Monday, December 5, 2011

Hanging Ornaments on the Christmas Tree:

I never once read an article or a blog posting on the particulars of hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree.  Knowing the whys and wherefores is what I call folk knowledge.  The way things are done in any particular family that are passed down to the next generation.  Until today, I didn't realize that there is a ratio of filler ornaments per 2 feet of tree in combination with special themed ornaments.  I slowly began to realize that to outsiders, my Christmas trees must have seemed butt ugly.

I never had themes.  I never had color schemes.  I always thought that tinsel could cover a magnitude of sins.  And to help clarify my thought process, I did a little Internet research to see what I could do to improve or, if nothing else, streamline how I do it.

Some Common Sense Tips:
  1. Buy a quality ornament hook.  One year I picked up a cheap box and even as I slipped them onto the ornaments they didn't feel right.  I came home from work the next day to find several of my heavier ornaments on the floor, the hook having straightened itself out under the weight of the ornament.  Most of my beloved treasures, did not survive the fall.
  2. When hanging your ornaments, try to no hang all the ornaments on the tips of the branches.  Try to get some ornaments back by the trunk, plus midway down the branches.
  3. It's never a good idea to hang ornaments on the Christmas tree light wires.
  4. If you have pets, hang your ornaments from ribbon, yard, raffia or floral wire.  I never met a dog that could resist taking a bite.
  5. When hanging those special one-of-a-kind ornaments, match the weight of the ornament with the strength of the branch.  If they really cause the tips of the branches to sag, hang them deeper into the tree.
  6. Don't be afraid to reposition a couple of inches of Christmas tree lights in order to showcase some of your more spectacular ornaments.
Do you know those boxes of 12 ornaments that are all the same shape or the same color?  You can usually get them for a couple of bucks?  These are called "filler" ornaments.  They're job is to evenly distribute color and sparkle. Christmas tree designers recommend that you have 20 filler ornaments per two foot of Christmas tree.  Put these ornaments on first and distribute them evenly across the surface of the tree as well as back towards the trunk and midway down the branches.

Then place on your one-of-a-kind special ornaments or family heirlooms.  Some designers recommend 10 special/themed ornaments per 2 feet of tree.  Remember to save the gaps in the branches for those longer ornaments that need to dangle.

If you're reading this blog, I know you love Christmas.  I know you probably have a fantastic collection of ornaments that you love as much as your children.  So I want to take a moment and make a suggestion to you.  Not forever, but just for now ...
If you have any tots at your house, or even a bad dog or incorrigible cat, I would recommend that you find a special place for your special breakable ornaments, rather than on the Christmas tree.  Let me explain...

25 years ago, I decked my Christmas tree to the nines.  With no indoor cat, I didn't hesitate to break out my family inheritance.  My youngest child was 2 1/2 and surely was scared enough of me NOT to mess with the Christmas tree. At the very tips, I hung the ornaments that came from my great grandma Minnie -- fairy light, thin as skin, blown glass teapots and samovars, sugar bowls and creamers.  They had traveled with her from Toledo, Ohio on the train.  Minnie had been a milliner.  Her husband, Dennis, a railroad man.  When the moved to Houston Heights, Texas -- around 1898, for Dennis' health, Minnie opened her own hat shop.  And these ornaments came from her shop.
I came home from my second night shift job to find all three kids lined up on the couch, and the tree looking somewhat askew.  Apparently for no reason, my almost three year old son thought he could climb the Christmas tree.  Of course it fell over and of course the only ornaments that shattered into a million shards were Minnie's.

Now, I'm not an idiot.  I know that JJ didn't just decide to climb the tree. I'm know that one of his sister's double dog dared him.  Hey, Christmas was over and there was no threat of ending up on Santa's naughty list.

My point is, those ornaments were irreplaceable.  I have searched the Internet, eBay, Elsy, antique stores -- and i have never found anything like them.  Those ornaments are gone, gone, gone.

If I had it to do over again, I would have opted for safety, for the preservation of precious family memories. I would have waited another 10 years before bringing them out.  I would have place them in a big glass bowl on the dining table, if I couldn't stand NOT to see them every year.  I should have bought Plexiglas display boxes for them and then locked them in the china cabinet.  But that was the price I paid -- don't let the same thing happen to you.


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