A Little Bit Better Than Charlie Brown’s


We put out most of our Christmas decorations last week but didn’t do our tree until this weekend. Actually, it’s one of our trees. We’ve decided we’re going to have two this year. This one tiny one you see here (it’s a $50, 6-foot, pre-lit from Target) and then we’re going to get a REAL tree. I’ve never gotten one before but E really wants one this year so we’re going to get that one and put it upstairs. Is it obnoxious to have two trees? Maybe. But that’s why I went cheapo on the one downstairs…to try to lessen the Obnoxious Factor a bit.

(We had to buy a new tree because our old tree was made for a house with 9-ft ceilings of which there are NONE in this house. Too bad, too. I loved that tree. It was a hand-me-down, but it was better than any tree would could have ever afforded!)

As with any time you have a small child help you decorate a tree, those branches you see Wes helping with up there had 33 ornaments on them by the time we were done. I spent naptime that day trying to re-distribute them off the bottom branches so that my cats (who sleep under it, of course) wouldn’t think we had put up one gigantic toy for them in the sitting room.

Tiny Tree

I think it’s adorable. And hopefully not too pitiful. It’s actually still nicer than the one E and I had when he was little because it wasn’t pre-lit. Now, as soon as E is finished with his Christmas Play this week we’ll make a plan to go get the real tree for upstairs. I think that’s the one Santa will visit since it’s closer to the fireplace. Do you have any tips on real trees? I need to buy a stand, right? How early should we buy it? I’ve seen people buying them now so it shouldn’t be too early, right?

27 thoughts on “A Little Bit Better Than Charlie Brown’s”

  1. We added a second tree this year. We were running out of room for ornaments. Since we add a new one each year for each person in the family, that really adds up (that means 60 ornaments minimum in the last 10 years). We have a really nice pre-lit artificial that’s a good 8 ft or so. Have had it for probably 5 or 6 years. Hubby decided he didn’t want to put it up this year because there’s always some hassle in getting it together. So he put up a smaller fake one that he had bought last year (mostly just for the stand… the other stand broke and he couldn’t find a tree stand anywhere 2 days before Christmas, when we moved into this house), and then also got an 8ft real one. We got them put up Saturday. Yesterday, EVERY. SINGLE. LIGHT. on the real tree was kaput. So we have a dark tree and one that is lit up. Sigh.

    I will say the real tree makes me nervous because it is harder to hang ornaments. You can’t bend the branches to keep an ornament on. I put most of the breakables on the fake one. But the real one smells like the Christmases of my childhood…

  2. You should be fine to buy it now. Just make sure that when you bring it home you saw a bit off the bottom of the trunk before you put it in the stand, or it won’t draw any water and it will dry out really quickly. Just like cutting the bottom off of flower stems before putting them in a vase.

    I forgot that my first time with a real tree, and it was a fire hazard within a week!

  3. You do need a stand, but a cheap one will work just fine, they may even offer basic stands at the tree lot.

    Like Kerry said you need to cut off the bottom before putting it in the water and check the water level every day or two (our cats LOVE Christmas tree water, so be forewarned). Getting it in the house/set up can knock a lot of needles off, so throw down an old blanket or something to save on clean up.

    Then just enjoy delicious Christmas tree smell. There are a couple of lots along Bailey Cove if you want the tree lot experience or Home Depot has trees at some killer prices.

  4. More the merrier i say! We just moved into our house and are only doing one this year but, next year the multiple tree’s is on! I think it’s sweet! We have a “formal” tree in the formal living/dinning room.

    At hobby lobby we found cute football, soccer ball, baseball and pool balls ornaments to go in the game room.

    We have a candy themed tree with lollipops, candy canes, gumdrops etc.

    and my two girls each have small tress in there room that match there room decor. I have christmas tress I think they really out you in the mood for christmas and living in texas where over the weekend it was 80 out I need all the help i can getting into the christmas mood!

    Hope your “real” tree is just as pretty as the pre-lit!

  5. If you’re buying one from a lot, it’s already been sitting around drying out for a while so the sooner you get it into water the better… If you can’t set it up immediately after you get home, put the trunk in a bucket of water.

    If you’re going out somewhere to cut your own, such as at a tree farm, national forest, etc., it’s nice to wait until closer to Christmas because even when you’re diligent about watering, most likely the air in your house is dry, and the tree will still dry out as time goes on.

    We often had two trees when I was young. The primary one in the living room and then a small one that we kids decorated on our back porch. I don’t think it’s “obnoxious” to have more than one tree (possibly ostentatious, maybe, depending on how prominent they are in your home…)

    And, imo, a 6′ tree does NOT qualify as “tiny,” no matter how big a one you’ve had in the past.

  6. Obnoxious to have two trees? Are you kidding? I would LOVE to have two trees. It is my dream, someday to do that. Ah, to have a gorgeous, shimmery, all-matching tree worthy of a photo shoot in one room and in another room, have a fun, sentimental tree filled with goofy ornaments (and memories!)

    As it is, we have one big tree, then three smaller, tabletop trees (I teeny have a Harry Potter tree!)

  7. We are going to have 2 trees this year (both fake and pre-lit). The one in my living room is the “fancy” one (blue, white and silver-themed) and the one downstairs is the multi-colored, home-made and/or tacky ornaments one.

    For the real tree, just don’t put it too close to a heat source so it doesn’t dry out too quickly. Can’t wait to see it!

  8. I know plenty of people who have more than one tree.

    Since this is our first Christmas in our new house we bought a potted one to decorate, water, and enjoy. After the season is over we will plant it in our backyard as a memory of our first Christmas here.

  9. We always had two trees growing up. One in the downstairs window and one in the upstairs window. My mom decorated the downstairs tree (a real one), and my sister and I got to decorate the upstairs tree (a fake one) however we wanted. Which I am sure means that the bottom branches were covered and the top ones were sparse. =)

    Read Swistle’s post Thursday or Friday for tons of comments on how/when to buy a real tree.

  10. I would get a tree stand like the EZ H2O one at Target. Easy to get the water in and pretty easy to make the tree look straight and fit a large range of trunk sizes.

    We always cut our own trees the 1st week of December and they don’t dry out unless that summer was really dry, but this is in MN.

  11. LOL..had to laugh at your “tiny” tree comment. My “big” tree is a 6ft pre-lit. I now live in a house where a 9ft tree would fit! I’m not sure which of my 3 trees I’m going to put up (6ft, 3ft, 2ft). My cats just won’t leave them alone.
    I wonder if anyone has any suggestions to keep cats away from a tree?

  12. We always get a live one right after Thanksgiving and it lasts until New Years. The needles start to fall more frequently there toward the end, but that only effects the floor; the tree still looks good. I think going to a farm is nicer than buying one at the hardware store just because its fun for kids to run around and pick one out. You can cut it yourself, or most places will cut it for you. Just beware – they look smaller in the field. When you get it home, you may be surprised how big your “small” tree actually is. They will measure it for you at the farm though so if you know you want a 7′ tree, you can get one that size.

    On the cat thing – I had a cat that used to climb our trees and they would fall over. I had a few ornaments break that way. After two times of that happening, he learned not to do it again. I don’t know how to keep them from doing that to begin with though. Maybe secure it to the wall like you do furniture for toddlers?

    I loved that your kids hung a bunch of ornaments all at the bottom. My two year old didn’t seem to understand that we were hanging them on the tree. She kept hanging them all over the place – on the knobs on our cabinets for example.

  13. Oh I totally want two trees now – because I’ve always wanted to have a super pretty designer tree, but I’m not willing to give up all the tacky sentimental ornaments ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Also, real trees rule. We’re not getting ours til next week, but we’re getting it from the same tree farm we’ve gone to the last two years and I’m super excited and it just smells so, so yummy.

  14. Hi, You had 9 foot ceiling in your last house! You can tell I come from a cold climate because my first thought was wow how do you heat house with ceilings that high, but you come from a warmer climate so that’s ok ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am glad you are getting a real tree, they smell so lovely but watch out fro prickly needles backfiring on you. Possibly you can find one with roots in a pot so you can keep it in garden until next year? You have such patience decorating trees with small people, but it is one of my most favourite memories of Christmas as a child ๐Ÿ™‚

    My cart thinks the tree is her special present each year and is fascinated by it. Mostly by her determination to hook off as many decorations as possible. Seasons greetings ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Love the pics of the kids with the tree. What settings were you using? I have the hardest time getting the light right with tree pictures and the kids.

  16. Definitely not obnoxious to have 2 trees. I tend to go overboard with Christmas decorating as a rule, but have managed to keep it at 1 tree this year. Normally I have 2 downstairs (one in the living room, one in the dining room), a table top tree in the kitchen, a 3.5 foot tree in the upstairs hall, something in the basement family room… Last year because we were gone dealing with family health emergencies, we didn’t put up ANY Christmas decorations (beyond the lights on the outside of the house to make it look like someone still lives here) and it was just SAD!

  17. If it IS obnoxious to have two trees then I’m DOUBLY obnoxious! we have FOUR! LOL

    – big tree in living room
    – silver Star Wars tree in game room
    – DC Comics tree on side table
    – Island of Misfit Toys (tiny inflatable) tree. there are little “holes” to put the ornaments on it.

  18. I second the tip to read Swistle’s post and all the comments. Some great answers!

  19. It is TOTALLY adorable!! I love it. I also do two trees. I have my larger one upstairs in our “formal” living room and it is our special family keepsake and homemade ornament tree. It is the artificial tree that my mom had all while I grew up, so I love it. We have a smaller tree downstairs in the basement where we actually do gifts and such. So, obviously I do not think two trees is obnoxious. Besides, how can something so adorable and covered in memories be obnoxious?

  20. We went and cut a tree yesterday. It’s been years since we did it, and I LOVE it. It’s 7.5 feet tall at least, full and smells like heaven in my living room.

  21. We always do a live tree, last year two live trees, but it was such a mess to clean every day I think we are downsizing this year..We have a cathedral ceiling in our LR and one year we had a 22 foot tree. I kid you not. We had to have the fire dept come and get it out of the house! We’ve been getting smaller every year as its just too much of a hassle to have a huge tree! Last year we had a 12 foot, this year we are thinking 10 feet. And they do look so much smaller out in the filed. We go to a tree farm and cut our own every year.

    No matter where you buy from test the needles…run your fingers down a few branches and see how many needles come off. Its its a lot, skip that tree or you will end up with a bare tree in a few days. You want one where the needles don’t come off. Plan on anchoring the tree to the wall somehow. Real tree trunks are not always straight and to get it to look straight it many not sit right in the stand so you need to tie it up. We’ve had way too many trees fall over, now they are anchored to the window sill in 4 different places.

    We usually get ours Thanksgiving weekend and take it down after New Years. This year we are late.

    Also, protect your floor, put something under the tree stand, especially if its on carpet. The sap and any spilled water will ruin your floors. The water in the stand gets all sludgy and sappy too so be careful when taking the tree out.

    There is NOTHING that says Christmas like the smell of a live tree! Good luck, can’t wait to see pictures of it!

  22. I suggest you avoid the cheap stands and go for something sturdy that will hold a lot of water. We’ve had the cheap ones and they bend and are more vulnerable to off-balance trees We get our tree from a farm about 10 minutes away and we never re-cut the trunk before putting it in the stand when we get home- drying out has never been an issue. We put a large flattened garbage bag under the stand to catch any spills, and stop watering it a couple of days before we’re planning to take it down as that cuts down on the risk of spills when removing the tree. We have a fireplace nearby and have never had a problem with our trees drying out early- we’re getting ours Saturday and we’ll keep it up into the first couple of days into the new year. When you first get the tree it will absorb almost a gallon of water a day, but will then gradually taper off…but you’ll still add some water every day.

    Our method of measurement is that the tree can’t be taller than my (6′) husband, and he and I have to be able to hold, or almost hold hands around the tree. Our room is a bit narrow and the ceilings are 8′. A tree this size looks so short in the field, and then magically grows and expands when you bring it in the house.

    The smell is fantastic!

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