Our Christmas Tree & Traditions

Just like our yearly trip to Wightman’s Farm for pumpkin picking and hay rides, cutting down a Christmas tree is another holiday tradition I share with my husband, his brother, our sister-in-law and their kids. We rent a minivan and drive out to Algers Tree Farm in New Jersey, where each family chops down a Christmas tree, and we make an effort to snap a holiday picture for Christmas cards. This year’s tree just fits in our apartment. With the Christmas star on top, there is literally 0.5 inches of clearance. But the scent of evergreen is amazing and fills the house.

One family tradition that I got from my mom and have carried out since the start of my relationship with Andrew is buying Christmas ornaments on every trip we go on. Over the past 8 years, we’ve built a collection of ornaments that represent all the important places we’ve been together. This makes decorating the tree a trip down memory lane as we dig out each ornament and remember the trip it represents. There’s the cloth Viking from our first trip together as a couple, to Iceland. There’s an oyster shell painted with a lobster from our first trip to Bar Harbor, where we later got married. Four  delicate hand-painted blown eggs are from our trip to Austria. A mosaic glass ornament in the style of Gaudi represents our latest trip to Spain. I even found an ornament that looks exactly like our brownstone apartment to represent our home in Brooklyn.

Our Christmas star also has sentimental value to me. Andrew and I picked it out together on our first Christmas as a couple. It’s a weird metal star on a spring that probably was not meant to be a tree topper, but seemed like the perfect thing to me when we found it at a Goodwill. I wouldn’t have anything else to top my tree.


What are some of your Christmas traditions around getting and decorating your tree? Colored or white lights? (Andrew insists on colored and I’m on board now.) Do your ornaments have a theme?