Saturday, December 15, 2007

(N)O Christmas tree



I love my Christmas ornaments but my husband does not enjoy wrestling with the before, during, and after of a lop-sided tree that weighs more than he does. Neither do I.

So, a few years ago, I decided to find ways to display my ornaments, without a tree. It turns out they are much more visible without those pesky branches.

A recurring method has been to hang the ornaments on the meshes that are meant to be used to cover an outdoor bush, for example. These are grids of lights that are generally 4' x 6'.

In the photo on the left you can see my husband, appropriately dressed in a CSI T-shirt, tacking the bottom of the grid in place. The top is attached to standards that are nailed to the window frame.

The second photo shows the grid (actually 2 grids, tied together) fully laden with ornaments.

In case you think we miss the smell of a tree—one of the "ornaments" is a car freshener. And when we miss needles, we pull a few off the (real) wreath on the door and sprinkle them on the carpet.

QUIZ

Ever the teacher, I like to quiz my guests. Over the years I've given a prize to the person in each set of guests who comes closest to guessing the number of ornaments. They don't know ahead of time—at some point during the gathering, I announce the quiz. The guests then have three minutes to look over the display and come up with a number. It's not enough time to count, so players have to rely on another way of determining the number.

Now that so many expect that one, I've had to come up with different quizzes, such as how many New York ornaments are there? Or how many acorns?

Mean, huh?

Another arrangement I like is the following: Take 3 or 4 circular metal wires of different sizes. You can find them in a crafts store (they're meant to have garland wrapped around them). Arrange the circles from smallest on top to largest on the bottom and hang the arrangement from the ceiling. Hang the ornaments all around each ring. The effect is of ornaments "floating" in space, in the general shape of a tree. If anyone is curious, I'll pull out a photo from that year.

Does anyone else have a way of displaying ornaments without a tree? I'm open to something new for '08!

8 comments:

Camille Minichino said...

hmm ... in the Preview mode, the photo of my husband WAS on the left, honest.
Now it's on top, and I'm too lazy to undo it and go back in and edit ...

Loretta said...

This is genius! I love it :) I am going to have to remember this for next year. It might also be good for us crazy ornament stitchers that have more ornaments than we have tree to hang them on.

Deb Baker said...

How creative! I couldn't fit all my ornaments on the tree, either. This is perfect.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Years ago, my mother did a special "tree" for us. It was a beautiful tree branch, very architectural looking, that she'd taken and spray painted, then set in an anchor of plaster of paris, I believe. When the painted branch was loaded with ornaments, it was very beautiful. And after Christmas, there was no muss, no fuss--she simply whisked it away to the trash.

Anonymous said...

Favorite, special ornaments are hung from door and furniture knobs or hang from curtain rods, etc. Kathryn Lilley's mom's branch idea has been done in the past and it is very effective. xoxoxo

Camille Minichino said...

I'm interested in that tree branch ... love the idea that it's free-standing. About how many ornaments would it hold Kathryn?

Kathryn Lilley said...

I think it depends on how big the branch is. I remember it was a really large branch (of course, I was little so I may be remembering it as bigger than it was!), but you hang ornaments on it just as if it were a regular tree, so it holds as many as you want to load it up with...

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I'd love to see the other idea you have of using the garland circles. Both are great ways of showcasing favorite ornaments that get lost on the tree when the lights are on (which of course I always have on - who wants a tree with no lights?)

Allison