Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree!

By Dorri Partain

Our house at Christmas time is loaded with decorations filled with memories of Christmas past: items from my childhood, my parents and grandparents.

While I prefer a live tree, some years we decorate an older artificial tree because finding the right fresh tree is either too expensive or they’re sold out because after all the outdoor decorations, wreaths and garland are hung, the tree is always decorated last.

I’m a very traditional decorator, and gravitate towards the decorations of yesteryear – a tree with colored lights, shiny glass vintage ornaments and silver tinsel. But, as a mama of three cats, this is also their favorite style of tree! So, last year I switched our decorations from traditional to what I call our “scrapbook tree” in hopes that it would be less attractive to our cats. (That’s Tanner lounging under the tree.)

For our scrapbook tree, I scoured through generations of family photos, selecting those that showed presents being opened, family members (my mom, me, my husband, my two sons, and my grandson) posing with Santa, and photos of decorated trees from long ago. I made color copies so I could crop them and then glued them to gold colored poster board to make little frames. I added a gold cord for hanging, and I also crafted a matching tree top, with silver sequins and pipe cleaners for extra sparkle.

On the back of each photo I wrote the name, description and year the photo was taken. It’s really fun to see how my two sons have grown and look back at cherished photos of Christmases years ago. There are also a few birthday photos, as my youngest son was born on Christmas Eve, so his birthday is part of our Christmas celebration.

While it’s not exactly cat-proof – on Christmas Day last year, we were sitting down for dinner and the tree got knocked over… twice – nothing was broken like if I had used my usual, treasured glass ornaments.

This year, I added a few small glass ornaments, attached with pipe cleaners, to the array of photo ornaments. I also purchased some pine-scented scent sticks to hang on the tree to see if that will act as a deterrent to my tree-playing kitties Tommer, Tanner and Tiki, who also have their photos on our scrapbook tree.

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