It's a Slender Christmas Bush

Remember our trek to the countryside to cut down a natural Christmas tree this year (read about it here)? How I specifically said I wanted an imperfect, delightfully quirky tree? Well, here she is, folks. In all her slender and sparse glory.

On the mountainside, she looked thin (which we wanted for this fireside location), she looked tall, she looked imperfect while still maintaining a traditional Christmas tree shape - in other words, the perfect compromise for John and me. We estimated cutting a bit off the top and bottom, but hoped figured it would just add to her charm. 

Fast forward 3 hours, when we took her off the roof of the car and tried to set her up in the garage…imagine our surprise when we discovered she was too tall to stand up. Too tall by like 5 feet. Somehow our delightfully quirky tree turned into a 12 footer. I swear, we measured her on the mountainside. 
I am almost certain we did. 

Some selective pruning later, what emerged is what we have affectionately coined, our slender Christmas bush. 

Ah, just what I wanted. 
A slender Christmas bush.

But, seriously, it has taken us over a week to decorate this beast. In the end, we just had to accept that it certainly is not our traditional tree, but we love her all the same. Quirks and all. 

Swiftly moving on...
This year, keeping with our natural theme, we decided to attempt a mantel with live greenery. Usually, I am a big supporter of the fake stuff inside, but not this year. Authentic and simple all the way - an asymmetrical swag of white pine garland with a double strand of golden beads.

The urns are filled with cuttings from the yard and tree. As you can guess, we had quite a few of those, from our slender Christmas bush.

More from the full house tour coming up later this week.You'll be sad to discover that the rest of our decorations barely hold a candle to the slender Christmas bush. Come by anyway, and check 'em out.
   Only 10 more days until Christmas?!?!

until next time, 

Life List: Choose and Cut Christmas Tree

Over the weekend we checked an event off the life list: choose and cut your own Christmas tree. It's one of those things John and I have always wanted to do, so we thought getting in the spirit for our first Christmas down South would be the perfect opportunity to do it! 

We set out early Saturday morning to Vale, NC, a short two hour drive, to what could be considered Christmas tree valley. A couple of bagels, coffee on the road, carols playing, and beautiful scenery made for a quick drive. 

We did our research in advance, and found this site (here) to be pretty helpful because it lead us to Reeves Ridge Christmas Trees. We wanted the whole experience: hay rides, Christmas shop, marshmallows over the open fire, animals, and of course, cut your own fraser fir trees. Reeves managed to have it all while being totally unassuming with personal service and a very laid back vibe.

After hot cocoa, cookies and toasted marshmallows for sustenance, we made the big trek up to to the top of the mountain for views that did not disappoint and a fine selection of trees. We let the kids (and by kids I mean Tessa, Eloise wasn't exactly into it!) pick their own pint sized tree for their playroom while John and I tried to compromise on a tree for our den. 

This year, I wanted a more natural tree, not a perfectly sheered tree. I didn't want to drive 2 hours to pick out a perfect tree, I could have purchased at Home Depot (which, by the way, have great trees)! A non typically perfect Christmas tree was not something John was really into - lots of compromise and searching until we found something we both liked. 

The girls had a great time, as did we. The only thing that could have made it any better would have been a fresh snow fall, but you can't have it all! 
One other quick shout out from our little day trip adventure was our lunch spot: River Rock Grill. If you ever find yourself in Sparta, this is the place to be. Some of the best crab cakes I've ever had! 

The kids made quick work of decorating their tree. John and I, on the other hand, are still working on ours.

After this weekend, the Christmas spirit is definitely building in our home!

Hope you had a great weekend getting into the holiday spirit.

until next time, 

Our Family Tree 2012

It's so easy to get wrapped up in trendy decorating, especially living in the world of blogs, Pinterest and shelter magazines, but there is one thing in our home that I hope will never be effected by trends. Our family Christmas tree. 

It's the one place were tradition reigns supreme. It will always be filled to the brim with family oriented ornaments. Some handmade, some with sentimental significance and some from momentous occasions in our lives. But each and every one is special to us.

So, this year I thought I'd share a bit about what will hopefully become our new family tradition for decorating our tree.  

Instead of running around doing a million errands, rushing off to activities, etc. we lit a fire in the fireplace and sat down to a family breakfast in the living room. Pj's mandatory.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the slower pace of the day. 

Then it was time to get out the ornaments. Now that Miss T is 4.5 she is really getting into the holiday spirit. The decorations and ornaments are all new to her and she loved hearing the story behind each one. 

It really did feel special this year, for all of us.

Coming out from behind the camera, I got in on the action as well. They can't have all the fun without me.

Later that night we all enjoyed the view of our tree all done up. There's nothing quite like a lit tree at night, is there?

Here's to what I hope will be a new tradition for years to come. 
Happy Holidays.

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until next time,