I guess the first “theme” Christmas trees were probably the ones in the 60’s that were flocked white and with all blue lights! And, remember the ones that had a spotlight on them, with a disk that rotated in front of the light, making a flocked tree change color? But, I think those were usually the only Christmas tree — done in lieu of the traditional tree.
But now it isn’t unusual for someone to have several trees, and sometimes the additional one will have a theme.
For several years we were guests at a home during the Christmas season where the couple went all out decorating — with lots of trees! I’m not sure if they did so much decorating because they had many guests during the season (which they did), or if they had many guests during the season to justify all the decorating! Either way, they put in many, many hours of work (she once told me, they started in October) decorating every square inch of their house, and professed to enjoy every minute of it. I do know that some of the events they hosted were fundraisers for charity, so their hard work and creativity were being used for a good cause too.
They lived out in the country, and the first time we went there, we weren’t sure exactly where it was, but then (it was a very dark night), we actually saw a GLOW over the next rise, and said, “That must be it!” It was!
One end of their great room was all windows. They had a big tree in front of those windows that was filled with Santas from all over the world, of every description. It was fascinating to just stand there and look at how many variations there were of Santa, especially if one of the homeowners happened to be close by and could tell you some of the stories that went with each Santa — where it was from or on what occasion it was a gift, or the memories attached to it from childhood.
Besides that tree, they had trees all over the house, which varied from year to year in their themes.
One year, they had a Magi tree, which was done all in dark, rich jewel-tones, the bottom draped in richly colored fabrics, with ornaments that were tassels and urn shapes, and, of course, figures of the three Magi. Very elegant and beautiful.
One tree she did with white lights and totally decorated with bouquets of silk SPRING flowers (Jonquils, Iris, Peonies, Hydrangeas, Tulips, Lily of the Valley, etc. ), pastel-colored silk ribbons and a white lace skirt. I would never have thought of doing such a “Springy” tree, but it too was lovely.
I remember one year she did a 50’s tree — all the decorations in black and pink. The skirt was made to look like a poodle skirt and the tree was trimmed with “ice cream sodas,” 45 rpm records, fur dice and 50’s car models. A pair of black and white saddle oxfords sat under the tree. Cool!!!!
She did a circus tree that had a skirt that was red and white stripes, like the traditional Big Top tent. She had popcorn boxes (do you remember when you would get popcorn at the circus in a box?), filled with real popcorn and very realistic looking ice cream cones set in among the branches and clown heads that she had made out of styrofoam balls, with curly ribbon for hair, as the ornaments. Then she had streamers of curled ribbon (huge amounts of them) just thrown all over the tree. And a calliope sitting under it making it SOUND like a circus too!
In a bedroom on the dresser, she had a small tree decorated entirely with old costume jewelry and old handkerchiefs.
These are just the ones that immediately come to mind, but, as you can tell, this couple (and especially this lady) was very creative. Amazingly, she MADE most of the decorations on her theme trees.
It was such a treat to go there and just soak up the atmosphere of Christmas everywhere!
One year, when our old farmhouse was in a Christmas Walk , a fundraiser for our Lutheran grade school, this very creative lady generously loaned me the “makings” for her circus tree to put up in one of our bedrooms (I DID have to pop my own popcorn to put in the boxes). The children who came through on the “walk” especially enjoyed that one (and some of them even “tested” the popcorn to see if it was real!).
And I did a variation of her costume jewelry and handkerchief tree in another bedroom. I didn’t have any old costume jewelry, so I just used old handkerchiefs that I had bought. The assembly was easy: I used one of those tall skinny trees we had, because its branches are “tighter” and would hold the handkerchiefs better, put some ropes of “pearls” on and then twisted the handkerchiefs into “rosettes” and positioned them among the branches. I used a white wool cape that Mama had crocheted for me long ago as the skirt. She loved seeing it used that way.
I was so pleased with how this tree looked, that I usually found an excuse to put it somewhere for the rest of the years that we lived in the farmhouse. You can never tell — it might make it up sometime here too!
Thanks for letting me share my memories of theme trees with you.
If this is a year when you are thinking about putting up more than one tree, maybe some of these ideas will inspire you to come up with a unique one for your home!
May the activities you MUST do go smoothly, so that you will have time to do some of the activities you and your family would LIKE to do!