Redefining Home, Redefining Christmas Trees

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of Christmas Tree details on "Redefining Home, Redefining Christmas Trees" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog
WOBBLE WARNING:  As the title suggests, we are talking about Christmas trees.  I vividly describe how I decorate the trees in our home.  And I do mention my Nana, as well as my husband, our exchange daughter (Bruna), and our fur baby (Maddie).  My goal is to give you ideas about how to redefine Christmas trees, making this tradition your own.  There are possible triggers in this post, however.  Please, only read if you are feeling strong enough.  Hugs, fabulous one.  So many hugs…

Recently, I asked a group of childless women when they put up their Christmas tree.  Or if they put up a tree.  Some were like me, decorating multiple Christmas trees.  (And putting them up before Thanksgiving.  Oh, the horror!  LOL)  Others didn’t see the point in putting up a tree, as it is yet another reminder of the littles with whom they do not get to share traditions.  This got me to thinking…

How can we redefine Christmas trees to make them fit our what is…?  I mean, last week, we talked about Christmas lies.  I believe another lie is that Christmas Trees have to be decorated in traditional colors with twinkling lights and tons of presents wrapped underneath.  Presents for kids…

But this is NOT true!  As we said last week, Christmas is for everyone!  So, that means, Christmas trees are for everyone, too!  Because I adore Christmas trees…  (I put up at least four every year!)  I thought I’d share how I’ve made Christmas trees fit my what is…  Perhaps this will offer some inspiration so that you, fabulous one, can redefine Christmas trees, too…

Redefining Christmas Trees . . .

The BIG Christmas Tree

Since completing our remodel, I have put up a BIG Christmas Tree in our great room.  It is decorated with TONS of white twinkle lights and TONS of beautiful ornaments that we’ve collected throughout the years.  Now, you might think this sounds quite traditional.  Yes, it is true that there are definitely traditional aspects to our big Christmas tree.  What’s not traditional?  Well…

I decorate our big tree in Fall colors because Fall is my favorite time of year.  And because our home looks phenomenal inPhoto of a pumpkin ornament on "Redefining Home, Redefining Christmas Trees" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog Fall colors!  So, our tree is decked out in burnt orange, chocolate brown, and chartreuse green.  I even have pumpkin ornaments that I put on our big tree.  Because pumpkins are one of my favorite things!  I also have acorn ornaments.  And I use a beautiful ribbon as garland.  The tree topper is an assortment of sparkles and pinecones and greenery I got from the floral department.  And I add extra pinecones in honor of Maddie because she collected pinecones when she was a puppy.  (Oh, how this memory makes me smile!)

Our big tree, which I lovingly call “Fall for Christmas,” is perfect.  There is absolutely nothing that even remotely suggests this tree is for children.  Because it absolutely is not.  It is a gorgeous, could-be-in-a-magazine-if-I-do-say-so-myself tree.  It is a Monica tree, for you Friends fans!

A chocolate brown tree skirt is placed underneath.  And there are no presents.  Because Maddie thinks presents should be opened immediately!

“A New Bird” TreePhoto of feather ornament on "Redefining Home, Redefining Christmas Trees," on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

In our snug, I put up a skinny tree.  Like our big tree, this tree is decorated in Fall tones, with feather ornaments and decorations with wildlife–like deer and birds and horses.  (Because we have deer and birds on our land.  And because my hubby loves horses.)  More white twinkle lights, another tree topper created by me, and a fur tree skirt, this is another not-for-a-two-legged-kid tree.  My second could-be-in-a-magazine, Monica tree.  😊

Our TreePhoto of a small decorated Christmas tree on Redefining Christmas Trees on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

In our Master bedroom, I put up a small tree.  This tree is decorated with ornaments that we have collected on our travels, as well as the gold bulbs that decorated the centerpieces at our 10-year anniversary celebration.  I adore putting up our tree, as the ornaments remind me of special times that Dane and I have spent together.  A trip to New Orleans at Halloween, spending Thanksgiving in NYC, Disney World with Bruna…  This tree also holds photos of Valentine and Prancer, our first fur babies who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  My mom gave us a special ornament for our 20th anniversary last year, and I place it near the top.  It is a tree of memories…  Of our memories.

My Nana TreePhoto of a small tree decorated with pink ornaments on "Redefining Christmas Trees" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

Upstairs—where I work, in what we call “Bruna’s Room”—I decorate my Nana tree.  When I was young…  Well, actually until I was in my mid-twenties…  My Nana gave me a special ornament every year.  I now use those ornaments, along with new furry pink ones, to decorate a small tree that I place on an accent table in front of the upstairs window.  As I work, I get to look at this little tree, sparkling and pink and holding lovely memories…  It causes twinges of pain.  Especially this year, as my Nana passed away on 1st June.  But mostly, it makes me smile.

You know, I decided that these ornaments should not be stored away.  Despite the fact that we don’t have a two-legged little at home, these memories need to be shared.  And so, I share them in a space I use often.  My Nana Tree…  Well, it is a tree for me.  And I adore this memory-filled, love-filled, little pink tree.

A Live Tree OutsidePhoto of live outside tree on "Redefining Home, Redefining Christmas Trees" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

All the trees I put up inside are artificial.  So, one year, we decided to buy a real Christmas tree and put it on our front porch.  We decorated it with big twinkle lights and inexpensive plastic bulbs.  I loved pulling up our driveway and seeing it shining next to our front door…

A Christmas Tree for the Wildlife

Another year, we decorated an evergreen tree in our yard with edible ornaments for the wildlife.  We strung popcorn and Photo of edible ornaments for the wildlife on "Redefining Home, Redefining Christmas Trees" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blogcranberry garland.  We rolled pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed.  And we sliced apples and cut a whole in the center so that we could slide them over the branches.  I could see the decorated evergreen from our bedroom window.  It was lovely to watch the squirrels and birds eat their holiday treats.  We never saw our deer, but I’ll bet they munched on the goodies at night!

A Dark Christmas TreePhoto of Our 2018 Christmas Tree on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog

One year, I had just finished decorating our big tree.  It was absolutely perfect.  I stepped back to enjoy the beauty and the lights went out.  Despite my husband’s best efforts, we could not figure out how to get the twinkle lights back on!  So, we had a dark tree that Christmas.

I decided to view it symbolically.  I wrote…

“Often when we realize our life will be childless, we feel like the lights have gone out.  In this darkness, things can seem quite bleak.  It is harder to see the beautiful because details don’t sparkle and shine without the lights.

But the beautiful moments are still there.  We just have to look a little harder to find them.”

*Read the full post here…

How can we redefine?

So, how can we redefine Christmas trees, fabulous one?  Well, here are some of my ideas…

  • Decorate with non-traditional colors and/or ornaments
  • Add details specific to your non-traditional family
  • Create a could-be-in-a-magazine tree
  • Avoid anything and everything kid-friendly; Decorate an adult-friendly tree!
  • Decorate a tree with special ornaments that showcase your memories, your life…
  • Combine new ornaments with nostalgic ones to create a tree that honors your own childhood
  • Put up a tree outside, decorating with inexpensive ornaments
  • Decorate an evergreen with edible ornaments for the wildlife
  • Leave the lights off as a symbol that the darkness can live alongside the beauty…

Why go to the trouble?

And if you are wondering why you would go to all this trouble…

Because you are worth it, fabulous one.  You deserve to have a lovely Christmas with a lovely Christmas tree.  Remember…  Christmas is for everyone.  And that means, Christmas is for you.

Hugs, fabulous one.  So many Christmas hugs…

If anything I wrote resonates, fabulous one, tell us about it in the comments.
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Mali December 6, 2021 - 11:54 pm

I love all your Christmas trees! I’m about to go put mine up now – I don’t usually do it quite so early, but I have visitors coming on Thursday, and last year I bemoaned the fact that I only had it up for a few short weeks. I love my tree and my decorations/ornaments for it. Some of them have meaning (two bought for the two babies I lost at/around Christmas), some I just love, some I bought overseas, or were gifts. They’re important to me, and I take unashamed joy in them. I’m glad you take joy in yours too.

Brandi Lytle December 7, 2021 - 10:02 am

Oh, Mali! This made me smile! I think it’s lovely that you give honor to the littles you lost… I am so sorry for your losses. I am so grateful that you have found joy despite… Merry Christmas, fellow warrior!

Jenna Davies December 6, 2021 - 4:47 pm

We buy a decoration on every trip/holiday we go on. – some are proper decorations, some are keyrings or magnets I’ve tied with ribbon.
So putting up our tree reminds us of holidays all around the world (that we probably wouldn’t have taken if we had little ones). I find lots of Christmas things hard, but putting up the tree isn’t one of them.
Thank you for opening your heart and helping so many others x

Brandi Lytle December 7, 2021 - 10:04 am

Jenna, thank you for sharing a bit about your Christmas tree! I’m so glad that it isn’t one of the things you find “hard.” And I love that you have redefined keyrings and magnets into ornaments for your tree! What a wonderful idea! Merry Christmas, fellow warrior!


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