My family is Jewish -- for most of my childhood, our Christmas tree was a houseplant decorated with tinsel and whatever Christmas ornaments we'd made in school (public school, only Jewish family in town, parents didn't want us to feel left out, yadda yadda yadda).
For the last 17 years of our relationship, neither DP nor I cared about having a Christmas tree, so we didn't. (He grew up Unitarian Universalist, but neither of us is religious.)
Now that DD is 3 and happens to attend a Catholic preschool, she's VERY interested in Christmas. So we celebrated Chanukah with a menorah etc, and are figuring we'll have a mellow Christmas celebration, too.
The problem is that left to his own devices, I don't think DP will take any action on a tree. So that leaves me, the partner who is even less invested in Christmas, to decorate a Christmas tree. We're thinking that we'll decorate a large houseplant for this year at least, as I did as a kid. We own no Christmas ornaments and neither of us is inclined to spend a lot of time or money on this project. This is basically about providing our 3-year-old with the experience of having a tree to find some presents under.
I'm not excited about tinsel because we have cats, and I can remember my childhood cats eating the tinsel off our tree. That seems like a bad plan.
We can make paper chains out of construction paper, I suppose.
I remember one year we tried stringing popcorn and cranberries when I was a kid and discovering that it took REALLY long to get a long string of them, and wasn't that easy to do.
We could make play-doh-type ornaments and hang them with ribbons, but they might be a bit heavy for a plant.
What would you do as simple, not-time-consuming, Christmas houseplant decorations?
Slices of citrus fruits, slightly dried in a 200 degree oven on a rack over a drip pan, then hung with hooks, or unbent paperclips. Or several cranberries/popcorn strung together and hung - just as festive as the long strings, but far less time consuming. Think "earrings" instead of "necklace".
Last year when my son was 3 we made a paper chain. Get some glue sticks and go for it! It was a fun project. And, you can save it. We put it up again this year.
You can buy a roll of ribbon and tie bows on the branches. Also, hang candy canes. I did that one year and it was very cute and festive.
You can make cookies - the kind you roll out and cut. I believe Martha Stewart has a recipe on her site for a dough that stands up to being used for ornaments. That's something I've been wanting to do but haven't gotten around to it. If you bake you probably have all the ingredients on hand.
Cut out paper snowflakes and use those.
Use small toys tied on with ribbon. How cute would that be? With a paper chain? Adorable! Oh my gosh, now I want to do a toy tree. LOL.
When I used to work I had one of those small trees (I think it was a cook pine) in my office. Like this:
Easy to care for, cheap and will last for years with minimal attention. The branches are perfect for small ornaments.
You can also do a rosemary tree - those are everywhere right now and you can use it after the holiday.
You can do a (dead) tree branch in a nice pot. It can actually look quite nice though it does go against the whole symbolism of the evergreen tree, I suppose.
We are athiests, but do celebrate Christmas secularly. We have a real tree this year.
Would your DD be disappointed if the "tree" didn't have the right shape?
Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)
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Thanks for all the great ideas! We had a grand time painting card stock yesterday (just filling whole sheets with swirls of color), then cutting it out into shapes and decorating with glitter pens. Today we'll punch holes and add ribbons for hanging.
I'm going to add some of these other ideas, too!