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a close up of a piece of cake

What makes tree decorating unique is you – your style and your traditions. It’s whatever makes your heart sing when you see the finished tree.

The Vikings in Scandinavia thought evergreens were the special plant of the sun god Balder. It’s generally said that Germany started the tradition to bring decorated trees into their homes, although the Estonian and Latvian people may disagree with that. It became popular with Baltic countries during the second half of the 19thcentury…but just for the upper class.

At first trees were decorated with roses made of coloured paper, apples, tinsel, and even sweetmeats. Then in the 18thcentury, trees began to be illuminated by candles…but that stopped when electricity made lights possible at the flick of a switch.

Today there are so many choices: ornaments made from a variety of materials, tinsel, and garlands of all types. You can even have edible items such as candy canes, gingerbread, or chocolates hung from ribbons. At the top of the tree it’s pretty traditional to have an angel to represent Angel Gabriel or a star for the Star of Bethlehem…but you can put whatever you want on your tree. Why not top your tree with a hat?

Ornaments can be handmade – glass ornaments with hand or foot imprints of babies first Christmas, painted ornaments, woolen, felt, ceramic, paper, wooden, you name it…you can do it. Think of all the shapes you can make or consider a theme for your tree. You can have one style or shape of ornaments for example hearts, or mix them with dried or silk flowers. Be careful with the dried flowers though and make sure you’re using LED lights. You can make snowflakes.

How about a memory tree with photos of the kids and cherished friends? Or photos of the kids as they were growing up or special projects they made at school…

You can choose a colour theme and have a monochromatic look – say purple ornaments or blue, or whatever colour you love. Or you can use two colours or a variety of colours. The tree can reflect special moments in your lifetime or in the year. If you’re a traveller, they can be ornaments from around the world or across the country. If you like music, or cooking, you can choose ornaments to reflect your hobbies.

Maybe you’ll invite people over for a Christmas get together and ask them to bring an ornament that will remind you of them…or maybe you create a tree of wishes – people can put their wishes on the tree and you pick a wish and help make it come true.

When it comes to garland, the TV Christmas movies always show people stringing popcorn…you can certainly do that. Or you can use silver, gold, or a variety of colours to wrap around the tree. And tinsel…some love it – they like to create an icy look to the tree, some overdo it, and some just list to sprinkle some tinsel here and there.

Whatever you do, make the process fun. Put on your favourite Christmas music, get your hot chocolate or hot toddy ready, invite some friends over…and create your unique tree.

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