We haven't had a real Christmas tree for a couple of years, since I invested in an artificial one, and after a brief discussion with OH, we decided to go with that again. Due to the fact that we head out of London for a week at Christmas and New Year to visit family, it doesn't seem worth buying a real one and to be honest the mess does play its part and the waste of a once lovely living thing, when it comes to throwing it out after Christmas. (You can't beat the look and smell of a real tree though, I must admit).
Anyway, I have a real tree in the garden in a pot, that I bought in Wales quite a few years ago now and though it is getting bigger it isn't really big enough to use inside just yet. I usually do put it out on the patio at Christmas and decorate it with a few waterproof decorations, so an artificial one doesn't seem so bad when I can see that one from the kitchen window every day.
Anyway, this weekend I was determined to finally get the tree up and I had managed to find some lovely crackers at a local independent pound/discount shop on our local high street the other day for only £5.50 (not everything costs £1), which I thought was really reasonable as they are pretty big and the gifts inside looked quite nice and at least useful, which helps.
Once the room was cleaned, it was up with the tree and out with the favoured old artificial Christmas wreath for the front door. I love this wreath and it comes out every year and has done for about 10 years now.
Once up, I didn't decorate the tree at this point, as we had to head out to take Little Bird to a birthday party. There was also a Winter fair taking place in the area so I had a wander around a few stalls. I bought a few pieces of real holly for decorating the house and some lovely quince jelly that I usually get from the Church Christmas Bazaar, but didn't this year as I never made it there.
I always think that a bit of real holly looks great at Christmas. I do like this vintage artificial holly too though. The ribbon came off a bag of pine cone pot pourri that I bought in the sales after Christmas last year. I almost forgot that I'd bought it. It does look nice in they lidded glass jar I bought from IKEA.
I added a few cinnamon stick bundles to some more and filled this glass bowl too.
Sunday came and went and the tree stayed bare, as I just didn't have the time to dress it, so it wasn't until Monday night when I got around to putting some baubles on it. During this time, however, I came to actually like seeing it quite bare. It does have pine cones, berries and cinnamon sticks attached to it, so it isn't strictly bare, but I decided to keep the decorations pretty minimal this year and just added a box of red glass baubles and 3 or 4 Liberty ornaments I've bought over the years. I can't quite bring myself to get rid of all the rest of the decorations, but I might have a good sort out in the New Year before they go back in the loft and have a good declutter of the Christmas boxes. It would be good to get everything in one box instead of two.
The final touches were some chocolates and a few candy canes that got added today. I still have some gingerbread to hang, but I didn't want to put too many edible things on there for the moment. I think I might be getting better at this minimalism thing. Here's the finished result, with the added advantage that there's not too much to tidy away on 12th night either. Very traditional, but I quite like it that way. Christmas starts here.