As the Christmas season approached, I had resigned myself to the fact that our Christmas decorations are buried deep in storage. I had decided that we just wouldn’t have a large Christmas tree this holiday season. It would be fine, this is our first Christmas as empty-nesters, no big deal. However, Philip shared that he was struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, and I asked if it was because we aren’t decorating? He kind of shrugged and we moved on. However, at that moment I decided that we would have an Old-Fashioned Christmas tree. I didn’t want to buy anything, we already have two storage units, the last thing I need is more stuff. I’d have to use a little creativity to make it happen.
This post is part of a Parade of Christmas Trees, be sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the amazing Christmas trees showcased by each of my friends.
Philip had previously dug out my Christmas tree skirt that I insisted I could not do without. Each year I have our grandchildren put their handprints on the tree skirt and I was not missing a single year! It’s very difficult to get babies to make handprints, but I’ll treasure these smudged handprints forever!
While I was at the storage unit pulling out my Thanksgiving décor, I spotted our first artificial Christmas tree somewhat easily accessible. As I moved a few things to get to it, I found a small box of Christmas lights and the mini tree skirt. Perfect, I can work with this.
Traditional Popcorn Garland
Popcorn garland is considered a classic American Christmas decoration dating back to colonial times. The colonist brought these Christmas traditions with them from England and Germany. German immigrants would dye the popcorn in beautiful colors and string fruits and nuts to create a beautiful garland. The stands are considered treats for wildlife when strung on real trees.
Cranberries are in season in November, and they last well unpreserved. They bring a pop of color to a traditional popcorn strand. I can’t even remember the last time I strung popcorn and cranberries. I borrowed a microwave air popper from my mother-in-law, Joy Murphy, so I could pop some oil-free popcorn to string. Armed with a big needle and some fishing wire, I started stringing popcorn and cranberries, a traditional old-fashioned Christmas tree garland. It’s a perfect addition to my vintage Christmas decorations.
Orange, Lemons and Grapefruit
As a child, I always received oranges in my Christmas stocking, I thought it was because we grew up in Florida. However, I found a few interesting stories regarding the giving of oranges. According to Smithsonian Magazine, an orange in the toe of the stocking was a representation of gold given by St. Nicholas in the legend of the three balls. Three poor maidens were given gold in their stockings as dowries that would save them from becoming imprisoned as slaves.
During the Great Depression, oranges were a luxury and were considered an extravagant gift to receive. Bright orange slices also represent the return of the sun and light as the Winter Solstice is celebrated on the first day of winter. Garlands and ornaments are strung to celebrate.
Just a few days before I decided to decorate a homemade Christmas tree, I had seen a beautiful collection of dried citrus decorations by my friend, Chey at Farmhouse and Blooms. Chey gives complete instructions and tips on her blog, link above.
Drying the fruit is easy. Cut fruit into slices and dehydrate. It took a lot longer than I expected, but this is Florida. My dehumidifier gets emptied daily, so I expect that it took so long because of the humidity level. Its a great idea to add whole cloves to some o the slices to add an extra element of interest.
Living in a small space, I’m doing a mini-Christmas tree, I kept it simple, dried fruit slices hung simply with butcher’s twine. I added whole cloves to some of the slices before dehydrating them. I love the way the light bulbs sparkle through the fruit slices. This vintage touch looks like stained glass!
Cinnamon Sticks: The Aroma of Christmas
When it comes to the aromas of Christmas, cinnamon is one of the scents you might think of. Ginger, cloves, and nutmeg likely round out the aromas in your Christmas memories. I added cinnamon sticks to my homemade Christmas decorations.
There are so many cute ideas of how to incorporate cinnamon sticks into your Christmas tree. I kept mine rather simple, I had some red and green curling ribbon. Using short lengths of ribbon, I made a hanging loop. A separate bundle of ribbons was curled to make bows. The ribbons are a great way to add little hints of color to my homemade Christmas tree.
I always hang candy canes on my Christmas tree. Full-size candy canes are a bit big for my mini-Christmas tree, but it just wouldn’t be right not to include them. Candy canes remind me of Jesus, the celebration of His birth, and the blood He sacrificed for our salvation.
When my children were small, I never let them eat any of the candy canes before Christmas, they were decorations. The best part of being a GiGi is there are new rules, in recent years my granddaughter and I enjoy a candy cane together even before Christmas!
Extra Touches for our Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree
While I have so enjoyed creating this themed Christmas tree, putting up my Christmas tree is traditionally a walk down memory lane. Whenever I take a trip or have a special event, I get a Christmas ornament that reflects the moment. As I unwrap my Christmas ornaments each year, I get to reminisce over all those special memories and people who have crossed my path. It’s for that reason, I will always have a Christmas tree that is a hodgepodge of decorations.
I had just a few ornaments to add to this year’s tree that isn’t buried deep in storage. Philip and I were married on Valentine’s Day of this year. Our cake topper was a simple cut-out that says “The Hunt is Over”. I had Philip cut the stick off the cake topper and I made it into a Christmas ornament. Despite the theme of a homemade Christmas tree, I had to include this ornament on its inaugural Christmas.
I found a single Christmas ornament in the box of Christmas lights that is a dog bone with our dog Roxie’s names in beads. It’s a handmade ornament made by mother-in-law, Joy Murphy. It fit the theme of a homemade Christmas tree perfectly.
Finally, I added my Christmas mug, made by our grandson, Weston, that he gave me last Christmas. It has adorable reindeer made with his fingerprints. It was the perfect touch to add our extra candy canes
Our Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree
I am thrilled at how our Old-Fashioned Christmas tree came out. I have always loved a themed Christmas tree but my hodgepodge of sentimental ornaments are too precious not to display. I’m so thrilled I could capture the spirit of a country Christmas with just things we had on hand and a couple of pieces of fruit.
Showcase of Christmas Trees
This post is in collaboration with some of my blogging friends. Each blogger has created a Christmas tree as unique as their blogs! Join me in this Parade of Christmas Trees and see the amazing Christmas trees they have created in their homes. Click the pictures below to see the full post about each of the beautiful Christmas trees.
Ada’s Eco Friendly Tree
Ada from myjourneytogreen.com is a mom and wife, always looking for a more natural and simple way of living. A journey filled with eco-friendly ideas, urban gardening tips, DIY, healthy recipes, and more.
Her eco-friendly Christmas tree ornaments are beautiful, fun to make, and made with natural or recycled materials. This is the perfect holiday craft that every family member will enjoy.
Suani’s Sentimental Tree
Suani from Keeperofourhome.com shares about living a simple and slow lifestyle with a focus on faith, family, and keeping a home.
Decorating a memory-filled sentimental Christmas tree with handed-down vintage ornaments and handmade ornaments.
Hollyn’s DIY Crafted Tree
Hollyn from oursimplegraces.com is a mom of three, ages 3 and under, and a military wife. She enjoys cooking from-scratch meals and finding ways to live a more natural and healthy life while finding joy in everyday moments.
Her Christmas Tree is filled with simple DIY-crafted ornaments. These DIY ornaments are great to do with kids, girlfriends, or your spouse while you’ve got a cozy Christmas movie on. Plus, if you’ve got toddlers running around like her, you won’t mind them playing with these fun Christmas tree decorations!
Teresa’s Old World Charm Tree
Teresa from CelebrationElevation.com is sharing her Old World Charm Christmas Tree, made up of the many vintage, glass ball ornaments she has collected along the way. Some ornaments from childhood and even a few from her mom’s childhood. Each ornament has a story, so she dedicated an entire tree to these beautiful, glass ornaments and decided to feature this tree in her blog.
Angela’s Tiny Tree with Homemade Ornaments
Angela at the blog modwife.net loves to create and make. Seeing beauty in everything around her and trying to embrace all life has to offer. Currently, she is traveling the United States full-time in an RV with her whole family of 5 and 1 dog searching for their own homestead and old home to renovate. Living simply but not simple is her goal.
Check out her tiny home Christmas tree with 5 simple Christmas ornaments anyone can incorporate to elevate any Christmas tree.
Did you hit the Parade of Christmas trees link and scroll past our Old- Fashioned Christmas tree? Back to Top
It’s not looking like a white Christmas morning around here. We’ll reminisce about snow on the homestead. May you have a very Merry Christmas filled with holiday cheer! Join me…..
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.