When I was little, my sister and I would take turns each year putting the angel on top of the Christmas tree. Inevitably, we’d always think it was our turn, and we’d fight about who got the honor that year. The tree itself was full of an eclectic collection of ornaments–macaroni creations we made at school, a plastic grinch head one of us got in a happy meal, and the annual keepsake ornaments with all of our names on them. It was definitely not an interior designer’s dream tree, but it was ours.
As an adult, I get to decorate my own tree. In fact, we have two–one main tree and a much smaller one downstairs. It’s fun, but my trees are lacking the home-grown touches that made up the trees of my childhood. Instead, I strive for a pulled-together, “themed” look. It’s about the overall effect, rather than the sentimentality of any one ornament. It’s fun, but it’s definitely a different approach than the one I grew up with.
Do you think it’s a cultural shift that’s made us reach for designer Christmases? Is it a generational aesthetic thing? Is it just our drive to make everything perfect? Or is it just me?
I wonder. I love my trees, and I love a polished look. But I remember loving the messy, uncoordinated, handmade Christmas trees from back in the day, too. And I wonder if they’ll return as my own little family grows. I think they’re both fun and they both contribute to the magical aura of Christmastime… but could one actually be better than the other somehow? Does a coordinated tree make me less of a sentimentalist than a hodge-podge one? Does a tree full of little kids’ ornaments reflect any more love of them than one without?
What do you think? What does your Christmas tree look like?