Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Meaningful Tree

"O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the earth in sin and error pining.
Til He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
 O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!" - Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure

Trees are a common symbol in the scriptures. Most are familiar with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the tree infamously connected with sin and death. It was on a "tree" that the Son of God bore the sins of the world. But there was also another tree in the garden, the Tree of Life. It's fruit is for the healing of the nations and it is a symbol of eternal life. The evergreen tree, because of its perpetually green needles, was decorated with fruit to represent the Tree of Life in early Christian passion plays. The fruit was eventually replaced with colorful balls, but the symbolism remains the same. Because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the real reason for the season, each one of us can be reconciled to God and receive the gift of eternal life through Him.

This year, I'm just putting up the smaller of my two full size trees. It will be perfect for the formal living room.

The ornaments I worked on last year were inspired by Jennifer over at Dear Lillie. In the 2012 special interest edition of Better Homes & Gardens, She typed out lyrics to Christmas carols and printed them on cardstock. So perfect! What a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is all about.  "O Holy Night" is my personal favorite.

I wanted my version to be a little more permanent than delicate paper, so I found old caroling booklet images and attached them to pieces of 1/8" MDF. I used leftover scrap Justin had leftover from a custom closet system and he cut the pieces to my specifications (3.5" x 5"). I adhered the paper to the white side, left the back natural, and sealed them with Modge Podge (I use that stuff on everything!) Of course, I couldn't forget the MS fine crystal glitter. I also aged them with some Distress Ink. Gold bows were added to the plainer ones.

I love the sheet music and tiny illustrations.


This year, I made popcorn and cranberry garland for just a touch of red and nostalgia. I haven't done that in many many years (since I was a kid) and never with cranberries. I got the idea to coat the strands in aerosol Modge Podge (of course!) from Pinterest. Not sure how it will hold up, but I like how glossy the berries look. No incidents yet.

The stand is also a new concoction.  I took a faded planter from my backyard and we filled it with concrete and a plastic pipe. Justin is very resourceful, so we didn't have to purchase anything. Works a lot better in this space than a tree skirt.

It's handmade things like this, fruit, nuts, and natural elements that would have been used on those trees of yesteryear. Glad we have the modern convenience of incandescent lights though. Candles on a tree? Who thought that was a good idea?

I still don't have any curtains up, which made it a little tricky to take photos facing the window. And please excuse the rug situation by the front door. The runner isn't big enough, but I'm keeping it here for now because of the snowy weather. It's like 8 degrees today and light flurries. Brrr... Makes me want to curl up by the fire and drink some hot cocoa!

Can you handle the asymmetry? I have always put my tree dead center with the window, but that just didn't seem right with my new furniture arrangement. It's good to push oneself out of her comfort zone sometimes.

I wrapped up a few gifts in brown paper and faux newspaper wrapping paper (purchased both for a dollar). I decorated them with evergreens I had leftover from the front table, jingle bells, candy canes, and mini marshmallow-filled glass bulbs. The ribbon was just whatever I had in my ribbon box. I save ribbons from everything - pajama sets, blankets, you get the point. Cloth ribbon can be reused quite a few times so it is therefore more economical than plastic.

It doesn't have to take a lot of money. It just takes some creativity, resourcefulness, and time. Are you making any of your own decorations this year? What's your inspiration?
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