christmas tree rules

Well my husband and I had our annual conversation about the icicles on the tree. He wanted to know if he could help! I said no - he just throws them on the tree and I hang them 1 or 2 at a time. Anyway, are you hangers or throwers?

I still have a package from when I was a child of the original lead icicles. Someday when I'm not working and have lots of time (and no children will be around) I am going to hang them on my tree. There's nothing like it.

What else about your Christmas tree has to be a certain way? My husband hangs the first ornament, a cradle with baby Jesus, before any other ornaments are allowed on the tree.


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  • I knew exactly what would happen when we started decorating. It started with lights. Apparently I was disentangling them "wrong". It ended up well though and we have a beautiful tree.
    The only rule or tradition we have is that we buy a new, really nice ornament each year.
  • I came into a family that already had 2 pre-teens (now full blown teen-agers). Regrettably, they had no traditions and were not open to any of mine!!

    Usually it happens that I decide it's time to put up the tree. Since we're usually out of town for a part of the holidays, I use a small artificial tree-this year it is my grandmother's fiber-optic tree...and i have to admit that it's quite lovely, although very different!!

    Sometimes, I can get the kids to decorate the tree...they did last year as a "surprise" for me...and threw away all of the ornaments that they deemed to be "stupid".

    This year, I put on the 4 boxes of remaining ornaments and used a bead garland...we have cats, tinsel and icicles are a VERY bad mix with cats..
    and it's rather cute.

    We're also in the process of repainting so i have a bunch of hooks in the living room where pictures used to be...these are now holding our stockings!!!

    : )
  • AAGGHH!!! x:'( Icicles!!! My mother used to make my brother and me hang them so that 1/4 of the icicle was ever so carefully draped over the branch. And we could use 2-3 together at most. She was also very particular about which ornaments were hung on the outside of the branches and those that were placed inside to catch the light.

    Because of that I never used them myself, I like the tiny glass icicles. Part of that is because I have had a dog or cat and was afraid they'd eat them and choke.

    My only requirement is that the lights are all white and the wrapping paper must all match... anyone wanting to place a gift under my tree must wrap it in my paper. Yes, I have received more than a few "Are you insane?" looks but I don't care.

    I'm not putting up a tree this year, I'm alone so it hardly seemed worth the bother. x:-(
  • I have to say, my fiance lived by himself for about 6 or 7 years and he put a tree up and decorated it every year. Rad-I say you should put one up, even if it is a small tree.
    We have 2 traditions. One is that we purchase an ornament for each other every year. The other is that all the lights must be white (tree, shrubs, sailboat, etc.)We actually have more than enough ornaments for our tree, so some of them stay in the box (Usually the ones he deems unsuitable or ugly.)
    My parents always had colored lights while my brother and I were growing up. My fiance, until I came into the picture, would only use white lights and red and gold ornaments.
  • You're probably right, this is the first year I have not put one up, and I do kind of miss it. Maybe I'll be able to find a little tiny Charlie Brown tree.
  • On my way home from work I pass a few places that sell christmas trees and they have some that look to be about 4'. I'm sure you could even find a smaller fake tree. I would miss not having a tree. This year we haven't gotten one yet. We are trying to finish painting our dining room. We put the tree there as it doesn't fit in our living room. Christmas is at my house this year. This is the first time I will be having Christmas dinner at my house. Even if you decide to not get a tree, just decorate your windows or put a wreath on the door, etc. x:D
  • Thanks mdm...I guess I'm just feeling a little sorry for myself this year. The place I used to get my tree closed because of all the Big Dig construction in Boston (I'm sure you know what that is) so I'm going to try Faneuil Hall, they have a tree place there- you convinced me! I do have decorations in my windows, not that anyone can see them on the third floor, and I have one of my Santa statues on my coffee table with all the presents wrapped (in the same paper, of course).
  • I used to work at Faneuil Hall (Actually the North Market Building of Quincy Market) and also at One Financial Center (across from South Station) when I lived in MA. The Faneuil Hall area is so beautiful at this time of year. I actually miss working there.


  • How 'bout that, we would have been neighbors. I work on High St and live in the North End. So yes, I walk to work, its great xB-) .
    The area is beautiful around this time of year, everything is lit up and people are walking around everywhere shopping. That's what I love most about Boston, its such a walkable city.

  • I grew up a little west of Boston and worked in Boston for 2 years. For about the last 3 years I've been living in RI. I do miss MA. Providence is not as beatiful at Christmas as Boston. This weekend I will be making my annual winter trip to Boston to see the lights and shop. I can't wait.
  • In honor of my 84 year old mother, I'll tell what she always did with the tree when I was growing up. The tree was always mounted on a revolving turntable that Daddy built out of copper tracks and whatever it takes to make electrical stuff revolve. Mother would spend hours and hours gently laying thin layers of cotton on each branch from top to bottom. Then she'd hang the icicles one at a time, spending several more hours. Then the ornaments she cherished and some I had made. Spotlights hung overhead and the huge dining room window was made to look it had been snowed on too. Cars would line up for a mile or more and creep by to see our tree. There was nothing like it in town. When Christmas was all over, she would take each icicle off the tree and the cotton too and save them in the original boxes for next year. Growing up in tough times as a child, she would never think of throwing them out with the tree. Now that I'm 'grown', I leave the house for about 5 hours and when I come back home, after my convenient absence, my wife has the tree all done.
  • My tradition is that while I'm decorating my tree I must be (a) watching "White Christmas" and (b) drinking champagne.

    Back two or three Weimaraners ago, I seemed to have an unintentional tradition of having my dog consume the ornamentation. One year she ate all the popcorn off the popcorn & cranberry garlands, and the next she nearly killed herself by eating painted dough ornaments. Which goes to show that tinsel is not the only Christmas decoration that can be hazardous to pets.
  • I can only remember one Christmas when I was very little in which we actually used icicles - I remember my father complaining so much about the bother that I suspect that's why every year thereafter we had a flocked white tree with matching ornaments and only white lights (my mother was a little compulsive that way). No particular traditions for me, but then I haven't done a tree in years anyway.
  • I'll tell you about compulsive with the Christmas year, my dear brother, with the best of intentions, came home with new lights. We were sharing an apartment at the time. He knew I was broke and wanted to surprise me with a tree and decorations. He bought colored lights and I already had white lights. I was horrified at the thought of colored lights but was so touched by his gesture and didn't want to hurt his feelings. So I took all the lights off the wires and put them back in alternating color-white-color-white on 4 strings of lights. They ended up looking pastel which was actually very pretty and we both got what we wanted. Funny, I think I "accidentally lost" those lights and had to buy all white the next year...

    All my decorations were silver and gold but he loved the Loonie Toons and a customer had given him a collectors edition set of Loonie Toon ornaments and I did allow those, I'm compulsive but fair x;-)
  • I love Christmas! Last night I saw three trees at the grocery store that were about 1 1/2 feet tall. I might go back and get one for my kitchen table.

    We have a dog and cat so I don't hang the icicles on the bottom row of branches and only hang non-breakable ornaments on the those. They get knocked off a lot - the cat and dog get into chasing each other and inevitably (sp?)wind up running under the tree.

    The cat also thinks the tree stand is her personal water dish. I don't know if she is getting additional nutrition or being slowly poisoned, but she has been doing if for 4 years so I guess we're okay.

    Definitely get your tree rad. You won't be sorry!
  • My wife and I have 2 rules for our tree.
    1. it has to be a Noble Fir. I don't like it when all the ornaments hang just on the outside of the tree, you have to be able to put some of them between the branches.
    2. The ornaments have to go together. We use blue and silver, and if it's not either of those then they don't go on the tree.
    My wife gets a little bit more obsessive by requiring the gift wrap to match the tree too.
  • First of all, rad you have to get a tree! I don't care if you are by yourself, good grief! Let us know when you get yours.

    Second . . . at our house we have a fake tree for the family room in the basement which my daughters set up and decorate by themselves.

    We get a real tree for the living room, the biggest one we can find. This year the doorway got damaged trying to get the tree inside and the entire bottom 4 feet had to be cut off, because it was too wide and wouldn't fit in the door. Now I have a 7 foot tree in the living room rather than the 11 foot tree that was picked out. x:-(

    Icicles, never. Hubby doesn't even ALLOW Easter grass in the house, ("we still find it months later"). Oh wah.

    I put the lights on, because I think nobody else can do it right, but by the end, I myself am practically throwing the lights around the tree. It's the worst job.

    Hubby and the girls put the ornaments on, I can't really stand doing that for some reason. Short attention span I guess . . .

    . . . what was I talking about?
  • My mom has been buying us an ornament every year and she writes our name and year on it (this has gone on since I was a teen). When my brothers and I established our own households (got married actually) she gave us all of our ornaments. This was a nice way of keeping something of our childhood as well as providing for our new home.

    She continues that tradition with her grandchildren, although she misses her children some of the years (unless she sees something that will uniquely fit us). My boys eagerly await the new ornament each year. Most years we wait for her to send them and they are the first on the tree, however this year, they are visiting for Christmas and we just couldn't wait to get the tree decorated so we went ahead without them.

    I have so many ornaments now that they don't all make is on the tree, but these so make it out and about the house. I can't even remeber buying an ornament except for one for the dog. Sometimes we hang garland around all of the entrances in the house (we have a lot of 6 foot door openings into rooms) and then hang ornaments from the garland, they end up in bookcases, kitchen shelves and just about anywhere you can see. The only problem with that is that when it is time to clean up, you always miss something and find it weeks later!
  • Okay here's mine (ours)...

    My husband and I go out and cut our own Christmas tree each year. We have many Christmas tree "farms" in our area and the majority of them allow you to cut your own tree. I like a big, fat tree but my husband always thinks they won't fit (they always do). When it comes to decorating the tree, he takes over which is fine with me. I put up the other household decorations and he does the outside lights. The only lights I use are the multi-colored (I think it looks prettier). We get all this done over the Thanksgiving holiday so we can enjoy it.

    We have four dogs and none of them bother the tree but I do have this small basket with some stuffed puppies in it that I place at the corner of the tree and our youngest dog, every once in a while, will walk by it and bark at the puppies.

    I also use a variety of wrapping paper - like lots of color. My sister only uses Disney wrapping paper so we always know which presents are from her.

    Rad - I agree with the others. Get yourself a tree. There were several years we didn't get one since we are not at home on Christmas and it was amazing the amount of "Christmas Spirit" I had the year that we decided to go back to having a tree.
  • Linda, I like the multi-color lights, too. To me, it's just more festive that way. Single color lights are pretty and elegant but are just not my taste. The wrapping paper thing--love lots of different kinds of paper under the tree. I guess that goes back to when I was a kid and different colors of paper meant I was getting presents from different people (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) For years I wrapped my boys' presents in paper they had never seen so that I could write "Santa" on the tag. Now my eleven-year-old son (my Sherlock Holmes)is questioning the existence of Santa.
  • Linda, we cut down our own tree too. We started that one at my oldest son's 2nd Christmas (when he was old enough to walk). The tree farm (there is only one in our area of Florida) opens the day after Thanksgiving, we go out and pick out our tree and tag it. We don't cut it down until closer to Christmas so it isn't totally dead on Christmas day. The tree farm serves up boiled peanuts, candy canes and coloring books and we wander up and down looking for just the right one. The boys also enjoy watching the machine that shakes the dead needles from the tree. We have one video tape that just has CHristmas on it and we just keep adding to it year after year.

  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 12-17-03 AT 10:26AM (CST)[/font][br][br]Many of my Christmas tree traditions are things that I wanted as a kid, but never got to have. Starting the year I was born my Nana started giving my brother and I an ornament every year. We never used them. My mother insisted on a color-coordinated tree, matching the living room decor. When I was very young it was all gold, and after we moved it became all dusty rose. (She still uses the same stuff. My husband suggested we give her one of the really cool ornaments that we bought in Hawaii, but I said no since I knew it would never hang on her tree.) We also only had artificial trees.

    I insist on real tree every year, preferably balsam or spruce. The first ornament I hang is the very first ornament I received from Nana, a large, clear glass ornament with a gold foil angel suspended on the inside. I prefer white lights, while my husband likes the multi-colored. The compromise is white on the tree and multi-colored on the house (outdoor lights are something else we never had when I was a kid).

    I like to have all my gifts wrapped in the same paper, ideally something unique so that everyone knows that they are from me without looking at the tag. However, gifts wrapped in any paper are welcome under my tree, I'm not quite that obsessive.

  • I'm curious about those of you who only have gifts with the same wrapping under the tree. What do you do about mailed gifts or gifts from friends? I think the idea is pretty, though.
    We rent and we are not allowed live trees.
    Tip to make the house smell like Christmas:
    simmer some cinnamon sticks in water on the stove.
  • For 23 years, my ex-in laws had a tree lot where they cut pinon pines from up by the Grand Canyon. Christmas of '99 I got to them too late and they were all out. I got a tree of some variety from a nursery in a grocery store. My youngest son thought it was pitiful, when my two older boys came home they agreed. The next couple years I made sure to get back to the ex-in laws on time, but then they decided to quit cutting the trees. So the past two years we've gone north ourselves in search of a pinon. Got a beaut this year. It's not decorated yet - the vacation put me so behind - but stands proudly in the living room!
  • My rule (obsessive compulsive dementia) applies to those gifts that are going to be placed under my tree to be handed out to others. Like when my brother's fiancee came over with her gifts for my family, I said "Oh, here, I have extra paper for you". If someone came to my home with a wrapped gift I would not ask them to rewrap it, I'm not that bad. But I might put the non-matching gift under all the others when they left x:D.

    I love the cinnamon stick idea, when I wrap my gifts and decorate my tree I put on Christmas music - the Temptations Christmas Card and Diana Ross with the London Philharmonic are my favorites, and make hot cocoa with candy canes.

    I'm going to try to find a little tiny tree after work today, you all talked me into it.

  • My paper isn't all the same, but coordinates and is the shining kind so it catches the reflection of the lights. Mailed gifts and others still go under. . just strategically arranged. I hear there are new drugs out for OCD and I think a number of us might benefit x:D
  • My Christmas tree traditions are pretty simple. After struggling to put the tree in the stand and getting it in 'straight', I then turn on the Christmas music - just doesn't seem right to swear when Silent Night is playing. Next, it's white lights all around. I lived in Germany for three years & every Christmas we would attend several Christmas Markets - held in each town's square & we would purchase little wooden painted carved ornaments. The ornaments end up looking like little toys on the tree - I pull those out and hang them all up & then settle my beautiful porcelain Angel on top. Finally, I place my reversible green and red tree skirt around the tree and then make hot chocolate for my son and a hot toddy for myself. Once our drinks are ready, my son and I sit on the couch, turn the Christmas music up a bit more, I sip my hot toddy (he sips his hot chocolate) and we stare at the tree. My traditions were different when I was married, but about 4 years ago, on the advice of some friends, I created my own traditions & it just so happens that they're better than the old ones x;-) To those that celebrate it - Merry Christmas!
  • I guess about the only rule we have is that the tree usually ends up being what we call a "Charlie Brown" tree. Not real good looking and oddly shaped but always turn out beautiful. and For the last 14 years it has been topped with a construction paper santa with a cotton ball beard made by my son in kindergarten. At 19 he still loves to see that well worn santa go up on top.

    One very lean year, we had a small misshapen, sparse tree, a few ornaments, the boys were 2 and 4 years and our first year just the three of us. We decorated with handmade snowflake cut outs and some red plastic apples, gifted from a dear friend. When complete, my 4 year old stepped back saying "Mom its kinda beautiful isn't it". It still brings tears to my eyes.

    We now have lots of beautiful ornaments but still charlie brown trees with a funny paper santa on top.

    Merry Christmas!!!

  • I thought I was pretty A/R, but I've never even heard of matching the giftwrap on all the gifts under the tree - wow!

    I think my favorite Christmas memory from my childhood was the year my dad decided to save some money on the tree by flocking it himself, instead of buying it already flocked. He put the vacuum cleaner in reverse and sprayed this wet, sticky white stuff everywhere but on the tree - what a mess! We always had professionally flocked trees after that.

    I started buying a collector's ornament for each of my kids the year they were born. My first year living alone after my first husband and I separated, I also started a collection for myself. My new spouse's collection is the Swarovski crystal stars, and he'll get his 11th one this year. I'm now doing the same thing with all of my grandkids.

    Thanks for the discussion about whether or not to put up a tree - I'd almost decided not to this year, but have now changed my mind!
  • Hooray for the Christmas Tree!
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