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Haul Out the Holly...It's THAT time again!

Every year we try to get on top of Christmas, but Christmas inevitably tops us! With anxious stalking of the UPS man; frantic runs to the store on December 24th; dozens of cookies left unbaked; multiple holiday recipes left untried; and Christmas cards mailed out in January (or, let's be honest, not at all) we always have the best laid plans to get the upper hand on this exhausting, expensive, exploitive and enchanting holiday that I love so much, bur never quite manage it...until now! So it was with a surprise snowstorm the day after Thanksgiving, that Santa's Strapping Helper and I hit our local tree lot to get a jump on Christmas.

Waggy Sue came along for the ride as she does every Christmas. Our faithful 1984 Grand Wagoneer grew up California and, though she's certainly seen a fair share of California Christmases, has a tendency to rust in the Chicago snow, so tree shopping usually marks her last run until Spring.

We ended up with a gorgeous tree standing 9 feet tall and, as we realized once we got home and tried to get it through the door, 9 feet wide. We had to clear out most of the bay window, relocate the bar cart and sacrifice our dog's favorite sunning spot for the glory of the tree.

But glorious it is!

We decorated all night with lights and more lights and even more lights going through our entire stockpile for indoors and out before getting the tree sufficiently illuminated. Big trees are spectacular but if, like me, your favorite kind of Christmas is an over-the-top Christmas, they need a lot of everything!

We've collected tons of ornaments over the years from our travels, to mark special events and to commemorate some of our favorite things and they all go on the tree. Growing up, my Mom always did themed tress. One year was all golden angels with pink balls on a white flocked tree. Another year was all travel with paper globes and ornaments marking our trips around the world. At some point we must have had a safari themed tree because I now have a handed down collection of zebra, giraffe, lion and water buffalo ornaments. Some day I'll have a themed tree like the ones I grew up with as a child but until then, we do


The great thing about the Everything Tree is that everything is appropriate for it. Grab leftover New Year's decorations, sparkly pieces of jewelry, bits of ribbons from last years Christmas gifts and anything else festive that catches your eye.

This year's tree got vintage inspired foil garlands and golden branches and paper crowns, glass balls, almost all of the ornaments we own, a great big 'ol bow for a topper and probably a few more things tucked in before Christmas arrives!

No one wants to have to choose between their favorite ornaments and at Chrstimastime, no one should have to!

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