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Christmas Traditions: Decorating the Tree

The magic of Christmas is upon us.  And, what better way to experience the holiday season than through Christmas Traditions? Here are some of our family’s cherished Christmas tree decorating traditions, and how to create your own!

A collage of many Christmas-themed images, from colorful Christmas decor to children helping to decorate the Christmas tree. A red bar in the center of the image had white text that reads "how to create Christmas traditions"

This post was sponsored by At Home.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Please see my full disclosure policy for more details.

Hello, sweet friends!

Yes, I know, I’m writing ANOTHER Christmas post.  I did give you fair warning 😉

I am thrilled to be sharing all about Christmas traditions today with a few blogger friends.  

It’s no secret at this point that I’m borderline obsessed with Christmas.  Aside from the excuse to decorate with an obscene amount of glitter,  what I most look forward to every December are the traditions.

And isn’t that what makes this time of year so special?  Yeah, you may have to go to Great Aunt So and So’s house on Christmas Eve and it may smell like cats and you may have to eat some traditional cuisine from the “good ole’ days”.  But, won’t you remember that one year when  _______ or that one time when _______?

I feel like traditions are almost synonymous with memories.  Those traditions you may balk at every year may leave you with the sweetest memories of Christmases past.

That is especially true for me now.  Raising our little brood of humans has given me all the more reason to make ALL of the traditions for us.

Being a relatively new family (though we have been married 5 years HOW?!?), it’s been so exciting to keep old traditions with our respective families, merge our own traditions together, and creating brand new traditions for just our little family.

So, when At Home wanted to talk about traditions for their #MyReason campaign, while adding some decor for Christmas, I jumped at the opportunity!

My absolute favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the tree!  As a child, my parents would always host a trim-the-tree party where the whole family would come over to decorate the tree.  I LOVED doing it.

Then, I became a teenager and hated everyone.  Then, I went to college and was too “old” to do it.

And THEN, I had my own tree, my own house, and my own family.  Before kids, my husband and I would crank up some Mariah Carey Christmas, pop a couple beers open, and decorate the tree.

Our Family’s Christmas Tree Decorating Traditions

A close up image of the branches of a Christmas tree, decorated with sparkling lights and red bead garland. A round ornament hangs from a branch and says "MERRY"

Decorating the Christmas Tree with Our Sweet Boys

Then, we had our sweet little boys.  Now, we still put on Mariah Carey Christmas (maybe not quite as loud) and decorate the tree with the boys.  There’s nothing sweeter than watching them “help”.

Two young toddler boys helping to decorate a Christmas tree by hanging Christmas ornaments.

When Liam was 2, he first helped us decorate the tree.  He put on about 6 bulbs or so ALL on the same branch.  I wish I had a picture of it to share.  We kept all 6 bulbs on that one branch, and even though it sagged to literally touch the floor, it’s something I’ll never forget.  I still laugh/cry about it today!

A close up look at a decorated Christmas tree, adorned with sparkling Christmas lights, garland, and ornaments. A young boy's arm reaches out and holds a unique star ornament hanging at the bottom of the tree.

Now decorating the tree is (I’m sure) a tradition for many families.  But, each family’s tree would look different.

We have a hodge podge of ornaments.  Some glittery, some sentimental.  But, most have a story, and I love thinking about the story each ornament tells of our lives and our family.

We started a tradition with our kids to have them each pick an ornament every year.  Then, when they’re older, all those ornaments will be theirs to take to their own home, to their own tree.  How funny it will be to look at what they picked each year!

Read More: 20+ DIY Farmhouse Christmas Ornaments

A little boy stands in front of a decorated Christmas tree, proudly holding up an Angry Birds Christmas ornament.

Liam picked an Angry Birds ornament (last year it was Lightning McQueen) and Charlie picked Skye (from Paw Patrol).  I’m sure he will love to show that to his future wife 😉

The Christmas Tree Theme: Red, White and Black Ornaments

This year, I decided to go for a themed tree.  With the help of At Home, I designed a red, white and natural wood tree.  Look how pretty these ornaments are!  We still added all of our sentimental ornaments, too!

A pile of Christmas ornaments of various sizes, shapes, and patterns. The color palette is red, black, and white.

Read More: 6th Day of Craftmas: DIY Farmhouse Style Ornaments

Charlie put ornaments on the tree.  Literally.  He placed them on the branches.  Then ran away laughing.  We had to help him quite a bit to get one ornament correctly placed 🙂

A young boy and and an older blond woman gently hang Christmas ornaments together on a Christmas tree.

Liam was SO into decorating this year.  Which is so fun.  I love seeing each of them grow and change each year.  I mean look at this concentrating face.

A young boy carefully hangs Christmas ornaments onto the branches of a Christmas tree, sparkling with red Christmas lights.

And the sass face.

A young boy with a sassy smirk on his face hangs a Christmas ornament onto a branch of a Christmas tree.

Something I have to remind myself of when it comes to these traditions is, it can’t always go 100% as planned.  But, that’s all part of the memories we are forming.  When I want to pull my hair out, I remember I’ll probably be laughing about it next year.  Like Charlie trying to eat Christmas lights.

Read More: 60+ DIY Christmas Countdowns To Add Joy To Your Holidays

A little boy plays with a string of red and green Christmas lights, attached to the bottom branches of a Christmas tree. His face is bathed in red light from the tree lights.

Or Charlie “sweeping” while we’re decorating.

A young boy holds a broom, helping to clean up fallen pine needles from a decorated Christmas tree.

But, all in all, the tradition of decorating the tree is one of my favorites.  There are plenty of laughs, plenty of snuggles, and that family time I swear we never get enough of.

A close up look through the pine branches of a decorated Christmas tree, adorned with lights and garland. A round ornament with the word "PEACE" hangs on a branch.

Watching Our Favorite Christmas Movie

Another tradition my husband and I have is to watch Christmas Vacation every Christmas Eve.  It’s probably my favorite movie ever.  Even if I can recite the entire script from start to finish, I’m always laughing to the point of tears every year.  This may look different each year.  Before kids, we would be having a couple of drinks.  Now, I’ve either been pregnant or nursing every Christmas for 4 years.  So, we collapse into bed far too late and grumble about getting up in the morning.  But we still watch the movie and I enjoy that “us” time before the craziness of Christmas morning.

The branches of a fully decorated Christmas tree, adorned with a variety of red, white, and black Christmas ornaments, red and green Christmas lights, and red bead garland.

A New Christmas Tradition: Hot Chocolate Breaks!

We took a break halfway through for some hot chocolate!!  This is a new tree-trimming tradition we decided to start this year.  Because hot chocolate is awesome and the kids need a break to keep their attention.

A mug of fresh hot chocolate, topped with mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips.

Charlie literally chugged his hot chocolate (we put tons of milk in to make sure it was cool enough).  He didn’t come up for air until it was done.

A young boy drinks a brass mug of hot chocolate during a break from decorating the Christmas tree.
A young boy takes a big sip of hot chocolate from a brass mug.

Admiring Our Decorated Christmas Tree

I think the tree came out really well!

Our fully decorated Christmas tree, brightly lit with red and green Christmas lights, beaded garland, and a variety of colorful Christmas ornaments.

Read More: How to Make a Modern Christmas DIY Stocking Holder

Another angle of the fully decorated Christmas tree, fully decorated with lights, garland, and ornaments. The sun from the window shines in on the tree, showing the fresh green color of the pine branches.

I love the pairing of red with wood.

A small round ornament made from natural wood, painted partially white, hangs on Christmas tree branches surrounded by lights and beaded garland.

More importantly, I loved spending the time as a family.  Between both of us working and other obligations, it’s hard to spend quality time together.  I hope to one day not have to work so we don’t have to cram all the things into the weekends/evenings I’m off.  It’s hard to understand, and I’m certainly thankful of what we have, but I crave more time together, just the 4 (soon to be 5) of us.

An abstract white wire ornament, wound into the shape of a tree, hangs on the pine branches of a Christmas tree, backlit with red lights.

My husband is mildly obsessed with Legos.  He has a whole Lego train set (and every other Lego set ever made).  This year, he brought it out and I can’t even explain how excited Liam was.  Seeing all my boys down on the floor playing with this train is such a sweet memory.

Don’t worry, we put the train up during the day so it doesn’t get broken (again).

Two young boys sit on the floor, watching a toy train run on train tracks around the Christmas tree. The soft light from the Christmas tree lights cast a red glow in the space.

After the kids are asleep, we sit in the glow of the Christmas lights.  There is just something so magical about this time of year, isn’t there?

Our family Christmas tree, decorated with sparkling red and green Christmas lights, beaded garland, and a variety of red, white, and black Christmas ornaments. The soft glow of the Christmas lights fills the room.
A black round ornament hangs from the Christmas tree branches. It's printed with the word MERRY, with the definition below; it says "merry - adjective: very happy and cheerful"

How about you?  What is your favorite Christmas tradition?  I would love to hear in the comments.  Do you decorate the tree?  Do you have some crazy cool traditions?

After we finished, we moved all the ornaments off the last 2 feet or so of the tree.  Because, kids.  It looks rather bare, but, it’s either that or cleaning up broken ornaments every day.

Our completed Christmas tree, decorated with red and green lights and a variety of ornaments. On the floor  around the tree is a red tree skirt and toy train tracks.

Read More: We Cut Down our own Christmas Tree at Grupps Tree Farm

Read More: 10 DIY Stocking Initial Tags You Can Make

More Christmas Traditions from Other Bloggers!

Alright, friends!  Time to check out some other Christmas Traditions.  These ladies are so creative and I can’t wait to see what their favorite traditions are!

A collage of images showing many family Christmas traditions, like baking cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, and spending time with family. Image text on a red background says "how to create Christmas traditions with At Home"
At Home with ZanSunshine and Munchkins
My Life from HomeAn Alli Event
Restyle it WrightCraftivity Designs
Blue i Style Loveland Lodge

Wishing you a joyful day!


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  1. I love a Christmas tree that tells a story! That’s how my great room tree is. It has ornaments that my kids made when they were little. They are all grown now. Your kids are adorable and I love seeing families making Christmas memories. Your tree is so pretty!

  2. CONGRADULATIONS! I am sure it is an early Christmas gift for your family to find out the good news. I must say that Charlie is a child after my own heart—-sweeping while decorating and chugging hot chocolate—-I can relate. It is nice to see that you are starting your own traditions with your children. Its those moments that they will cherish forever. As a fellow Pittsburgher I am in love with the Pens jersey—-raising those boys right 😉 Merry Christmas!

  3. The sweetest post ever! Your kids expression while decorating is priceless! I know you really miss getting that 6 ornament photo – my kids do the same. All on the one branch!! I love all the ornaments you found from At Home. The red and black really pop. Trimming the tree is such a fav tradition especially now when the kids are involved. It’s funny how kids change us – isn’t it? Adding hot cocoa to this tradition is a good one because you are correct, it’s just awesome. I too have either being pregnant or nursing for who knows how many Christmases – nursing this time:) Congrats again on the new addition to come!!

  4. I love the idea of tree-trimming party — that is so cool. It must be a special memory! Your kids are dolls and isn’t decorating the tree just so magical?! Love it!