Friday, December 17, 2010

My Christmas Tree - Part 1 (Help from the Cat)

This weekend, I'm going to be doing some picture-heavy posts about my Christmas set-up. As I'm a very detail-oriented person in my clothes, you can bet I'm the same with my tree and my village.

Tackling the tree: Because I worked in a year-round Christmas store for over a decade, I have a ton of lovely ornaments. Unfortunately, decorating feels like work to me, so I don't put everything up every year anymore. This year, I decided to just put up one tree.

Inigo was a substantial help with this.
"Let's go in the closet! I never get to poke around in there!"

Looking pretty and watching me lug everything out:
He's pretty good about not attacking the bags and lights.

Scoping out the spot where the tree will go:
"I approve."

I set up the small tree on top of two low bookshelves (we store our DVD collection there). It's a good height, and leaves lots of room for food for entertaining. Or for a cat to sit. If you had a cat.

"What are you doing?"
He's very curious.
"This seems like a good place to supervise."

All the gear is out.
I grabbed the metal stand from my big tree, as the dinky little plastic one that came with the small tree is pathetic. A strong stand is essential!

My mom made this lovely Christmas-themed quilted table cover for me a few years ago. I put it over the top of the bookshelf to protect it, and to make a nice visual base.
Strangely, Inigo does not play with the gold tassels on each of the corners.

The tree is all lit and set into place:
I am gradually switching from my old lights to those new LED ones. The entire tree is lit with white lights, then several sets of coloured lights are put on over top: I use blue LED (can you tell? they're rather bright), multi-coloured blue/purple/aqua and a string of purple.

I hate lighting trees - it is the single most annoying part of decorating for me. It's also wicked rough on my cuticles.

Inigo checks in one of the bags:
Heh, that's a bag from the Fluevog store. Classy!

As you can see, I have written on the tops of all the boxes in blue felt pen - that's so that I know what goes into what box when I put the ornaments away after Christmas. I always seem to have some leftovers every year, though. What's up with that?

This little tree will be a theme tree: Star Wars and Star Trek! I am a super nerdy geek about both of those.

I unpack all my ornaments and lay them out on the coffee table. I separate out the ones that plug into the light strings:
From the top, working down, left to right:
- A star destroyer (SW)
- Romulan Warbird (ST: the original series)
- The USS Reliant (ST: Deep Space Nine)
- Darth Vader's tie fighter (SW)
- The USS Enterprise's shuttle Galileo (ST: the original series)
- Klingon Bird of Prey (ST: the original series)
- Death Star (SW)
- Darth Vader (SW)
- X-Wing fighter (SW)
- Millenium Falcon (SW)
- The USS Enterprise (ST: the original series).

I'll show close-ups of each of these in tomorrow's post and describe what they do (they do stuff!). Because these only work if they plug into non-LED lights, I have to make sure I a) carefully preserve at least one string of old lights) and b) distribute that string of lights evenly across the tree so that these ornaments aren't all clustered together. So much work!

Mom also made us this gorgeous blue and gold tree skirt and matching stockings:
I love the dragon brocade fabric, and the blue velvet. My stocking has the lace trim at the cuff. I also like the little black bead spider and gold embroidered web on each one (after the legend - I like the assorted legends around Christmas traditions).

This is the tree all lit and decorated:
I do believe Inigo is satisfied with it.

He likes to sit on his post next to the tree:
He hides his head under the edge of the tree skirt - I know he wants to play, but we don't encourage him.

I've had to move a couple of ornaments already because he discovered they make a nice noise when he whacks at them:
He also likes to climb from the post to the front section of the shelf, by creeping under the tree.
The tree shakes a bit (he is not as small as he thinks he is!), but it's stable.

Tomorrow: More ornaments!


  1. Ooooooh! I can't WAIT to see the Star Wars ornaments all strung up!

  2. Does the cat ever inadvertently knock the tree over?

  3. Hee adorable Inigo! You know if I had a tree like your's I think I would be a-ok. I'm fairly anti-christmas tree because it used to fall to me growing up to put it up and take it down..

    But your tree is adorable! Having one set up like that looks like it won't be in the way. And c'mon super-nerdtastic ornaments too?!

    Speaking of nerdy christmas ornaments, you might get a kick out of this:

  4. Now I know where you get your "eye" for fashion/beauty. The tableloth, tree skirt & stockings are FABuLOUS!

    Hopin' you have a tree to show tomorrow :) Indigo looks quite mischievous!

    I'm guessing there will be NO tree quite like yours! Can't wait to see the finished product.

  5. Love the Star Wars ornaments. I need to look on eBay right now for those. Very cool.

    "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny" -- Yoda

  6. Your mom's quilted stuff is amazing. I'm not a quilter--the idea of cutting fabric into little pieces and then sewing it back together again seems crazy, so I'm always impressed by other people's quilting.
    Love it when the cat "helps"!

  7. Ah, Sheila how lovely - both the tree and your glamorous Furry Christmas Assistant! I put my tree up today too (though my ornaments only hang and don't do stuff). I'm now feeling suitably Christmassy. Looking forward to the next installment...

  8. Sheila, we tie our tree to the ceiling with clear fishing line to prevent kitty accidents.

  9. 'Doll, thanks! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Terri, no, neither cat ever knocked over the tree.

    Cynthia, thanks!

    C&B, thanks, isn't he lovely?

    Megan, it works for me (my other tree is bigger and much more traditional). I like the little one, because it's so much less effort and time. Ha! I wish I'd seen that one - I totally would have bought it!

    Rebecca, yes, my mom's an artist. She paints, teaches art and is quite an accomplished quilter. Inigo's pretty good - he's been taught from kittenhood to behave around the ornaments.

    Thanks, Siouxsie! Ha, nice quote!

    knitwit, same here - I don't have the patience for quilting. Hee, Inigo is a huge help.

    SS, thank you! Nice, I'm glad you're feeling Christmassy!

    Lesa, I used to do that when I professionally decorated, but I don't want to put a hook in my ceiling.

  10. Good thing you had your feline helper! Too cute.

  11. Inigo has taken over the post!
    I think that he is the cutest :)
    AND I loved your tree. I have to switch to led lights...
    I can imagine how putting up Christmas decorations feels like a JOB.
    For me sometimes when I go shopping and go into stores that have perfumeries it feels the same :(

  12. Thanks, Lorena! I don't really like LED lights - they're too big. It's sad when something that should be fun is a chore.


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