You guys - this is my first real life Christmas tree that I've purchased on my own! My mom is a huge fan of real Christmas trees, so we always had a huge tree in our house. She usually put up 10 or more trees, but I'm pretty sure dad limited her to only having one real tree from their first Christmas. While secretly he loves Christmas, he does turn into a little bit of a Grinch when it comes to putting up a tree. As you'll see, my tree was super easy to put up, so I'm not sure what he's complaining about ;) Just kidding! Mom's tree is usually at least 10 feet tall, requires a truck to bring it home, and the base is still required to be put on the tree.
So after years of enduring that torture Christmas experience, I was hesitant to buy a real one. I figured transporting it home wouldn't be that big of a deal, since they're sold only a couple blocks away. Plus, I knew I wasn't going to be getting one over five feet tall. I was especially worried about the base. How the heck do you put one on? But, as I soon realized, I didn't need to do that! And besides, if you can financially and physically fit a tree in your life at Christmas, how can you pass it up? That tree smell! No candle does it justice (although this Anthro one almost comes close).
The deli at 51st & 9th was selling trees, and since that's closest to my apartment, Whitnie, Roman & I went over there to scope out prices. I had set a budget of $60 for tree + base, and I refused to go over it. The tree stands on 8th were going for $80 for a 4 foot tree! Insert my mother's frugality still embedded within me here.
I have to go on a little rant about Whitnie and Roman. If you are as lucky to have great friends like these two in your lives, then you should repeatedly tell said friends how much you love and respect them. They are seriously the best friends a girl could ask for, and they are the first to come through in an emergency, drama venting, or that one time I bought an AC unit and didn't realize I couldn't lift it up the three flights of stairs. This tree extravaganza was no exception. After I purchased the tree, and the man "wrapped" it, they both just picked up an end and started walking with it. After protests and offerings that I should be the one to carry at least one end of it, we agreed that I would hold all of our Michael's bags and open doors. Seriously, bless them. They are the greatest. If you two are reading this, thank you again so much for all of your help! I love and respect you two to the moon, and couldn't imagine my life without either of you.
Once we got it upstairs, I was pretty quick and efficient with setting it up. I knew I wanted to wrap the base in burlap, and I found this great chevron burlap at Michaels. That was my first thing to tackle. Unfortunately, I didn't have the red wire ribbon like I thought I did, so I settled for blue snowman ribbon. I wish I could do a how-to for this, but I didn't have the patience, or really the knowledge. I figured out how much burlap I would need, cut that down to size, and then wrapped it up around the tree, cutting holes and sliding ribbon through where needed to hold it up. I left enough room to stick my hand/glass in the base in order to fill it with water.
After the base was all set, I untied the tree, shook out the limbs so they would fall a bit, and then filled the base up with water.
Now it was all set to finally decorate! I will say hanging lights on the tree is semi a hassle. But, I only had three strands to deal with, and I could reach my arm up and over the tree, which helped. I've been hoarding collecting ornaments for my eventual real tree since the days I worked at Michaels (circa 2007 - holy cow, 7 years!). I'm pretty sure my brother got the best end of that collection, as I can only manage to store a handful of what I had bought over the years in NYC. The rest is at his apartment in Nebraska.
Decorating was the best part, although the fastest part. Since we've established Whitnie & Roman are amazing, they agreed to take photos of my decorating the tree. Mainly for my eventual Project Life about this, but also for the blog. Dude, it is hard to take a photo of ones self decorating a tree. Insert friends here :) Needless to say, they had different shooting modes. I wanted Whitnie to get a couple of me 'decorating' the tree, which she did. But, Roman wasn't having it. "Guys, we need action, we need movement. Cori, stop being so stiff". So, he took the camera, Whitnie became his assistant with the 'lighting', and he shot away. As you can tell, shenanigans. But, these photos are some of my favorite for that memory alone. Can you picture him with the camera, shouting "Work it, Cor, work it. Decorate that tree!"? Because that's what made me laugh so hard in these photos.
All ornaments shown are from Michaels. As you can seen, in my previous years, I went through a red and gold phase, which is still one of my favorite Christmas themes. Currently, I'm leaning a little more rustic-woodsy theme in my life though - which explains the burlap and little snowman & owl that look like they belong in a cabin. I made the ornaments with musical notes on them (how-to coming here soon!), and those are some of my favorites. Simple, and adds that balance between all the red, gold, and rusticness going on. I didn't get a tree topper, but I've just never been a huge fan of tree toppers. I'm a huge believer in just doing what works for you, so I personally decided I didn't need one.
I still think it needs another strand of lights, and some more ornaments, but I've got the rest of December, or next year, to add on!