Christmas Tree Reveal - White & Glitzy, thank you very much!

Preview of this year's tree + my little elf who thinks the tree skirt is her bed.

Preview of this year's tree + my little elf who thinks the tree skirt is her bed.

I am a Christmas fanatic.

Though, perhaps not as much as I used to be. Truth be told, in the past few years, if I’m really honest, I’ve found Christmas to be more stressful than not.

Mr. Layne and I live in New York, both of our families live on the West Coast. That means to see family at Christmas, we travel. 

And you know what is kind of brutal? Traveling at Christmas. I’m not much one for traveling anyway, but it really sucks all the joy out of December for me. What was once the most joyful, relaxing time of the year turns into suitcases, and expensive plane tickets, and traffic to the airport, and security lines, stuffy, bumpy plane rides, jet lag. Not exactly the snowfall, fireplace, champagne kind of Christmas I long for. (Let's just say it's an active battle for me to focus on the positive and not go all-on Scrooge--I'm working on it!) 

Now, if one does escape the agony of holiday travel, you may merely be brining out its fraternal twin sister: guilt. Not to mention the stab of sadness not seeing family during the holidays!

So now, I try to balance. Travel some years, home other years. A positive attitude all years.

Anyway, how’d I get on this?

Right. My tree.

See, as I’ve battled with the new reality or Christmas While Adulting, I’ve struggled with whether or not to decorate on years when I don’t get to spend Christmas in my own home.

There’s something a little bittersweet about putting everything up, knowing that you won’t actually get to enjoy it at Christmas and that when you come back from a six hour plane ride after Christmas, it’ll be there waiting for you. Waiting to be put away, all sad and past its prime.

That was my attitude for a couple years.

It was a really bad attitude.

I’ve changed it up, guys.

2015's white & gold tree.

2015's white & gold tree.

I’m traveling to Seattle this year, leaving in the middle of the month, AND I decorated here in New York.

Sure, I won’t be able to enjoy my own Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. But I can enjoy it every day up until I leave.

Which brings me to the point of this post, the tree itself!

Let’s just get this out of the way, I have a fake one. But don’t you dare judge me.  I have a fake one because I have far too much respect for the real thing to tolerate the tiny overpriced trees you see on the street corners of New York

I’m from Washington state. The state's nickname? The Evergreen State. It might as well be called The Christmas Tree state. There are evergreen trees everywhere, in everyone’s backyard, all year long (hence that ‘ever’ part of their name, right?)

For me, a real Christmas tree is about going to one of the billion “cut your own” tree farms that they have around Seattle. They don’t have them like that in New York City! 

So … I settle. Mine is fake. It’s on its third year now. I don’t remember where I got it. Target, I think, they have some great ones!

Now, I’m going to just be ballsy and confident as crap here … 

I give good Christmas tree.

The only picture I can find of my mom's "fancy tree!" From a couple years ago.

The only picture I can find of my mom's "fancy tree!" From a couple years ago.

I learned it from my mom. Growing up, we had two trees: “the family tree,” and the “fancy tree.”

The family tree was what you’d expect. Multi-colored lights, and all the homemade, baby’s first Christmas ornaments.

The fancy tree in the formal living room was entirely my mom’s domain. White lights, with all of the ornaments in gold and shades of pink In hindsight, I believe she also dabbled in rose gold, before rose gold was even a thing. Ahead of the times, my mother.

As a kid, I didn’t get it. I was way more into my beloved Winnie the Pooh ornament.

But when I got my first ever apartment, with my first ever Christmas tree, you know which tree I wanted?

The fancy tree.

Instead of pink and gold, I went with red and white, and the final result had exactly the sort of modern elegance I wanted. 

2012's rare dabble with a white tree!

2012's rare dabble with a white tree!

Since then, I’ve dabbled. I go with red and white every other year or so. It’s my home base. But I’ve also dabbled with red and gold. I did a white and gold. One year I even had a white tree, with all back and red ornaments.

This year? Green tree, with all white ornaments.

I didn’t really plan it! I meant to do red and white, but as I started to decorate, all of my white ornaments were on top, so I hung those first.

And … the more and more white-only ornaments that went up on the tree, the more I really liked it.

Add in the fact that my apartment is almost entirely decorated in white it was pretty easy to convince myself that the red ornaments would be just fine staying cozy in storage for another year. Especially since my red-and-white tree last year was REALLY fabulous. If you can't beat it ... change it up!

So below is the final product. I’m pretty smitten with it considering I didn’t really go at it with a plan.

It’s also topper-less! (For those of you who’ve read my book An Ex for Christmas, you know this is a thing!) 

Unlike Kelly’s tree, however, I don’t actually find it’s one missing one. This tree has lots of smaller, elegant ornaments, and though I could find an appropriately size/themed topper, I’m just not feeling it. 

I love it as is.

This Year's Tree:

 
This year's tree (2017). Simple Fancy.

This year's tree (2017). Simple Fancy.

This year's tree again, all lit up.

This year's tree again, all lit up.

 

2016's tree

2016's tree

Tips for a Fancy Christmas Tree:

2014's tree (red and gold!) 

2014's tree (red and gold!) 

  1. Color scheme! Pick one or two colors, three at the most, and stick with them. The number one difference between the “Instagrammable” trees you see and regular old Christmas trees is the number of colors used in the ornaments. If you're going for fancy, less is more (if you're going for fun and sentimental, go crazy!) 
  2. Same goes for the lights. White or single-color lights will give you a more cohesive look than multi-colored looks (unless, of course, your look is rainbow!) 
  3. Consider a flocked Christmas tree! It’s on my lifetime bucket list to have an elegant flocked Christmas tree, but for now, the real ones are too messy, the fake ones too expensive.
  4. Don’t be afraid of balls (heh). One of my tried-and-true tricks for my tree is buying regular old Christmas balls on Amazon in a single color. You can find pretty much any color, and you can get really huge sets for not that much money. Target’s another great option. They look boring in the packaging, but truthfully, most people looking at your tree won’t be able to tell (or care) whether you spent twenty cents or twenty dollars on an ornament.
  5. Glitter is good. The holidays are prime time for sparkles, embrace them! 
  6. Tree picks! This is one of my favorite tricks … Tree picks are basically like, long pointy flair that you stick in among your branches. They’re great for filling in bald spots, as well as giving the tree a bit more visual interest. I go to the Christmas/and or floral department at Michaels. Here’s an example
  7. Ribbon! Either to "trim" the tree, or to turn into big, fluffy bows. Instant, affordable elegance, and way easier to store than ornaments.
  8. And look, if this whole thing is abhorrent to you, if for you, the Christmas tree is all about digging out the old, beloved ornaments. Do that. Especially if you have kids who love showing off their popsicle-stick ornament from last year. Gauge what you and your family need right now, this year. It may be nostalgia, it may be memories, it may be minimalism, it may time for a new tradition. Or, it may be mama needing her own tree 😉 
Lauren Layne