Thursday, July 22, 2010

Christmas in July: Day Four

Today we're going to talk about the well-loved and beautiful tradition of . . . the Christmas tree! From setting up the tree, to decorating it, to simply admiring it, the Christmas tree is a gorgeous symbol of cheer, growth, family, and celebration.

Our family actually has an artificial tree. (The tree pictured at left is my grandparents' tree, and that's my beautiful mother standing next to it!) There are some really great points to having an artificial tree, including the fact that it's far less of a mess! It lasts much longer, and there's not much of a chance of it housing a squirrel (for those of you who have seen Christmas Vacation!).

But I can definitely see the good points to having a real tree. For example, it seems that there's a whole grand experience involved in picking out a tree that is lost when one has an artificial tree. And then I'm sure there's an earthy, fresh fragrance that comes with having a real tree, as well.

So, does your family have an artificial tree or a real tree for a Christmas tree? And what do you like about whichever one you have?

Now, we also must discuss another big part of having a Christmas tree--ornaments! There are so many different kinds of ornaments. Our family is a big fan of Hallmark ornaments, and we have LOTS of them! From Mickey as Steamboat Willie to the Wizard of Oz, our tree is fascinating to look at, in my opinion. And Hallmark allows for not only a pleasant visual experience, but also a fun listening experience! Whenever we turn our tree on, a lot of the ornaments all chime in at once. The Wizard of Oz ornament is usually the last one to go off, leaving us with the echoing statement, "The great Oz has spoken." =)

What kind of ornaments do you have on your Christmas tree? And do you collect Hallmark ornaments?

Christmas trees are wonderful for bringing family and friends together, even serving as a lovely background for pictures! The picture at right is one taken this last Christmas break, when some of my friends and I got together at my house for a Murder Mystery Party. That's our Christmas tree in the background. As far as Murder Mystery Parties go, I've hosted two of them and they are soooo much fun!!! Of course, it takes a good sense of humor and people who are willing to stay in character, but my friends always make it a memorable experience! (And yes, I know that I was supposed to get copies of these pictures to my friends that were there . . . which I haven't done yet. Sorry, guys! Maybe I can get this done before next Christmas break!) ;)

OK, since I've already gone off on one tangent, I have a couple more (but please stick with me!). These next couple of pictures are in honor of Ashley (see her comment from the first day of "Christmas in July" if you're confused!):



That's my grandpa! ;) This is only really funny if you've seen A Christmas Story, so I hope these pictures elicit a smile and/or laugh for those of you who have!

And one more thing. Yes, I have a different blog background again! I'm just wondering if it's too dark for "Summer," or too blue. What do you think?

Thanks for putting up with my randomness today, and I'm curious to hear about your Christmas tree memories!

17 comments:

Julia M. Reffner said...

Amber,

About the patterns. Just letting you know in case you didn't (you probably did). If I go to the last post, your background is blue, but white on this one. You're probably still deciding I'm guessing. I liked the blue, makes me think of summer sky and swimming and boating. But I'm sure I'll like whatever you pick :).

I grew up with an artificial tree, but since being married we do a real tree every year. We go to a local place where wwhere we ride the wagons out, then cut our tree. And we always come home to hot cocoa. We let the kids put all the ornaments on and I think some people are really tempted to "fix" them when they come over. (They're ALL at the bottom). We only put up the unbreakables now :)

You always have the greatest ideas for series, Amber :).

KC Frantzen said...

Hey Amber!
Christmas in July, eh?! Fun fun fun.
We also enjoy the season (Christmas that is) - family and friends, COOLER weather, and celebrating the reason for the season, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! :)
Thanks for being who you are. All the best in school this year too. Congratulations! So nice to have met you on Seekerville too!!!

OH - and love your explanation of the title of the blog, and your poem. Good on ya!

Mary Connealy said...

Christmas trees? Really? Today?
Maybe if I go set the thermostat on 50 I can get into it.

Love the pictures. :D

bluerose_shelnut said...

My family has always had an artificial tree. I just couldn't bear to cut a tree down for a month. I feel like they're the turkey of Christmas, scared for their lives. :) I know, I'm weird like that. And they're sooo messy! I can understand the "magicalness" of them, though. I've been to someone else's house for Christmas a couple of times that uses a real tree in their "homemade room". They decorate it with their child's handmade ornaments through the years(she's grown now), and have those huge lightbulb stands. At the base, they have a train and "old timey" storybooks. The whole room just really puts you in the Christmas spirit and seems magical. I love it!! That being said, I still have to stick with my fake one! :)

Kav said...

I'm currently in limbo about the the whole real/vs artificial tree issue. I've done both -- grew up with real trees and love the smell but they got so expensive and then someone gave me this great artifical tree that looks real and since real trees are expensive I used it for a while. Last year...gasp...I didn't put up either. I made my own funky tree out of shutters. I found them at a garage sale -- chipped green paint with fir tree cutouts. Anyway, I balanced them together in one corner of the room and hung my ornaments on them and strung white mini lights accross the top and sides and piled more behind. The light shone through the shutters and it was kind of cool. I felt very 'mother earthish' since I was saving a tree and I wasn't using a toxic artificial one (I gave that one away to a friend). Anyway that was my upcycled Christmas tree and I just might do it again this year. Oh -- and all my ornaments are homemade or bought at craft sales. And I use woodene beads instead of tinsel garland. for homespun countryish.

Project Journal said...

Well, considering we sell Xmas trees for the month of December at my grandparents house, we have a real tree! It is fabulous! I hate the idea of just having a fake tree (no offense!). However, about 2 years ago my sister and I broke down and bouht fake trees for our bedrooms! We LOVE Xmas at our house, if you can't tell! Lol....

Since we travel so much, my mom started the tradition of buying a Xmas ornament every place we visit. So, a lot of our ornaments are from that. My sister and I each have our own box, divided so ornaments from each year have their own spot. My mom wanted us to make sure and have ornaments to take with us when we start a family of our own. Then, she said gradually there will be fewer and fewer of our ornaments and more of our family and children's ones on the tree. I don't know...it's tradition!

About the background, mine is white on this one too. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it looks like it might be a Blogger glitch (wouldn't surprise me! lol...).

Have a 'cool' day!!
Hannah

Michelle said...

Let's see I talked about my Christmas tree, and my mom's the other day.

When I was a little girl, my grandparents bought the Hallmark granddaughter ornaments each year. I had no idea about them, until they gave the entire collection to me when I was a teenager. Needless to say, those are very special to me.

My biggest Christmas tree memory is from my very first Christmas. I was only 7 months old, so needless to say, I don't actually remember it myself. Anyway, my mom and grandparents had left me in the living room with the Christmas tree, and I was hitting my foot against one of the packages. Everything grew quiet, and they all rushed in to see if I was okay. Everything was just fine, I'd fallen asleep underneath the tree. ;)

Ariel said...

When my parents were married, we had an artificial tree because my dad hates real ones. This year, my mom got a real one! It was quite different, because even my grandparents have all artificial ones. (And they have a total of 9! :P) The only thing I didn't like about it was the constant vacuuming, and the fact that it clogged our vacuum. Other than that it was nice :) For ornaments we have all Disney ones, with a few Coke ones for my mom. My brother and I each have Baby Christmas's from ages 1-5 as well. One thing that always happens to our tree is our cat Simon sleeps underneath it :P He loves the tree! Luckily he never climbs it ;)

Oh the leg lamp!!!! That movie is hilarious :P

I like the layout :)

Amber S. said...

Hello everyone! How fun to see old and new friends here today! :D

Oh, and about the background--mine was showing up white this morning, but now it's back to the new one I chose. Let me know if it's still white for ya'll! Silly Blogger! :(

JULIA: How fun! I love the idea of going out, loading into a wagon, and cutting down your own tree! And then hot chocolate is always a plus. :) And that's sweet that you let your children put up the ornaments, and then you leave them however they are. I confess I might have a hard time not rearranging them! ;)

Anyway, I hope the blue background works, and thank you for sharing your thoughts! :) And I'm so glad you like the various series on this blog!

KC: It's great to see you here!!! There's much to love about Christmas, so it's fun to look forward to it while we're still in the warmer months. ;)

Thank you for the kind words--I'm so glad to have met you to! :D Thanks so much for visiting!

MARY: Yes, I know. But you can at least imagine it's cooler now, right? ;) Thanks so much for stopping by and becoming a follower!!! And I'm glad you like the pictures! :)

BLUEROSE: That's a cute way to put it: "the turkey of Christmas." ;) As far back as I can remember, our family has always had an artificial tree, too. I think I like having a beautiful tree without the mess! But your friend's home sounds lovely--what a neat idea to have an old-fashioned Christmas room around the holidays! :) Thanks for sharing!

KAV: You're so creative! I confess, the "shutter tree" has me intrigued. Do you have pictures? And I like the idea of using wooden beads to add some country flavor. :) Sounds neat!

HANNAH: That's great! That must be so much fun to sell Christmas trees--you must really get in the Christmas spirit that way! :)

And what a great idea to get ornaments from the places you travel! :D My sister and I have our names on the boxes for a lot of our ornaments, so I think my mom is going to do something similar--giving us ornaments to start out with when we move out. :) We have SO many, it's crazy!

Hope the background shows up for you soon! ;)

MICHELLE: I recall your previous comment; your tree sounded so beautiful! What a sweet story about your grandparents! Those Hallmark ornaments can be very special and sentimental. :)

And how cute about you falling asleep under the tree! Thanks for sharing your stories!

ARIEL: Yes, I can see how real trees would be a bit of a "pain" in some cases, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! :) And your grandparents have NINE trees? That might even beat out MY grandparents' total--but I'm not sure... ;)

Gotta love those Disney ornaments, and my sister and I both have the Baby Christmas ornaments from ages 1 to 5, as well! :D

Aren't cats so funny, though, too? I think our cat likes playing with the ornaments more than sleeping under the tree. ;)

I'm glad you thought the leg lamp pictures were funny, and glad you like the new background! :D

EVERYONE: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and making our Christmas in July discussions so much fun!

~Amber

Project Journal said...

Ummmmm...we have SOOOO many ornaments too, girl! Seriously, it's crazy!

Okay I forgot I was going to tell you about my....drumroll please *drumroll* new car!!!!

It's a maroon 2003 Chevy Malibu. Power windows (YAY!), sunroof (WOOT!), and a CD and tape player (that work!!). It only has about 50,000 miles on it. We talked to the past owner, so we got the history on why she traded it (she inherited a....2004/2005 Chevy Malibu! Lol! Otherwise she would've kept it), so there's no problems. Got it looked at by a couple mechanics and they say it all checks out. My biggest problem...I need to replace the shocks and get winter tires! YAY!!!! So it's my new baby *grin*

Talk to you soon,
Hannah

P.S. It's still white, girl!

Amber S. said...

Hannah,

I don't know if it's possible to have more ornaments than our family, but I'm sure you have a lot, too! ;)

And your new car sounds GREAT! Congrats on your new "baby!" ;)

As far as the background goes, I don't know what to tell you. :( Mine's white right now, too, but I HAVE seen the blue background. So maybe after all this craziness with "The Cutest Blog on the Block" dies down, it will work better. I don't know, but I'll give it a little longer before I give up!

~Amber

Project Journal said...

Lol okay, I was just trying to help. So you knew that people were having problems with it!

Heehee....thanks! It IS great!

Oh someday we'll compare *wink*
Hannah

Amber S. said...

Hannah,

It's good to know what you guys are seeing--don't get me wrong! ;) I'm hoping the background will show up for you soon, because I can see it on my computer!

And yes, someday we'll have to compare... ;)

~Amber

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Hahaha you already know about my stuffed fruit! But other than that we have the homemade ornaments that my brothers and I had made in elementary school and the glass bulbs that I think everyone has on their trees! :-P

I totally understand your background woes! I loved my old background cause it matched my header!!!! I followed their instructions but my background turned white so I went to another site and the background does not match my cute header :-( I hope I can go back and get my old background back once they work everything out!

XOXO~ Renee

Amber S. said...

Renee,

Oh, yes...the stuffed fruit. ;) Homemade ornaments are always fun, too!

And thank you for your sympathy. I'm sorry you lost your beautiful background, and I hope you can get it back! I like this one OK, but I'm sad that not everyone is seeing it right now. Hopefully everything will settle down soon! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber

Amanda said...

Oh Amber, your new background is BEAUTIFUL!!! Goodness, what a girl can miss in just a few days away ;)

Great post and great pics, too! When my brother and I were younger we had a green tree (artificial of course) with different color lights and a bunch of decorations. I remember laying on the couch a kid and staring at the tree, just getting lost in the sparkle of the lights and diverse ornaments. I loved laying underneath it and reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and sitting around it with my cousins and signing Christmas carols :) Lets just say, as a kid at Christmas time, I never left the living room, LOL!

But one day my mom saw a white tree and never was the green and multicolored lights of Christmas to be seen again, as least not at my house. Now my mom decorates our "white" tree all up fancy, with strictly silver/white ornaments and ribbon. Even the wrapping paper and bows have to match, which I can't blame her for because I'm OCD, too ;) Don't get me wrong, its GORGEOUS and looks like something out of a magazine, but I guess there will always be that kid in me that wants a tree, a living room, that looks like the one in your pic above- I even want the train! :D

Thanks for sharing your traditions with us (and letting me live through your pics)! And cool idea with the "murder mystery" parties! You have some great friends :)

Well, off to go catch up on your other posts...

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Thank you! I love the color, and I'm so glad you like it, too! :D

It sounds like you have some wonderful childhood memories! I love the beautiful lights and ornaments on the Christmas tree, as well. A Christmas tree just has a special aura about it. ;) And "Twas the Night Before Christmas" is a great classic! I love it!

Your mom's white tree sounds beautiful, but I'm sorry you don't get to enjoy some of the traditional aspects of a Christmas tree. I hope you get to experience parts of a traditional Christmas and the the loveliness of a "white Christmas" in the future! ;)

Thank YOU for stopping by, and yes, I have some wonderful friends (including my blogging buddies!)! As for Murder Mystery Parties, we buy the kits and do what they tell us to do. ;) Lots of fun! (Plus, my dad has a dummy that he has used out at the Police Academy when he teaches, so we always have a "dead body" to use for setting the scene!) ;)

~Amber