Christmas tree decorating season is here. It can be a daunting time of year. You’re short of money. You’re short of time. You’re short of inspiration.
Search “Christmas tree decorations” and your task gets a little more intimidating. You are seemingly up against decorating pros with lots of space, lots of time and lots of budget. Not to mention an eye for lighting and Instagram framing.
Here’s the good news: Charlie Brown.
There is a scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Chuck and Linus are sent by Lucy to find a glitzy, glamorous, modern tree for the school play. What they come back with is a small, thin, sad sapling barely able to hold a single ornament. But they stay with it.
Moral of the story: listen to what others have to say, sure, but when it comes to making things more beautiful at this time of year, remember that beauty is in the eye of the tree-holder. That’s you.
Going from your own version of “not so beautiful” to “a little beautiful” or from “a little beautiful” to “a little more beautiful” is more important than arriving at someone else’s pre-packaged definition of a beautiful tree.
With Charlie Brown Rules in effect, here are some Christmas tree trends that we’re seeing out there this year.
1. Go Natural
In a season of runaway advertising and pressure to consume, a sparse tree stands as a reminder to make room for the important things of life, including moderation. The attractiveness of a deliberately underdone tree is enhanced by the hands-on method of decorating it. Head outside to gather pinecones. Use dehydrated apples, cranberries and oranges. String together a good old-fashioned popcorn garland.
2. Choose Simple & Minimal
By its very presence, a minimal tree decorated in tasteful tones delivers the quiet joy and calm we search for at this time of year. Warm string lights, a wood bead garland and white clay ornaments work harmoniously to deliver tranquility. Baking your own clay ornaments printed with unique designs (constellations are a favourite) is a fun tradition to start with the little ones.
3. Or go Barbie!
Barbie, it’s been quite a year! Single (plastic) handedly, the 11½-inch-tall pop cultural icon, brought to life on the big screen by Margot Robbie, has infused our lives with pink. This year, it is not going out on a limb to think pink—pink ornaments, pink baubles, pink glitter and pink feathers, bows and ribbons. Red and green will still be there next year.
4. See Friendships Come Sailing In!
Make the friendship bracelets/ Take the moment and taste it, sang Taylor Swift in “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” Swifties obliged, making friendship bracelets a thing in socials and at Eras concerts this year. Some glue, lettering, foam pucks, and string are all you need to bring Taylor home for the holiday.
5. Mood Change
Home interiors are trending darker and moodier in palette. So are Christmas trees. Burgundies, burnt oranges, dark greens (olive, hunter, and Castleton), and even blacks are taking the place of classic reds and greens. This might be the right tone for the season.
6. Gold and Silver
Ever since the Irish poet W. B. Yeats decorated and painted eternity with “the silver apples of the moon and the golden apples of the sun,” people have found it mesmerizing to combine the sophisticated colours for special occasions. Gold and silver combine to form a kind of shimmering and icy purity.
One of the many cool things about a spruce tree is how it’s built to live with snow. Its needles offer less surface area for snow and ice to hang onto. Its cone shape means the weight of the snow is spread out near the base and not, like a deciduous tree, in the canopy. Also, snow collected on lower branches has a shorter journey to water the roots in spring. All of this makes a case for using fake snow to celebrate the real cleverness of the spruce tree at this time of year—indoors!
8. Paper Tree
Short of floorspace? Got a length of rope and some loose pages from an old book? Then you’re all set. Why not fashion a wall tree that also pays tribute to the trees from which our books come to life? It’s also a reminder that the gift of a book for Christmas is all your favourite bookworm ever needs.
The final word goes to Linus Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas:
“I never thought it was such a such a bad little tree,” said Linus. “It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”
In the spirit of the season, happy decorating to all!