Oh Christmas Tree


I remember the first Christmas tree Mr T and I had.

It was for the Christmas of 1989. We’d been together for about 6 months and he’d moved in – or rather, stopped going home. We decorated an indoor “happy” plant with tinsel and put pressies around the pot. It was special.

When we moved into our own house just before Christmas the following year, we invested $20 in a 2nd hand tree and started collecting decorations. The Christmas I was pregnant with Ms T we started the tradition of buying a new ornament each year – I still remember buying this gorgeous glass ball from DJs in the city. The following year she chose her first ornament – pointing to this gold bear from her pram.

Over the years she’s chosen the cupcake Santa, the Surfing Santa, the parachuting Santa and a variety of bells and baubles. Her favourite is still the Ted Baker very glam ball we bought in Melbourne in 2014.

There are the ornaments that remind us of people and places. The pandas I brought home from Hong Kong when I was there doing a relocation for work (2008), the pottery bird from the handmade markets in Perth when I was there doing another relocation for work (2009), and the pohutukawa my friend brought over from NZ. Whenever I hang that – and another I’ve bought since – I think of her and my “adopted” country.

In 2015 we brought 2 back from London: a suitcase with a map that was a reminder of the major project Miss T had done for the HSC that year and a cocker spaniel that we splashed out on in Liberty. It’s a posh cocker spaniel and looks nothing like Kali, Adventure Spaniel, but a spaniel it is. This year we brought back a rolling pin and gingerbread recipe from the Christmas shop in Brugge.

In 2017 we went for a dolphin and sea turtle to remind us that we’d moved to Queensland. The theme was continued this year with a jellyfish and seahorse. We also threw financial caution to the wind this year and blew nearly $20 on the Villeroy & Boch angel in the top pic. The tinsel and the beads have all come from discount stores. At Christmas more definitely is more.

The year Kali, Adventure Spaniel, was still quite puppyish, we hung bells on the bottom row so we’d know when she’d gone under the tree to steal presents. She never chewed anything, just carried them away – one by one – to stockpile them in her favourite hiding spot.

We upgraded the original $20 fake tree some years ago with another fake tree, and decorating it on the first Sunday in December has become one of the traditions we’ve created for our little family. We pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly, prepare platters of nibbly bits (that we serve on ceramic trays that Miss T has painted over the years), and load the Christmas music playlist onto the phone – making sure that there are at least four copies of each of my favourite songs, and absolutely none of the ones I dislike the most…naturally I have a list.

Then we put the tree up. Hubby and Ms T usually have at least one argument about how she doesn’t read his mind and know exactly what ornament he wants her to pass next. Ms T usually has at least one comment about how I’ll never manage to hit the high notes on Mariah’s version of All I Want For Christmas and how I don’t need to do the boob wobble every time I hear the jingly bit at the start. We’ll argue about which power cord is the one that shorts the rest of the house and how hubby thought we were going to label it as such last year. After the tree has been put up Ms T and I take our music and glasses of Baileys on ice into the TV room and sit on the floor and wrap presents.

I love looking at the Instagram pictures of beautifully coordinated trees and admit to a sort of envy – but I don’t really have the focus required to remain envious for long. Besides, our tree and its chaotic mix of mismatching themes and colours – with a memory in every single last bauble – suits us perfectly.

What about you? Are you more mix or more match when it comes to Christmas trees?

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishWrite of the Middle, and, of course, me.


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

15 thoughts

  1. We grow ours in It gets pretty weird looking, and then weirder when we put all the handmade decorations the kids made in daycare/preschool/primary. It’s hilarious, esp as the teens now get mortified (but they secretly love it). Christmas was never about being cool…I love that your decorations all have ‘reasons’ #Lovinglifelinky

    1. Christmas is absolutely never about being cool. I know someone who lets her kids decorate the tree & then after they go to bed she redoes it so it looks more stylish. I think that really takes away from the spirit of it all.

  2. I’ve never had a christmas tree of my own (as an adult). I guess I’m never ‘home’ at Christmas. The one year (recently) my brother and his wife and daughter and my SIL’s parents came for Christmas mum brought her tree to my place so we could put the presents underneath it.

    I like the idea of choosing new ornaments each year – something special, though guess you get to a point where there’s too many. Or is there no such thing.

    My best friend locally is currently tearing her hair out as her 7yr old has decorated their tree and done the usual clump of stuff around two branches and she really really wants to ‘fix’ it but is trying not to try to make it prettier as he will notice!

    1. We began retiring some of the older handmade ornaments last year, but really there’s no such thing as too many…

  3. You have some gorgeous Christmas Tree ornaments! I love the idea of adding to them continually and that they remind you of a certain time or event. Our tree is not a styled tree and is quite similar to yours. We have ornaments the kids made in kindy or ornaments that relatives made with the kids names on them, and ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Some are getting a little worse for wear though I must say! haha #TeamLovinLife

  4. I love how each of your decoration has a story behind it and the ‘tradition’ that you have, e.g. when and how your family decorates your tree together. It’s unique, personal and perfect.

  5. I love how Christmas trees reflect our journey – we started with a little secondhand one too (that even came with its tacky decorations still in place!) upgraded to real tree that we killed with kindness, and then back to fake but bigger, then fake and white and sparkly (you can’t have too much sparkle for Christmas). I’m not a sentimental ball gatherer – I change mine and have a colour theme each year (and I have ball placement OCD – just ask my kids – it’s the standing family joke!) I love how your decorations tell your family’s story and how special that is to you x

    1. I look at the coordinated trees and adore them…but I think I’d be tempted to throw something else in just because. I love how we’re all so different.

  6. Hi, Jo – I LOVE your description of your “mix-matched” tree and the individual stories of the ornaments on it. We use a real tree, and decorate it in a very similar fashion to you. I wouldn’t trade it for all of the gorgeous Instagram trees in the world! 🙂
    Wishing you and your family a safe, warm and happy Holiday Season!

    1. Thanks 🙂 We joke about it every year and then decide that we’d all want to add just one thing that would throw the theme out. Weirdly though, I like all the presents under the tree to be wrapped in the same colour paper… Wishing you and yours a great holiday season too.

  7. Our tree like yours is full of memories and souvenir decorations from our travels – it makes my heart happy looking at it! In fact, I love having the tree up so much that I do it all again in July – because Christmas in July! I love all your decorations – I’m going to have swing by Liberty next time I’m in London town!

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