Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anyone Know How to Do It Right?

Take a picture of a Christmas tree, that is! (You thought I meant something else?)

So I finally got around to putting up the second tree last night. Got kind of tired of hearing Nate's sarcastic "Nice tree" every time he walked by the living room. Tuesday night I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up eight boxes of twinkly white lights (among several other things!). At the last minute I got worried that eight wouldn't be enough, so I snagged two more for a total of ten boxes (1,000 lights or 300 feet!).

As some of you may recall, I got this new tree on one of my favorite websites, Freecycle a few months ago, so when I finally opened the box, I had no idea what to expect.

Let me tell you, I was shocked. This is seriously the weirdest Christmas tree I have ever seen. And having worked at a Christmas shop in high school, I have seen more than my share of trees! First, this six foot tree has like fifteen layers of branches. The layers are all really close together but they only have a few branches per layer, like this:

There are only six scrawny branches on the bottom layer. That's weird, right?

So not only are there a bazillion layers, but they are lettered funny too. You know how most tree layers are labeled A, B, C, D, E and so forth? This one is lettered too: F, G, G, H, H, I, K, L, M, M, etc. WTH? Anywhere there is a letter shown twice, one will be one color (like orange tab with white letter) and the second will be the same colors except opposite (like white tab with orange letter). Um, why not just use a different letter? There are, after all, twenty six of them.

Anyway, I digress. Once I got past the randomness that is this Christmas tree, it actually turned out really great. It's not as full as our regular tree, but this one has it's own charm. And with so many layers it used up every single box of lights, and the top is a little scantier than I would like it to be. At 9pm last night I was thankful to my worry-wart self for buying those extra two boxes!

Sara's Tips for the Perfect Christmas Tree:

1. Light it up as you go. For maximum twinkliness (twinklage?), add your lights as you add the layers. I run my lights up one side of the branch and down the other (see above picture). It takes more lights this way, but makes the tree glow from the inside out.

2. Add ribbon running around or up/down the tree for added visual interest. Make sure to use wired ribbon so that it won't lose its shape.

3. Hang 'filler' ornaments first. You know, those plain ones that you get 20 for $5 at Wal-mart? Hang these inside the tree, close to the pole to make the tree look full and give it some dimension. Plus, nosy guests who 'inspect' the tree up close will be surprised to find ornaments that deep inside the tree.

These are the filler ornaments for the new tree. Some are just plain jane, others are sparkly but still not as pretty as the 'good' stuff.

I scratched the mess out of my arms putting these way back there, but it was worth the pain because it turned out fantastic!

4. Hang especially sparkly ornaments in little alcoves. I make little alcove spaces in the branches for the sparkliest stuff so that they get maximum exposure to the twinkle lights. This makes them shine beautifully!

5. Hang your favorite ornaments first. Once you've got the filler done, make sure you put your favorite ornaments front and center so you see those most often!

I really love everything on this tree, but here are a few of my favorites.

6. Hang the rest of the ornaments. Don't forget that the back and sides of the tree are important too! Step back every few minutes to see where things are looking a little bare. You don't want to get the whole thing done and realize all the red ornaments are on just one side of the tree!

Voila! A beautiful Christmas tree!! Mine took about four hours from start to finish, but I also had to unbox and untag everything since it was brand new. Next year it will probably go much faster!

Here is the finished product. While I am very pleased with the tree (I want to sit only in that empty room now!), I am bummed by the pictures. They don't do it justice at all. Which leads me to the title of this post - anyone know how to take a good picture of a Christmas tree? The tree is all glowy and sparkly and the picture is just so blah. Guess you'll just have to come see it for yourself!


Mercy Triumphs said...

Beautimus! I wish you could bring it with you when you come! I ought to print all of your wonderful directions, but Dad is the expert tree decorator around here! I try to get near it and I hear this voice saying "step away from the tree!" (What is actually says is "that doesn't go there!" Okay, I get it, I just don't have vision for it! Good thing you take after your dad!

Monkey said...

Did you turn the flash off? It helps show the "glow" better when the flash is off. At least with my tree it did. But a picture will NEVER do it justice--it's always better in person.

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