trip to Navarre Beach in 2008:
From our cruise to the Bahamas in 2008 for our third anniversary:
From our trip to Panama City in 2009:
From Bradley’s trip to Africa in 2009:
From our trip to Las Vegas in 2010:
From our trip to Boston in 2010:
From our trip to Cancun in 2010:
From our trip to Yosemite in 2011:
From our trip to Savannah in 2011:
From our trip to San Francisco in 2012:
From our trip to Asheville, NC in 2012:
From our trip to Denver in 2013:
From my road trip in 2015 from Seattle to San Francisco with my mom and sister. This one is from the Space Needle in Seattle.
We also stopped in the National Redwood Forest Park.
Tree Changes over the Years:
In our new home, we put the tree in our foyer. It fits perfectly in the nook created by the stairs.
It was also the first year I put up a small tree for UGA-themed ornaments.
I decided to go back to my traditional bow topper this year. I kept the red blanket as the tree skirt, though we have so many gifts under the tree this year that I don’t think the cat can even get under there for the time being.
After almost forgoing the big tree in favor of a small, flocked table-top tree, I caved and pulled it down from the attic. Two changes I made this year include switching out the bow tree topper for the pheasant feathers I had used during fall decorating and curly gold picks and using a fluffy red blanket under the tree instead of my tree skirt. After an unfortunate incident last year involving the crippled cat and the ties on my tree skirt, it has been retired until he is no longer with us.
Because I put away the fish tank that previously resided here, we had room for the tree in the living room in 2010. That is wonderful for two reasons: 1. we don’t have to cram the tree into the corner of the dining room, making it difficult to have people over for dinner and 2. we get to enjoy the tree as we spend more time in the living room than in the dining room.
and the picture from our Christmas card that year:
In 2006, we were still in our one-bedroom apartment, but with more furniture than the previous year. We could only squeeze in a mini tree that year: