Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings to you and yours!  

Does your family use a Christmas tree as part of your holiday decor? Do you use an artificial tree or do you like to pick out a cut tree, or go all out and cut down a live tree?

Here’s a fun tradition that my family and I started when we moved into our forever home out in the country where family-owned Christmas tree farms are in abundance!

Christmas tree lit up with white twinkle lights.

When we purchased and moved into our very first house in September of 2019, we were so excited to get settled and start planning for the upcoming holidays.  The first Christmas in our new house was a moment we had been looking forward to for a very long time and our kids were eager to talk about getting a “fresh cut tree” for the very first time.  

Artificial Christmas tree decorated by two young boys.

Years of apartment dwelling and multiple moves left us choosing to use an artificial tree.  It was always easier to use a fake tree.  Once all of the materials for Thanksgiving were packed away, we would seamlessly move to the next holiday without having to leave the house! 

The ease and convenience continued as we started a family and needed to baby proof and make our decor kid-friendly.  Baby coral fences and jingle ball decorations are a great investment to protect your baubles from being destroyed by babies or cats!

Three children and their dad cutting down their first live Christmas tree.

In December of 2019, we went to our local tree farm and sought out our first real family Christmas tree. The adventure since became an annual tradition at Wetteman’s Farm.

Climbing up and down the hills of pine tree terrain, filling our lungs with crisp winter air, and sharing tidings of holiday cheer with the Wetteman family as they baled and loaded up our fresh cut tree onto the roof of our car. The funny thing about trees is they always look smaller out in the field amongst their neighboring trees.

Just like Mr. Willowby’s tree, our first tree was a big too oversized for our living room.

Father and daughter admire the beauty of their first real Christmas tree decorated and lit up with white lights.

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is a holiday book that is a favorite in our family. This book was gifted to our children when they were toddlers and we have been reading it every Christmas season.

The story takes place in a huge mansion owned by a wealthy man named, Mr. Willowby. He has a Christmas tree delivered for he and his staff to decorate but when it’s put into its place, it’s too tall!

So his butler chops off the top and gives the tree top to the upstairs maid. She trims and dresses it in her parlor and has the same problem that Mr. Willowby encountered. The tree is too tall for her space and she chops off the top and discards it.

An excerpt from the book, Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree, showing Baxter the Butler chopping off the top.

The story continues with the tree top being chopped and reused by the gardener, a bear family, a fox family, a rabbit family, and finally a family of mice. It’s the sweetest story!

An excerpt from the book, Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree, showing the Fox family chopping off the top of their tree.

So after celebrating our first Christmas in our house, we started a tradition with our tree that pays homage to our favorite book. Before discarding our beloved holiday tree into the woods after the New Year, we chopped off the top and saved it! We use the top as decoration outside for the remainder of winter as part of our winter decor.

Outdoor vignette for winter including a mini tree, lanterns, sled, and wreath.

Year after year we have saved our tree tops and given them a little more time to “shine”.

Winter vignette showing a small holiday tree, lanterns, sleigh, and holiday lights.

It’s wonderful to start a new tradition with our family in our forever home. To be able to look back on our photographs of the trips we’ve taken to the farm is heartwarming and makes me grateful that we tried something new by getting a live tree.

A little red headed girl looking out the winter at the winter scene of snow covered trees beside her lit up Christmas tree.

And we did find a use for our old artificial tree! It became the kids tree and is adorned with their decorations and ornaments. They have free rein of the decoration placement and enjoy making it their own.

Gifts that they wrap for their teachers and friends are left under this tree and it makes it so much easier to keep track of the outgoing gifts! It’s also pretty amazing to watch them work together on something and makes this mama’s heart very happy.

A brother and his younger sister decorate an artificial Christmas tree together.

Robin Dini (@withincreative)

Smells Like Home Gardening Collaborator

Robin Dini is a Connecticut native and resides in a quintessential New England town on the shoreline. Her love for gardening and all things plants and flowers is rooted in her deep connection to nature and her childhood spending countless hours outdoors. Robin’s gardening philosophy is to grow what you like, experiment with new things, and do your research.

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