not lenny kravitz funky

In ALL, FOOD LOVE by Stephanie Klein51 Comments

Trimlanding_01_2Last year, I had a foodie-themed tree. This year, I cannot decide. We’re going to chop down our own Christmas tree tomorrow.  When I say we, I mean Phil.  The elves and I plan to watch and cheer as he heaves and hos.  Phil’s not much of a social person, except when he’s around people.  That is, he doesn’t like making plans, especially plans where I plan a party, because inevitably he ends up having to do stuff.  "Everything. I end up having to get involved in everything, even if you say you’ll be taking care of it." So if I bake cookies and ask him to taste them, he’s involved. I roll my eyes and know he’ll come around, as he always does, after putting on his pout. And once people are around, he couldn’t be more social and hospitable. So, go figure.

We’ve been lighting the candles and singing our prayers with the tots.  I’ve started to sing them the Adam Sandler Hannukah songs before bed each night.  And tomorrow there will be a tree.  We’re making our own traditions and honoring the ones we both grew up with.  On Christmas Eve there will be seafood.  I don’t know about seven fishes, but I’m going to try to get close.  We’re not Italian, but my first cousins are, so I grew up with that tradition.  It’s part of who I am, even though I’m not Italian.  And to me, that’s what this season is about.  Coming together and carrying on traditions of our past, and lighting new ones along the way.  I’m so thankful Phil is accepting of these things.  In fact, he’s the one who researched the "Cut your own tree" place, an hour from our home.  He’s even gone ornament shopping with me, since all my childhood ornaments were lost.  So now we’re creating a new tree style.  And I’m a Libra and simply cannot decide which way to go with decorations, style, and theme.

I’ve posted about themes before.  But now I’m more into color.  Clear twinkle lights are playing it safe.  Make a kick-ass tree with multicolored lights?  I don’t know how it’s done, unless you go the traditional red, green, and gold route.  So I’m returning the colored lights and going safe and clear, adding color with the ornaments. 

THE PREPPY HOLIDAY TREE
At first I thought I’d make a preppy tree, all pink and green, with bright plaid ribbon and bows. THE FOUR WEDDINGS & A FUNERAL TREE
Then I was swayed with the idea of silver and a deep purple, chandelier pieces and velvet bows. I’d need another color, like orange or lime green in there, an accent color. I try to keep a color scheme to 4 colors: 2 main colors, an accent color, and then your sparkle color. That said, I simply cannot make up my mind, so I’ve purchased everything my eye has been drawn to, keeping receipts, hoping to construct something we’ll all love.  The trick is coming up with something the kids will love for the years to come, too.

SANTA’S WORKSHOP TREE
I love the old world toys look, pine cones, navy, burgundy, hunter green plaid, but there’s nothing bright on that tree. It’s basically a nature tree, and um, given that trees are actually, you know, nature, might be a little too understated… unless, however, there’s a toy train with lights and steam, running around the base. I love this idea most because it reminds me of my childhood tree, with its wrapped gifts color coordinated with the colors of the tree decor.

Not Lenny Kravitz funky
We’re definitely going with the silver/funky theme.  Pine cone people funky.  Though I have noticed that I’ve purchased quite a few knitted sparkling sweaters and felt skater girls, even a few strappy shoe ornaments. 

FASHION BARBIE TREE
Oh how I’d love to deck the new mantle with fashion-forward Barbies! I might just have to work a few into the tree or room somewhere.  I still love to love Barbie.

I hope to one day have enough time to create my own ornaments from fabric and tassels, but it will never ever happen.  Because when I do have that much free time, I’ll fill it with other things.  I just will.  I don’t have time to be icing cookies to hang on a tree.  I wish life could be just one big crafts project class, where all you did was learn new things, try new things, and get your hands dirty.  I love to play. 

I’ve been looking for tree inspiration in magazines and blogs (and looked back at my photos from last year) and haven’t found ANYTHING!  Just one good tip, to put small silver ornaments in toward the trunk of the tree to really make the tree light up and reflect lots of light within.  Any other tips, please add to the discussion. Anthropologie ornaments above were my first purchase.  Below are some others…

Myornaments_3

Comments

  1. I hope you've made it to the Christmas Store. http://austin.citysearch.com/profile/10215895/austin_tx/famous_christmas_store.html

    Also, if you have an opportunity, it's worth the trip to Fredericksburg this time of year for to shop for ideas and Christmas decorations! Going during the week is better bc it gets crowded on the weekends, and make sure to go early enough bc shops start closing at six.

    There are kitsch shops, German breweries, Texas wineries, and loads of Christmas cheer, Texas style. You can take the tots too. : )

  2. Yay for Christmas trees! This is my first year of having my own big tree and I toyed with all the same ideas you did. I ended up doing exactly what it sounds like you're doing – buying everything that appeals to me and keeping receipts. My tree is now insane, but it's sparkly and gorgeous and over-the-top. And now that it's done, I think that's exactly how I'd prefer it to be rather than preppy or dual-colored, although I was seriously drawn to the deep-purple-and-silver idea.

    If you have time, post a pic of your tree when you've finally decided what to go with. I love looking at other people's Christmas trees! :)

  3. Ha, my fiance is the same way. He's always telling me not to make plans for awhile. He feels like he gets sucked into helping. Not true, I do most of the planning.

    I vote for the preppy tree. Mine is always silver and hot pink with white twinkle lights. It sounds loud but it's really pretty. Its the holidays, bright is good.

    Too cute that he looked up the tree cutting. That is really sweet.

  4. I lost all of my cherished decorations and holiday decor during during Hurricane Katrina. Of all the things I lost it hit me the most. As "THE TREE" is huge in my family, there were all the decorations that my grandmother had helped me make as a child. The first Christmas after my son was born, I made ornaments using silver and gold stamp ink and stamping his hand onto japanese rice paper. I attached ribbons and hung them ,knowing I captured a moment that I could never again replicate, our first Christmas together. Every year before the storm I was as ridiculous as the Hallmark commericals, putting each ornament on the tree and remembering, the where it came from or the who and how it was made. It made Christmas for me. Well the first year after the storm I was to heartbroken to put up a tree. But then last year, my friend sent me a collection of beautiful Oragami cranes that she made, and my son brought home several ornaments that he made with his class, So instead of decorating with a theme.I let the tree come together with different ornaments, few matching and bright colorful lights. I looked to create new memories, "carrying the traditions of the past and lighting new ones on the way".
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  5. This year I bought all new ornaments and went with a jewel tone theme. Fushias, royal blues, Peacock blues, and hunter greens, with a few gold ornaments thrown in there. I even have a couple of peacock bird clip ornaments thrown in there. Instead of a regular garland I found a beautiful burgundy and gold wired ribbon to wrap around the tree. It looks gorgeous and chic

  6. One thing my family has done every year since I was born is give each child an ornament as a Christmas gift, writing the year somewhere on the ornement with a gold or silver paint pen.

    The first year I had a tree of my own, I had more than enough ornaments to cover the tree, and each one has a special memory and meaning attached to it.

    When I was a child I of course didn't appreciate this tradition, but as I have grown into an adult and now use the ornaments my parents picked out each year (and still continue to give), it gives my tree special meaning every year.

  7. I am so, so excited about Christmas this year! It's the first one my husband and I have been married so I too have been trying to come up with some sort of new tradition that we can start together while still honoring and cherishing the traditions we each grew up with. We don't have kids yet but are trying and I cannot wait for all our Christmases future with our family! We are working on decorating the house and getting our tree this weekend and I can't wait to see everything together. It always makes it feel like Christmas once the house is all ready.

    In the meantime, though, I am putting together this 600-piece Batman Lego toy for my nephew and I LOVE it! It sounds so cheesy but I feel like a kid again… At some point, I'm sure I'll be over putting together toys but it's been so fun! I feel like it's an early Christmas present for me!

  8. yippee! i wish i were there to help cut down AND decorate… my favorite tree trimming memory was in canada with my catholic cousins. we found a tree in the dumpster behind a local school. it was huge and perfect! don't remember how we got it home though.

  9. I know you tend to be attracted to things that match and coordinate and whatever, but why not take inspiration from some of the commentors and go with everything? I know it won't look carefully planned and reflect the stylishness you hope to convey, but I believe Christmas trees are about inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. Personally, I think theme trees, while pretty, are contrived and stiff. My Christmas tree, like the ones I grew up with, is a hodge podge of natural, glitzy, preppy, nostalgic, campy, classic, homemade. It's a true reflection of me and my various tastes over the years, not to mention all those memories! (I, too, come from a family that gave my brother and me new ornamnets each year.) Admitedly, some years I have been tempted to streamline, to define a more discernable theme, but I simply couldn't bear to leave certain ornaments in their boxes just because they didn't "match." Don't be selective! Put everything you've bought so far on your tree, even if you think it will clash. I guarantee you it will all come together in the most beautiful way. I know I sound like a Hallmark card, but just try it.

  10. We did our tree last weekend and it looks great. It is still settling and getting wider and wider but I love it. My kids are 5 and 8 so it is filled with things they have made from Pre-K until now. And since they went to the same school, there are ornaments from the oldest and then similar ones again from the youngest.
    Also I bought 18 silver frames from Pottery Barn last year and engraved the with the years. Then I make a wallet size of the Christmas photo to put in each year. This year will be the 7th one. It is so much fun to see the kids at different ages or bad haircuts etc..

  11. good for you stephanie– believe it or not, now that we have the Christmas music station on every day, i find myself thinking of you !!!
    my son (almost four) is learning "jingle bells" right now. but instead of one horse open sleigh he sings one more popen sleigh. it is so adorable.
    enjoy the holidays with your angels!

  12. I know I am about to be very unpopular here, but so be it. I am appalled that your Jewish husband is cutting down a Christmas tree. There is more to Judaism than Adam Sandler. And I know you are a child of intermarriage, with a non Jewish mother, and you have every right to celebrate Christmas. But don't trick yourself into believing that by "embracing all traditions" in this way, you are anything other than a Christian who celebrates fun Jewish holidays. That's fine, but just don't call yourself Jewish.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Last I checked, my "celebrating" Yom Kippor wasn't exactly "a fun Jewish holiday." I find it "appalling" that you'd tell anyone what kind of Jew they are or aren't.

    I had a bat-mitzvah, can read Hebrew, and plan to send our children to Hebrew School, so they too follow in our footsteps. Jewish and otherwise. It won't stop us from eating latkes, spinakopita, or challah. And it certainly won't stop us from baking cookies for santa and leaving carrots for his reindeer. It's about tradition for us, not about the religious associations. It's hard for some people to understand that, but it's not hard for us.

  13. Since I can remember, my dad has given each of us a silver bell to hang on the tree every Christmas Eve. He gets them engraved with the year and a personalized message. It is the only gift we were allowed to open before Christmas morning and my mom, sister and I always make a big show of shaking the box and pretending we have no idea what is inside. I now have over 30 silver bells and they are beautiful. I hang them with thin red satin ribbon loops. The tree is always real and very traditional and looks almost just like my mom's. I have a crocheted garland made (by my sister) from simple red yarn, white twinkle lights and an angel tree topper. All of my ornaments are special to me…there is no real theme…but I do love glass snowflakes and icicles.

  14. I still laugh at the great Christmas tree divide at my future in-laws. His sister wanted a "theme tree" and he and his brother wanted a simpler one with completely random family ornaments, tinsel, multi-colored lights. So, his mother compromised. Each side got half of the tree. And it actually looked pretty great.

    We're not a theme couple. We're a cobbled-together collection of little bits and pieces we each came with, gifts we've received, and hopefully in the future, macaroni art from our future kids. But hey, we like our Christmas patchworked.

  15. My tree has turned into a "my favorite things" tree and I love it. You could do a theme that includes all of the things your family loves? Your barbies would fit in perfectly ; ). Mine looks like this – white sparkling lights with lots of little high-heeled shoes, glass tea pots, little sweets, knitted mittens, Starbucks cups, seashells and antiques from my Grandmother. I know it sounds chaotic, but it really looks bright, fun and personal at the same time. I also try to buy ornaments when I travel…I am so excited to re-discover each one as I unpack the decorations this time of year. Every ornament has a little story…I think trying to keep the tree personal is what will make it meaningful to the beans. Good luck and HAVE FUN!

    PS – the best ornaments I have found locally are at Anthropologie and, surprisingly, Sur La Table.

  16. My tree has turned into a "my favorite things" tree and I love it. You could do a theme that includes all of the things your family loves? Your barbies would fit in perfectly ; ). Mine looks like this – white sparkling lights with lots of little high-heeled shoes, glass tea pots, little sweets, knitted mittens, Starbucks cups, seashells and antiques from my Grandmother. I know it sounds chaotic, but it really looks bright, fun and personal at the same time. I also try to buy ornaments when I travel…I am so excited to re-discover each one as I unpack the decorations this time of year. Every ornament has a little story…I think trying to keep the tree personal is what will make it meaningful to the beans. Good luck and HAVE FUN!

    PS – the best ornaments I have found locally are at Anthropologie and, surprisingly, Sur La Table.

  17. Sending your children to Hebrew school only to come home to a Christmas tree is a waste of time. I don't think your beliefs are hard to understand, I think they are indulgent and ultimately will be confusing for your children.

    FROM STEPHANIE: So, you're saying it's a waste of time to educate my children about their religion, just because there will be a christmas tree in the house once a year? THAT doesn't make much sense to me. None of it was confusing to me as a child. I understood all the religion I learned in Hebrew School, all about Rachel and Sara, and Hester. I knew about Purim and the aficomen, about the four questions and Elijah. I learned what it meant to perform a mitzvah. And I never confused any of it with Santa or a tree. You'd be quite surprised what children are capable of understanding. I don't see what's indulgent about honoring the traditions we grew up with. I also don't think years of tights and Sunday's at synagogue are indulgent.

  18. Everything goes on, or as much as possible, so that every past year is represented. That to me is tradition. Last year I stuck in a bunch of the gold sparkly branches from Pier 1 and it was awesome.

  19. i am all about tradition!! and this year i'm getting to celebrate mine with my new special someone and as everyone else…trying to incorporate some new ones for us!

    i live in FL…so decorating is the only thing that makes it feel like christmas here…

    i have a random tree…the biggest one i've ever had filled with all my ornament and lights of christmases past. i was also lucky enough to be given an ornament almost every year with my name and year on it and i have to agree…i love that tradtion. as a kid i didn't…growing up and getting a new ornament as a kid but now i'm so glad my mom started doing it and i plan to start it with my kids whenever we so choose to have some.

    traditions are what you make of them! and the wonderful thing is that they are yours'. no one else has to like them or approve of them :)

    i find it appalling that some reader doesn't have an open enough mind to see how wonderful and enriched your kids lives are going to be from the exposure of two different sets of religions and types of traditions! i think it is wonderful that you and phil can incorporate both and make it such a rich holiday for them. they are going to be better individuals for it!!! kudos to you stephanie!

  20. Amy – My husband is Jewish and he loves Christmas lights. I came home from work last night & he had them out stringing them around our very large plants. (We don't get a Christmas tree)but we decorate the mantle, dining table etc. It's really OK and not a bit confusing! No need to be so critical.

  21. I do love to hear Jewish people justifying their reasons for assimilation… tradition is a good one. Putting up a Christmas tree is about celebrating the birth of Christ. One of the things I am most proud of the way we are raising our daughter (almost 6) is that she gets it, we are Jewish, and therefore, we do not celebrate Christmas.
    It is certainly anyone's choice to raise their kids more than one religion, but do not fool yourself, putting up a Christmas tree is celebrating a Christian holiday. Your children will surely think they are Jewish and Christian and when they are older, be prepared when they make a choice you may not agree with.

  22. I wanted different Christmas decor this year too. For a couple of years, I had toyed with the idea of putting peacock feathers on a tree. So this year I decided to do that–now my tree is complete with peacock feathers and various sizes of silver, white, blue, teal, and green glass balls. I was so pleased I posted a pic on my blog! Your ornaments are beautiful and your ideas sound wonderful! Good luck!

  23. My stepmother's tree growing up was on a rotating tree stand. When she grew up, she and her 4 sisters each had it for one year before passing it on to the next sister. We finally found one so now every year at their house we have our rotating Christmas tree. The trick is finding a tree that is straight and even on all sides. It spins very slowly but its so beautiful to see all the ornaments go by. My friends think its a little weird though. My favorite ornament from childhood was a little clear snowflake that had a little pom-pom mouse on it with holly tucked behind its ear. Every year my dad sets it aside until I fly home for Christmas so I can put it on the tree myself. Then it truly feels like Christmas.

  24. Ugh, Stephanie, why do you feel the need to even defend yourself from that kind of ignorant myopia above?

    You're giving your children memories, experiences, and lessons around their parents' religions, and they will get that it's about love, ritual, and family. You don't need to justify all the warmth and meaning you are giving them.

    It's about going forward, not backward to a time when there was only one acceptable way to do everything. Just enjoy the holiday, and stop giving the naysayers the time of day!

    If and when the kiddos ever feel negative or confused about their own religious identity, then they'll be old enough to begin exploring it, and something tells me you'll be the type of parents who will honor their questioning and exploration and support them in figuring it out. So it's all good…

  25. On tradition – Stephanie, I think what you are doing is lovely. Now, let's be clear, Amy, I am not jumping to SK's defense. I don't know her well enough to presume that I could defend her choices, nor do I know her well enough to judge them, and I expect you don't either. I think it is quite clear that she intends to raise her children in the Jewish faith with all the traditions and ceremony that it entails. I am also glad to hear that she is keeping the traditions of her family alive and passing that on to her new family.

    On Christmas trees – I couldn't settle with just one. We have grown to a forest of seven. The main living room tree is decorated in all Christopher Radko ornaments and glass garland, thousands of white lights, and gold ribbon. I also put silver and gold ornaments toward the center of the tree for depth and sparkle. In the foyer, there are the smaller trees which are decorated with the school-made ornaments my daughter brings home as well as the ones she has picked out throughout the years. Each and every ornament has a story and it's fun to reflect as we unpack them.

    Good luck finding your theme and happy holidays!

  26. Robyn's comment is so on point. It's your family and you make your traditions; we all reserve that right. It's wonderful for children be exposed to different ideas anyway, allowing them to become open minded adults.

    I'm Catholic but have a Jewish stepmother. I loved how we celebrated both traditions. No, not only because we got extra presents during Hanukkah. Each celebration had rituals that we got to put our family 'spin' on. This meant more time together, bonding and some amazing memories.

    Why not go with the large chipped colored bulbs and tinsel like the Griswold family (the Vacation movies..) Haha.

  27. Growing up each year (or most yrs) our mum had us make baker's dough ornaments where you make the easy dough, use cookie cutters for the shapes you'd like, bake them, cool, then paint. I loved putting them back on the tree each year and remembering that I made them. Sure they look like kid-made ornaments but my mum still has them! I took a few for my own tree and remember how fun it was back then. Reminds me of all kinds of old Christmas memories. Just an idea… The beans could do finger print ornaments? Play paint? After years, you could have a little tree with just their special ornament adorned on it.

  28. hey Sarah..I do the same thing. I buy my daughter an ornament each year so when she leaves the nest one day (boo hoo)she'll have her own little collection. My dad did the same thing for me. It's probably my favorite tradition and it's becoming my daughter's as well.

  29. Actaully, the Christmas tree has nothing to do with the birth of Christ and has to do with pagan rituals originally. How people choose to practice their religion/traditions is certainly not up to me to judge.

    As for my tree, I don't have a theme – it is a mishmash of ornaments from my childhood that my Mom passed on to me, things my daughter has made, and ornaments from my Aunt. She gives an ornament every year to both my daughter and me. It is one of the things I look forward to every year, even if they are kind of cheesey sometimes.

    Cat – when my daughter was doing the speed crawling thing, we tried to put only unbreakable ornaments on the bottom where she could reach so we didn't stress every time she got near the tree.

  30. Haha

    A Christmas tree is the symbol of Christmas (mostly in the western school of thought).

    A Christmas tree is not the symbol of Christ's birth.

    Sorry.

    For some reason I don't think Jesus was born in a manger overshadowed by a Christmas tree.

    So maybe a few of us can get it straight before casting stones?

    Just saying. =)

  31. We have a Christmas tree, all the trimmings and a menorah! How does a tree symbolize christ? It is a secular symbol with it's roots in pagan celebrations. Why do some people feel the need to criticize how others choose to live their lives? Live and let live!

  32. Roots
    In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. II, p. 903)

  33. I LOVE the mixing of religions and traditions. I think it is FANTASTIC!!!!!
    With a world so filled with so much yuckiness, why not take the best and ENJOY!

  34. Just curious as to where your tots are while you decorate? Do they grasp the concept of not touching the tree or yanking the ornaments? I only ask this because I have a very active 9-month old who is learning to SPEED crawl. He is curious about everything, including the Christmas tree. And although I got my tree up, I have yet found time (besides being a Mom, I also work full-time) to decorate the thing!

  35. My mom, for at least the last ten years, has been decorating her tree with white lights and then glass and silver ornaments. It creates the most spectacular tree, like a diamond with a million facets, sparkling and twinkling in the corner of the room.

    It may be more an adult than a child tree, but it is beautiful.

    Another thing she does (still to this day – and my brother and I are 39 and 40 years old) is to buy us a special ornament each year – it was fabulous when grew up and had ornaments to decorate our own trees with – and now they just mix with all the ornaments our families gather as the years go on. My mother's annoying but oh-so-helpful quirk?

    Making sure she puts the date somewhere on the ornament in black magic marker!! :)

  36. Just want to chime in – that most Jews nowadays would be thrilled beyond belief to hear that a product of an interfaith marriage is planning on raising her children Jewish- and would not give two damns about that including a Christmas Tree, decorations and some presents under it once a year. I grew up in an interfaith household, and for a few years we had a Christmas three, then my Mom converted and we still went to Grandmas every year and opened presents with them from under the tree in the Morning- and when Channukah fell on Christmas, we lit the candles too. I was never confused about my religion or what I would want to raise my children as, and I'm proud and my Mom is even more proud that some day I'll have Jewish children that will open presents with Great Aunts and Great Grandparents on Christmas day. The blending of traditions from both faiths is what helps keep families strong.

  37. Since when is a "Christmas" tree (only or primarily) about celebrating the birth of Christ? Its origins are actually traced to pre-Christian Norse Europe. Evergreen trees signify life in the midst of winter and light during a time of darkness — and this significance has similar resonance with respect to the Pagan Solstice, the Christian Christmas *and* the Jewish observation of Hanukkah (not to mention the Hindu celebration of Diwali, and it's probably not too much of a stretch to extend it to the Muslim celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr after Ramadan).

    Christmas trees have their cultural roots in northern Europe, and hence are incidentally associated with Christmas, but they are not themselves religious symbols within the Christian tradition. Authorities in early Christian Europe simply appropriated the 'pagan' tree for their own purposes — in much the same way as many Jews and practitioners of other faiths do so today.

    In an era where intermingled religious backgrounds are increasingly common within families and communities, it seems to me that a decorated evergreen tree can serve as a useful cultural *and* spiritual mediator.

  38. Stephanie, do you realize it's been 3 years for us? This is my 3rd year of reading about your tree of controversy–you debate decor, Jews & others comment "I thought you were Jewish…" Jews attack, other Jews & other others defend; it's my own personal internet tradition. Fa la la la la la la la feh.

    Apropos of Adam Sandler & Chanukah songs, are you familiar with the song "Ochos Kandelikis"? It's "Eight Little Candles" sung on Ladino — the Sephardic Jewish equivalent of Yiddish. Interestingly, Ladino has linguistic links to both Spanish & Greek — which is a nice Jewish-themed connection to your mother's heritage. It's on my Chanukah song CD & I'm sure on many others.

    Tell Phil to be careful w/the axe. I suspect that sort of outdoor stuff wasn't covered at Camp Ima Jukid frum Nas-SaW.

    Happy & Merry.

  39. Just two quick tips, which have little to do with creating a theme for the current year. More about starting traditions.
    When my children were small, I had a co-worker who made ornaments for me, that couldn't be broken if the kids grabbed at them on the tree. One bunch of ornaments, are little santa clauses, out of plastic canvas and yarn. The santa's open and each year "Santa" would hide candies in them. Even when my children got older and the childproof ornaments went away, the Santa's stayed, and every christmas morning they would run to the tree to see what kind of candies Santa had left for them. The next tradition we set, was to add an ornament to the tree for each of the kids…something that represents them at the time. Now, my oldest is 18, and we have an entire tree full of mish-mosh but meaningful ornaments. I hope we can carry on and add to it as we add spouses and grandchildren :)

  40. ABC Home & Carpet, here in NYC has such a gorgeous selection of ornaments every year. Bet you miss the city sometimes, huh?

    Swarvoski does a new tree ornament each year — so does Barbie.

    I love decorating trees!! Have fun! I remember one year when my little girl and I simply cut out designs out of cardboard, punched holes in them and attached a ribbon and then coated them with glitter — then sent them to loved ones. She was really into Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz that year, so we made Red Ruby slippers. And black riding boots as she'd just begun riding lessons. That's the beauty of having your own family, adopting tradtions you've grown up with, and developing your own along the way.

    Your children are sure to look back fondly at their childhood memories. Savor this time with them as it really does FLY by…

    Peace to all,
    S.

  41. I think that a mix of the ornaments above will make a lovely tree.
    I have to make a remark on the religion stuff discussed in the comments:
    The Christmas tree is not about celebrating the birth of Christ, it comes from an old heathen holiday celebrating the midwinter, the feast of light, when days are getting longer again. The Catholic church picked this feast to celebrate Christ as it was easier to get the heathens along. They've thought me this in Catholic school btw (and I double-checked and wikipedia confirms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree#Roots). So it's in fact the Christians who've adopted another tradition, so why can't anyone else do this? I'm, by lack of a better word, an atheïst, but put up a tree as well to celebrate the tradition, and in remembrance of my grandmother. I don't add the (religious) nativity scene. It's not about what other people think a symbol means, the only thing that matters is what it means to you.

    Having your children learn about other religions does not mean that you encourage/push them to pick another religion. (But in the end, can't you trust them to decide for themselves?) And it will avoid incorrect notions and perceptions as the one about the tree… And dare I say it, this can be applied to the Koran too.

  42. I'm still trying to understand your desire to have a Christian ritual object in a Jewish home. Is it because the tree is so much fun to decorate? Do you attend Church as well or do you just do the fun stuff?

    FROM STEPHANIE: No we do not attend church. We like the smell of pine, the tradition of decorating a tree, of santa and gifts and cookies, just as I grew up with. I never went to church as a child because I was raised Jewish. I went to synagogue.

  43. Well said Robyn! Stephanie – I understand exactly where you are coming from with regards to tradition.
    I see my Judaism as a cultural heritage to pass on to my children as opposed to a strict religious code, so it makes perfect sense to me what you are saying. Why not pass both Christmas and Jewish traditions on to your babes? They are BOTH part of their cultural heritage.

  44. There is this stuff called "ting ting" you can buy at floral supply stores – GORGEOUS on a tree. Comes in gold, silver, red, all colors. It's very pretty stuck all through a tree or just bunched at the very top, like a fountain or sparkler coming out the top. Really lights up a tree and makes it sparkle. I bet you'd love it. Very reasonably priced and one bunch would do. It looks pretty worked into mantle arrangements too.

    http://www.weddingflowersandmore.com/ting.html

  45. Stephanie, no matter what you do, your children will definitely grow up and find themselves confused, resentful, and embarrassed by you, their well-intentioned parents. How do I know this? Because, well, they will one day morph into those alien creatures we all know as adolescents. Religion has nothing to do with it!

    When you all make it through this stage alive, they will appreciate that they have spirited parents who raised them to believe in self-expression, and who taught them that the most meaningful tradtions aren't just blindly followed, but created to fit the family.

  46. Christmas trees have nothing to do with celebrating Christ's birth. How many people are strictly "Happy Holidays" celebrators but are devoted to having a tree every year? Christmas trees are central to mainstream American holiday culture and have nothing to do with Christianity. Nativity scenes, angels, wisemen etc do.

  47. Putting up a Christmas tree is not about celebrating the birth of Christ. People have only been bringing trees into their homes for the last 150 years, but the Pagan belief in the power of the Evergreen during their winter solstice festival predates that by centuries.

    Later, when the Christian Church wanted to convert all the Pagan Romans, it did so by taking over the dates and some of the details of Pagan holidays, and deemed an important Pagan date, December 25th, to be the date on which they would celebrate the birth of Christ, who was probably born in the spring.

    It's just a tree, just a tradition, and not really a Christian one anyway.

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