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Why Have One Holiday Tree?! See How a Quintet of Unique Christmas Trees Adds Personal, Showstopping Home Style!

 

Perhaps you’re familiar with the 12 Days of Christmas. 

And the 24 Days of the Advent Calendar Countdown to Christmas.

Or even the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

But have you ever heard of the 5 Christmas Trees Tradition? 

Really. Five glorious, decorated Holiday trees. In one home. 

Here is the origin story ~ brimming with family, tradition, whimsy, and personal style.

If you find yourself humming about what “My true love gave to me” you will just adore this beguiling Christmas tale, filled with love. 

This is a follow-on to my last post about Christmas tree traditions and history. Here you’ll find plenty to inspire your holiday decorating and traditions. 



Pretty much since I met Dina at one of my first jobs ~ I knew we’d be fast-friends. I am usually right about these sorts of things ^:^ and ever since she married wonderful Frank, they have been very dear friends of mine and Bill, too.  

In the course of our many happy conversations, I learned she featured a holiday Christmas tree in her home ~ all year long! 

While a novel idea; it was clearly unconventional.  

Please know straight away that this was not a case of leaving it up because she didn’t want the trouble of taking it down ~ (like so many homes where you see those pesky icicle Holiday lights still swaying from the roof in July!)

Heavens no.  

It is simply that Dina adores the sparkle and joy and love that is the true spirit of the holidays; so why not extend that holiday magic all year long.

Why not indeed? 

I loved the sense of personal style and aesthetic expression.

(When I began using glittery lights in the garden long before it became more widely embraced; Bill would often wryly remark that I was making our place look a little like Tavern on the Green. I said, “Tout alors!”)

But honestly, it wasn’t till last month that I got the full story about Dina’s Holiday trees.  

I was rather astonished to learn that Dina had expanded her Christmas Tree Collection. 

She features five tree beauties. 

I was keen to learn how and why.  This is one grand, magical Christomas story that had to be told! 

The Ultimate Tree is the Traditional Christmas Tree

This richly decorated traditional homage is the main Christmas tree that she positions in their family room. 

It has ornaments dating back to her parent’s tree, mementos celebrating the birth of her two sons, hand made ornaments from the boys when they were children and much, much more. 

Dina noted, “When we got the bigger tree, it still wasn’t big enough for all of the ornaments. So I had the idea to make specific trees for the things that I cherished.”

They say necessity is the mother of invention. 

Or in this case, it’s probably more appropriate to think of her burgeoning holiday tree collection as her creativity being able to transcend traditional ways of thinking.  

At the heart of Dina’s desire to showcase her cherished things is, I believe, her unconditional reservoir of love. See, Dina is like a big hug.

So in this context, it’s not so surprising that she created a Friends Tree. 

This is the tree that remains up and decorated all year in the family room. 

The day after Thanksgiving, it’s moved into the formal living room. 

The official Christmas tree takes its place in the family room. 

Tree Two is the Friends Tree

Dina explained the background to this now, much-loved Friends Tree:

“There’s an episode of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ that centers around a suitcase left at the foot of a staircase after a vacation. 

Raymond and Debra constantly pass the suitcase waiting for the other one to bring it upstairs. This is the genesis of the Friends Tree.”

She continued: “In 2013, Frank looked at the Christmas tree that we had for years and said it was time for a bigger tree. I protested. The current tree was just fine; it held so many memories. So the naked tree sat in our family room. 

When it snowed, I lit the bare tree. When the boys would come in from shoveling snow, they put their wet gloves on the tree. 

Winter turned to spring and the tree remained. 

Easter was upon us and I dressed the tree with bunnies and eggs. July fourth found the tree in red, white and blue ornaments. The boys, all of their friends and our friends would get such a kick out of the silly tree.”

There’s a lot of joy to be found in a kind of “silly” abandon, no?! But wait, there’s more to the story: 

Dina recalled, “Summer was coming to an end and our younger son Dean was headed off to college. Since our house was always ‘the house,’ my very dear friend, Christine, knew I would be suffering from complete withdrawal from the chaos of having a house full of boys all the time. She had a brilliant idea. Christine knew that every Sunday morning, Frank and I headed to the boardwalk for our three-mile walk. She asked him to leave the back door open. When we returned from the walk, Christine had covered the tree with photos of the boys, their friends, our friends and family too. Naturally, it brought me to tears.” 

The official Friends Tree was born! 

As the years passed, the tree too evolved. New pictures from new adventures are added. 

       

Dina noted how fiancés became “tree worthy!” Pictures of the next generation are now nestled in the branches. 

And as I cheered in my last Post with the teaser, Bill and I made the cut as “tree worthy” too!  

       

The Friends Tree is decorated for most holidays and special events: Summer, Fall, Christmas, 

Valentines Day:

  

Easter:

I can’t help but be totally on board with the gifts under the tree at all these different holidays! (wink)

 

Recently, after both of her sons graduated from law school, it became “their” tree. 

It has become a bonanza of memories to showcase, including baby pictures, graduation tassels, and school colors.   

 

“The Friends Tree is a show stopper,” said Dina. She noted that new pictures are continually added. “Friends and family love to see it change with the seasons.”

I bet. What a sense of inclusion and affirmation. And Love.

The tree keeps evolving with time and the journey that life takes us on,” said Dina.

Tree Three is the Crystal Tree

Dina explained the history of the crystal tree: “When we were first married, my dad’s best friend gave us an Orrefors ornament. He and his wife continued to do so every year.”

Alas, all good things come to an end. 

Dina said that when the couple divorced, the special ornaments were no longer given. 

Hey, hold on, they didn’t have to break up with Dina and Frank just because they were calling it quits! Bah, Humbug. Ha! 

Nevertheless, the Orrefors tradition lasted longer than the marriage because Dina’s husband ~ the wonderful Frank I lauded, took up the baton.   

Hooray for Crystal Continuance!  

The Crystal Tree still gets its new ornament every year. 

Dina noted with pride, “There are 35 Orrefors ornaments on the tree. It’s simply beautiful.”  

The Number Four tree is all Disney

            

As long as I’ve known Dina she has adored all things Disney. I remember a few of the rooms in their first, post wedding condo, decorated with some of our favorite mice and storybook characters 🙂 

She says that friends and family often bring back an ornament when they return from visiting the Magic Kingdom. More memories to add to this dreamy, themed-tree.

As Walt Disney said: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.”

“Dream. Believe. Do” was Disney’s motto.  I think Dina has taken it to heart with great style…

 

And Tree Number Five is all NY Yankees

Sliding into home is the fifth and final holiday star: a New York Yankees tree, adorned with pinstripes, sluggers, baseballs, and ornaments that replicate the stadium ~ the House that Ruth built is perched on a tree branch!

Speaking of that, I’ll always remember the show-stopping, fantasy cake Dina had featured at a milestone birthday ~ it was an exact replica of Yankee Stadium! Down to the pennants. 

There is no bigger Yankee fan than Dina. Except for maybe my cousin Terri 🙂 

Dina has long adored the Hall of Famers; every legend, and World Series.  

Here, this is her homage to the Boys of Summer!

This could be my favorite. But don’t hold me to it…

Come the day after New Year’s, the trees come down. 

The Friend’s Tree is the exception. She waits a few weeks and then decorates it for Valentine’s Day when they come back from their island winter holiday, mid January

All the trees are faux; different sizes and styles. 

You can’t help but admire the creative effort. In addition to all the ornaments, look at the lighting, the ribbons, and the tree skirts.  Wowsy. 

I had to ask about the effort that must go into creating her magical tree showcase. 

Does she do all the work? 

Accordingly, she explained,“The Christmas tree is a family affair. I make sure both boys and Frank are home. We won’t decorate it until all of us are there.”  

She does possess quite a fraternity ~ all men. All attorneys! 

But isn’t it just so lovely that their tree decorating tradition continues ~ court cases and the DA be damned. (smile.) 

Dina takes care of decorating all her themed trees, solo. It looks like it’s a labor of love, doesn’t it?  

She is super organized; no surprise there. That’s a required element of managing this holiday decorating project. Or any project, for that matter. 

     

She does admit that it is a lot of work. To which I reply that all good things take work.  A former boss of mine recently told me that this was one of his favorite Leeann-isms  ~ “That’s why they call it work!”  

Seriously, this time of year Dina is also baking up some family traditions, including that delicious family struffoli she learned from her Nonni.  Mmmm. They are a most delicious honey ball Neapolitan dish. I love them.

(Maybe DIna will share her recipe.)

She also bakes nine different Christmas cookies!  I’m fainting away just thinking of all that rolling and cookie cutting.  

And that’s on top of the toy drive she organizes for the developmentally disadvantaged children at a local hospital.  What a wonderful role model Dina is for her family and community.  I’m so proud to be a friend… 

We all know that Christmas is all about the giving. And Dina embodies that true spirit of the holidays.  See above where I noted her unconditional love? I think that’s what helps fuel her creative, generous, theatrical ways to honor and celebrate Christmas.

When I asked her what her Mother thought of her Christmas extravaganzas, she replied with trademark humor: “What does my mother say?…She thinks I’m crazy! Most of the traditions are from my dad’s side of the family. He loved Christmas like no one I’ve ever known. I’m sure, deep down, that’s why I do what I do.”

This brought tears to my eyes.  What a remarkable, loving way to celebrate the legacy that is her dear, departed father… While making memories for her family and friends to pass on… 

Yes, it’s true that we can all feel a bit overwhelmed at this time of year. 

Yet, we choose those traditions and projects that bring us and our friends and family joy. We share our love. 

This is the true meaning of Christmas. 

I think you’ll agree that Dina inspires us with her holiday decorating. 

      

I wanted to share her unique holiday tree decor, knowing it will spark some decorating ideas and perhaps launch new traditions for you.  

And to bolster our commitment to preserving long-held, treasured traditions and not allow them to fade.  In the end, it’s worth all the dreaming and hard work… 

Thank you for sharing with us, Dina.  You are a beautiful Christmas “elf.”  Or goddess.  

Peace on earth and good will to all. 

Dina knows how to wrap a gift!


2 Comments

  • Garden Glamour

    Thank you for your great feedback. So glad you enjoyed this story. Dina & family are the world's best. Just see how popular that Friends Tree is!! Merry Christmas.

  • Anonymous

    Great story, Great family, Great friends

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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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