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The Family Tree

Before this happened:

And before this happened:

I dreamed of decorating a Christmas tree like this:

Or this:
Or this:
via Country Living

Beautiful themed trees with consistent color schemes and nothing to distract your eye. Designer Christmas trees.

But then suddenly we were this:

And we were making memories every year. We started collecting ornaments to help us remember. To remember old friends and how we met…Vacations…
First Christmases…To remember how tiny newborn feet can be…
Those ornaments didn’t match. They didn’t carry a specific color scheme or feel designer-y when we added them to the tree. The more memories we’ve accumulated, the “uglier” and more mismatched my tree becomes.

Like life, it’s a hodge-podge, and it’s messy. I learned to let go of how my tree is “supposed” to look, and fall in love with the sweet collection of moments it’s become. Fall in love with the idea of future trees, “uglier” trees filled with more “Baby’s First” ornaments, more vacation ornaments, more ornaments given to us from dear friends.

So here’s my tree today. I still can’t resist bringing in colored balls in aquas, blues and greens to match everything else – with a little bit of red for punch. I still can’t resist a million sparkly snowflakes or jolly ribbon cascading down the sides. But it’s no designer tree. Just a sweet representation of happy times as we accumulate Christmases, and years, as a family. It’s a family tree.

However, I still can’t explain how this keeps showing up every year.

Let's connect


  1. it looks fantastic!! The tree on the cover of this month’s style at home is gorgeous – and a total mish-mash! The author said there’s no point having a tree if kids can’t go near it…I couldn’t agree more! Your tree looks beautiful, and how much more fun is it to decorate with ornaments that bring back memories? My tree post is going up today and it’s not designer either… 🙂

  2. I’m all about a family Christmas tree with mismatched ornaments and your children will love it too! Those are the ornaments that they’ll remember and want to have on their tree one day!

  3. Love it! Your family photos are so stinking cute.

    On a side note, when I was still in pharmacy school. A package arrived on my door. I opened it and it was a fairly decent sized talking Yoda. I was freaked out. I had no clue why I was receiving this. Turns out my nerdy husband (then boyfriend) likes to enter contests from cereal boxes. Yoda mystery solved.

  4. LOOOOVE it. We have the same ugly tree in our house too. But to me, its beautiful, as all the ornaments hold meaning to us! Don’t you love pulling out the ornaments and remembering who or where they came from? 🙂

  5. I totally felt the same way 3 days ago! I was so excited to put up our “pretty tree” (our lights are up but our ornaments aren’t up yet). Karlie and I spent Monday night with my parents and helped my mom put up her tree. Her ornaments are Disney character ornaments and some of mine and my siblings from when we were growing up. Karlie’s face completely lit up at all the different types of ornaments. Suddenly I wanted our tree covered with sock monkeys, and Minnie Mouse, and anything else not “pretty”.

    I love that your tree has so many memories hanging from it 🙂 It looks great!!

  6. It’s beautiful and personal; I love it! This is how our tree is also, but it feels so homey =)

  7. I. totally. agree. I think ornaments should reflect people, experiences and history. That’s when they are beautiful to me. I was beginning to think I was the only one who felt this way. Thank you for expressing yourself!

  8. I am right there with you. I too once had dreams of a fabulously decorated tree. We finally just got ours done yesterday, complete with handmade ornaments made by our kiddos of course and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The memories of them making them and decorating the tree how they want it, is the best ever!

    Xx. Patience

  9. Your trees perfect!

  10. Our tree is much the same-a good ole fashioned hodge podge of memories and mementos =) That’s my favorite kind!

  11. I LOVE it, and everything you said about family, life. Our tree is the same, or at least it will be once we get our butts in gear and decorate it. I’ve been planning on doing a post very similar to this one, and for the same reasons. 🙂

    Growing up, I always loved decorating the tree because of all my favorite ornaments I’d get to see again; they’re kinda like old friends that you only see once a year. Corny, but true. I can’t imagine I’d have had nearly as much fun if I had only been allowed to hang beautifully matching ornaments on the tree.

  12. I wish we had thought to do the newborn footprint ornament! That is so precious! And don’t worry, our tree is quite “ugly” too – I just don’t show the close ups of those =)

  13. What a perfect post! So true.

  14. Love this! My tree is decorated the same exact way, full of sentimental ornaments!

  15. I completely agree! Some people say those memory ornaments are “tacky” but I really think people and memories are lots more important than a designer tree. So our tree is mostly memories with some beautifiers to tie it together (hopefully).;)

  16. Hah! Love that yoda… my boys would definitely be hanging that if we had one! That pic of you holding your little guy is SO cute!!

  17. You hit the nail on the head… the family tree full of memories is never going to stop being quirky so just enjoy the process : )

  18. I had to leave a comment. I laughed out loud at your comment over on feathering my nest! I didn’t have any idea what a silpat was either! Thanks for keeping it real!

  19. Love this post! A tree with meaningful memories on it is truly the best kind of all. 🙂

  20. Theresa Daniel says:

    I have a theory about designer Christmas trees….. they’re a bank lobby. We have over 200 ornaments on our “ugly tree.” We’ve collected ornaments from ever trip we’ve ever taken. Our kids’ school ornaments, ornaments I made in Girl Scouts as a young girl, ornaments from my husbands childhood tree as well as ornaments I made the first year of our marriage (because we were flat broke) are on our tree. i wouldn’t have it any other way!!!

  21. I think your tree is beautiful! We also have a tree that is full of family memories, and, to me, it’s the most beautiful ‘ugly’ tree ever! thanks for sharing your wonderful tree.

  22. Thanks for linking up! The photos of your family are just precious!

  23. I can completely relate! I love my tree because of the stories it tells, and yours does the same. It’s beautiful, enjoy!

  24. I love this beautiful post. So happy to meet you I have enjoyed looking around. I have just found your lovely blog through the blog on Christmas cheer link wonderful to join in. I’m now following you hope you visit me sometime, follow back if you like so nice to find new friends to catch up with. Have a great day.

    Always Wendy

  25. What a lovely tree full of memories and life stories.
    Thanks for linking to the Simply Christmas inspiration Party at Shabby Art Boutique.
    Festive hugs ~ Kerryanne

  26. I love what you’ve done! Such a cute post. Making memories this time of year is the most important (: Thanks for linking up with me for our Christmas Cheer party!


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