My Christmas Tree Traditions:
Old and New


10 December 2016


hristmas tree traditions are so special and personal, and following them makes for memories that will be cherished for years. But these traditions can also adapt to changing times and circumstances, and as I am about to embark on creating a new tradition, I look back on the ones that have shaped my Chrismasses thus far …

When I was little, Christmas did not start until the night before Christmas Eve, when my dad would return with a real tree, which he put up in the hallway, and carefully decorated. My sisters and brother and I would watch with amazement as he decorated it with a string of pastel-coloured, egg-shaped baubles, each with an angel and a fairy light inside. We weren’t allowed to touch, the baubles got more brittle each year, and it was the 70s when anything electric was a thing to be feared (there was the oft-told family story of my sister getting electrocuted from a table lamp – probably one my dad made using a Mateus Rose bottle – my brother trying to pull her off, and getting stuck to her, the electricity running through both of them). I remember the year the lights stopped working altogether, and feeling very sad, like Christmas just wouldn’t be the same again. And of course it wasn’t – as we grow up we make our own traditions, sometimes carrying elements from our own childhoods, or adapting to those of another.

When my own children were growing up, we got and put up a real tree on 12 December, which was their grandfather’s birthday, and the tradition in his house. I’m not sure exactly what my (now grown-up) children will remember of decorating the tree, but I guess it will be the hodge-podge selection of ornaments, bought by me over the years, and added to with the children’s creations; the purple velvet curtain that was fashioned into a tree-skirt of sorts; the debates over which of two angels to put on the top (and who’s turn it was to do so), and the unwavering placement of ‘the book’ ornament close to the top.

Now my children are adults, and I live alone, it’s time to make a new Christmas tree tradition, and one that is altogether more simple, and more sophisticated! So meet Fraser – my new pre-lit super-realistic faux tree in all his 7’5″ glory, with crystal decorations and tree skirt, all from Balsam Hill:


“Widely regarded as the best Christmas tree species in nature, the Fraser Fir is native to the Appalachian mountain forests of North Carolina and is quickly becoming one of the most popular species in the UK.”

BALSAM HILL – Fraser Fir

Choosing an artificial tree like this Fraser Fir means no worries about shedding needles, so I can start Christmas whenever I like. I decided on 1st December, and why not, I love the light that the tree gives and while I’m not one for the commercialisation of Christmas, I do get a excited by the magic and the sparkliness of the season, and a tree really adds to that!


Fraser fits my living room window bay just perfectly, and the reflections from the lights fill the three windows, so looking from outside it makes it seem like the tree is three times bigger than it is and the whole window bay is aglow – I love coming down the street and seeing it, and sure I am the envy of my neighbours!

Like all Balsam Hill trees, this is so realistic, and so easy to assemble. As it is also pre-lit, I didn’t have to do the usual untangling checking of strings of lights, and the inevitable search around town for any left in the shops when you realise you haven’t enough strings to cover the tree. There are loads of lights on Fraser – 750 infact – so many more than I’d have been able to put on a tree myself. And you can’t see the wires, big bonus!

“Glass decorations meticulously embellished with beading, glitter accents, and crystals. Hand-painted in shades of pewter and silver, each piece lends understated elegance to any holiday décor …these gorgeous baubles shimmer beautifully when they catch the light.”

BALSAM HILL – Crystal Glass Bauble Set


One set of 35 baubles, a selection of teardrops, balls, and finials, is all I’ve used to decorate the tree, and for now I’m liking the simplicity and co-ordinated feel to it. But I’ve got some ideas for further embellishments, following a recent trip to Saltram House, where there is a differently-decorated tree in every room (all artificial too, but looking so real, that my friend asked the room steward had they chopped them down from the grounds – I almost asked if they were by Balsam Hill!). So my new Christmas tree tradition is starting to take place, and I look forward to building on it on this lovely tree over the next period of my life.

And all I need now is some more presents underneath on the lovely quilted tree -skirt. Hint hint*

*to myself, that I must go Christmas present shopping 🙂


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