Since childhood, I have enjoyed marking and celebrating numerous festivals. I love the way that they punctuate the year in a fun yet predictable way and mean there is always an occasion to look forward to in the not-too-distant future. Note that we don’t necessarily celebrate in an extravagant way with huge parties or anything- often just in a token way. I prefer to celebrate more in terms of decorating our home in a themed way. More specifically, with a tree.
Of course, when most people think of decorating a tree, Christmas springs to mind. However, decorative trees are ideal for theming the home for multiple festivals and occasions.
Now is probably the time to explain that I wouldn’t dream of using a real, ceiling-height tree at any time of year other than Christmas. Instead, we have a two-foot, white-painted wooden tree to position on top of a table or sideboard. It was purchased from the UK department store John Lewis six or seven years ago and no doubt other stores sell similar ones. For creative types, there’s no reason why you couldn’t make your own from a carefully chosen section of tree branch with plenty of twigs to hang items from. It would be best to let it dry out first at this time of year though (perhaps in an airing cupboard to speed up the process) before spray painting white if desired, or simply left natural wooden coloured.
Halloween never seemed to be widely celebrated when I was growing up in the 1980s. Sure, some kids made an effort to dress up in costume to go trick-or-treating but walking through our local town centre recently I was amazed to see just how many shops had filled their windows with elaborate Halloween displays and were full of costumes and props for adults, children and even pets!
In the year that we bought our decorative tree, I sought out items to hang from it just as each festival approached. The pound shops were useful, particularly Poundland. From there, for Halloween, I bought a small string of battery-powered LED pumpkin lights and black-and-white skull print tinsel, to wrap around the branches. Then I got packs of small, multicoloured plastic skeletons and have added decorations to the collection produced by my children in recent years. I re-use the same decorations year after year, only rarely buying new ones for any occasion. Within the storage box for the decorative tree, I keep plastic bags labelled with the various festivals that we decorate the tree for; at present this includes Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day.
Now, I imagine that you are thinking that the mainly plastic type of decorations we hang on the tree for Halloween are anything but chic? I can certainly understand that point of view, and admit that if we didn’t have children living at home who get ridiculously excited about Halloween, I wouldn’t decorate the tree in the same way at this time of year. The Easter and Valentine’s decorations are decidedly more tasteful, I hasten to add! However, there is no reason why the tree couldn’t be decorated with a more general ‘Autumn’ theme if desired. Still, here’s our tree that was decorated earlier this week all ready for Halloween:
As you’ll realise, Halloween is still almost week away, so it may seem premature to have the decorations up already. I admit to taking a slightly unusual stance in the respect that I always like to put decorations up early, but also take them down early. The anticipation of any upcoming occasion is certainly (a large) part of the pleasure for me. Anyone that knows me will be aware that even the Christmas tree and all other Christmas decs are taken down on the 28th December at the latest! I love being able to enjoy looking at the decorations in the interval before the celebration day arrives.
How about you? Do you decorate your home for different festivals and occasions? Does anyone else have a tree they decorate for anything other than Christmas? Perhaps I can decorate the tree for additional occasions than the ones I’ve mentioned…
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