Oh, Christmas tree: Decorating for the holidays

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Decorating for the holidays has become an international tradition. Buildings, homes, streets and even parks are adorned with colorful lights and an assortment of trinkets that bring life to crisp December nights. Among all the head-turning decorations put up for the season, Christmas trees appear to be the highlight and centerpiece of any home, building or public venue.

The practice of setting up and decorating the much-awaited Christmas tree once the change of season is upon us, dates back to ancient times. Aside from being a holiday centerpiece, this Christmas icon also possesses a deeper meaning for certain civilizations.

Symbol of life
Ancient Egyptians and Romans marked the winter solstice by using evergreen boughs. The boughs served as a reminder to the public of the temporariness of the cold season and how crops will once again spring from the earth. This belief gave hope and warmth to the people despite the change in the length of nights and days.

Moreover, people in some countries believed that evergreens are a symbol of life and have the capacity to ward off evil spirits – even illnesses.


But only few places in Europe continued the practice of hanging evergreen boughs on their doors to commemorate the Winter Solstice. It wasn’t until 1846 when Queen Victoria of England, along with her family, were shown gathered around a Christmas tree in the Illustrated London News, that the Christmas tree became a trend adapted in Britain and the East Coast of America.

As the years went by, the public’s creativity along with numerous trends, manifested as decorations on the Christmas tree. Ornaments, lights and other pieces fit for the holidays eventually embellished the branches of the towering décor. There are also instances when the tree was transformed to an expression of imagination and ingenuity.

Aside from the usual festive bright and twinkling lights, baubles, the star on top of the tree and garlands, here are other approaches that could get your imagination and creativity running when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree.

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Play with shapes
We’re used to seeing ornamental balls hung on the branches of our holiday centerpiece. An assortment of glitter and shine is festive but sticking to the usual circular trinkets is a bit too common; especially for an expressive mind. Geometrical shapes also look festive on the branch of a Christmas tree. Stray from the orbs and get playful with the clean lines and sharp edges of different geometrical shapes during the holiday.

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Personalized
If the selection of store-bought embellishments aren’t up to your standards or you would rather prefer a more personalized touch, then by all means get crafty! Raid the fabric store for ribbons to alter as you’ve envisioned it wrapped around your Christmas tree. For ornaments that will certainly catch anyone’s attention and merit a closer look, hang tags with holiday greetings on the branches that can either be random or dedicated to a specific person. And if you’re a sentimental person, you can opt to hang photographs on the tree’s branches to start a trip back down memory lane during the season.

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Spell it out
Shapes, lights, traditional garlands, ribbons and figures aren’t the only attractions seen on the Christmas tree. You have the freedom to spell out the Christmas spirit through your décor. Grab a garland, ribbon, string or any material that suits your fancy to wrap around your tree. Afterwards, get your arts and crafts materials to start working on the letters that will hang from the material embracing your centerpiece. Let your imagination have its way by spelling out Christmas greetings, lyrics of Christmas carols or even a countdown of the days before Christmas. If doing-it-yourself is not an option, store-bought alphabet ornaments may be the solution to this dilemma.

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Size doesn’t matter
Not everyone is lucky enough to live or work in a huge, open space. In small, cramped spaces, a towering tree is definitely out of the question. But the spirit of Christmas­—let alone a person’s resourcefulness. A small, simple tree is sufficient to give color and holiday cheer to a cramped space. The matter then lies with the size of the embellishments. You can go for either miniature or big ornaments. However, small trees can only carry a limited amount of ornaments (not to mention a limited amount of weight). So if you’re thinking of using large, popping ornaments, consider those made from lightweight and durable materials like plastic. For variety in size, you can use both miniature and large ornaments to provide an assortment of eye-candy.

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