Design & Décor, Holiday


O Christmas Tree: Dressed for the Occasion

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Christmas Tree: Dressed for the Occasion

One of our favorite traditions at Christmas, and I’m betting yours too, is picking out our Christmas tree. Heading “up island” on the Friday after Thanksgiving to one of the tree farms with their dramatic views across fields to Narragansett Bay, seems right out of the movies. Tagged, location recorded and money paid, the tree will actually be cut down the morning that decorating begins, which is a fluctuating date given parties and travel plans.

Bettie Pardee Christmas 2015-2

With an attic chock-a-block full of holiday decorations gathered over the years, the biggest decision is what “theme” suits this year’s interests (i.e. have I dried some flowers or discovered branches covered in lichen or fungi). Being a gardener at heart, the natural world always plays a part in my Christmas tree and home decorations.

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Here’s what I’ve put together for this year to create my “Snowy Woodland with a touch of Gold” tree:

Woodland: various versions of acorns pair with feather pavéd balls to carry out this years theme.

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Pine Cones: When painted, they look like their expensive mercury counterparts. Drill a small hole in the top, fill with a bit of glue and insert a hook. Gold, silver, copper (or colors, if you’re in a mid-century modern mood) are favorite choices for our woodland tree.

Candles: Awhile back I discovered these small clip-ons, but had to make my own candles to fit; I unrolled a beeswax taper candle, cut the sheet into the right length and re-rolled the beeswax to fit the holder (note: as a safety precaution, these should only be for show, not lighted).

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Large Gold Balls: These come in handy to fill any holes among the branches as well as add depth to the tree by drawing your view deep within.

Christmas Tree: Dressed for the Occasion

Icicles: It was such fun collecting these glass beauties, in different lengths; they’re the last decoration I hang on the tree (if you’re having a tree-trimming party, this is an easy job for guests).

Christmas Tree: Dressed for the Occasion

Garlands: Mixing and matching the different shapes and materials (crystal, gold, glittery, sparkly) gives the tree a bit more of an informal look.

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Branches: sprayed with white “snow,” they add a wintery  touch without having to flock the entire tree. And the woodland additions are just right for this year.

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Favorite Ornaments: It wouldn’t be “your” tree without them. From the glass angels to the diaphanous snowflake to the dramatic gold finial, with each comes a story.

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Lastly, “Snow”: Polyester fill looks remarkably like snow that has settled on the branches. A great trompe l’oeil effect!

O Christmas Tree: Dressed for the Occasion

And vignettes from the finished tree, which recall that wonderful Christmas carol…”O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, Such pleasure do you bring me! For every year this Christmas tree, Brings to us such joy and glee.”

And under your tree…

Bettie Pardee Christmas 2015-19

Merry, merry to you and yours.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

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