Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree

Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


My Christmas tree was always plain. White lights, red, unbreakable bulbs, and a red ribbon on top described my Christmas tree for most of my adult life. And I liked it that way. I liked its simple elegance.

I was on the path to repeat this tree decorating scheme this year. Following tradition, the day after Thanksgiving the five of us left the city and traveled to a Christmas tree farm in the countryside to choose and cut our Christmas tree, and then we spent the afternoon decorating it simply and plainly.

A few days later, I grew weary of the piles of bulbs my five-year-old and two-year-old continuously removed from the tree for play, leaving it even more nondescript than before. Then it occurred to me that this is a perfect opportunity to make this year's Christmas tree more meaningful, more original, more child-centered, and more true to its winter solstice origins.

So the kids and I began exploring how to decorate a nature-inspired Christmas tree, a tree that would symbolize light and life, strength and stamina--qualities that led cultures dating back thousands of years to celebrate the returning light of the winter solstice by decorating their homes with evergreens and other hardy flora.

We launched our new decorating mission with a trip to our neighborhood florist for some baby's breath and floral wire. As we were leaving the shop, I mentioned to him that we were on our way to collect pine cones nearby for our nature-inspired tree. The florist, thankfully, informed us that we had to bake the pine cones on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 200-degrees for about an hour to avoid our home being infested with bugs! Excellent tip. After collecting piles of pine cones, we visited the local market for some fresh cranberries to string and cinnamon sticks to tie.

As the kids helped to organize the pine cones for baking, thread the cranberries, wrap the pine cones and cinnamon sticks, place the baby's breath--and add their own handmade "ornaments" to the collection--I realized what a gift it is to celebrate this special season with a nature-inspired, child-focused Christmas tree.

And you know what? It is simply elegant.


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