I have been Christmas tree decorating ever since I can remember; both artificial and freshly cut from the woods. I started out as a newlywed with a crisp fresh balsam; needless to say it was our first and last that year. Let me explain…I never grew up with a fresh tree. We always had an artificial tree decked with homemade ornaments from school, shiny glittery glass bulbs and of course we cannot forget the (now dated) lead-filled silver tinsel dripping on the branches! The lights were big glass colored bulbs that looked like the outdoor kind you see now. Am I aging myself? Don’t get me wrong….I loved that tree and over the years it turned into the infamous Charlie Brown tree. My family kept that tree for decades and is one of my fondest memories of Christmas. After acquiring my own home, I was bound and determined to put a fresh out of the woods, dripping with sap, evergreen beauty in the perfect spot. After all, I was all about anything “natural”; kind of like when I told myself I would never buy tacky blinky, blinky toys for the twins when they were born. Only Melissa & Doug for these babies; wood blocks and puzzles all the way! (Parents, you know what I mean right?) Well, we know how that went. After a week of chasing after twin toddlers and a mama who was sleep deprived and ready to lose her “natural” mind, I got every plastic blinky, blinky lit up contraption I could find to entertain double trouble. Let’s just say I should have bought stock in Little Tikes. I digress…back to the tree. To make a long story short, after we hiked through the woods fresh with wonder and amazement, (of course after picking out the perfectly proportioned triangular beauty), everything went downhill when we returned home. Let’s just say there was one large dog that almost lost his life,( and consequently wouldn’t walk by a tree in any house the rest of his beloved life), a red-faced dripping in sweat husband shouting unmentionables, a flood in our living room, and shards of broken glass (yes I had to buy the”real”glass ornaments similar to the ones from my childhood) strewn all over my newlywed home. So, now it is artificial all the way (in the tree department of course;). However, in the past few years, the boys have taken to adorning our out of the box pre-lit (in 3 minutes thankyouverymuch) tree themselves. I get the itch to”tweak” some ornaments, but I absolutely will not. The pride the boys have all over their precious faces after it is completed, is priceless. It is “our” tree and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I quite enjoy perusing Pinterest and blogs and ooh and aah at the simplicity of some of the”natural” trees and think for a hot second “maybe I will do the minimalist look this year?” But no. For now, I will take our “imperfect” loaded with too many non-matching, somewhat tacky ornaments (except the school projects;) tree any day. Don’t fret; this decorating mama always adds her own touch…how could I not? I know these moments are fleeting. Too soon when the boys are out of my home, sent with a box of their childhood ornaments I can do whatever “look” on the tree that suits my fancy. You never know, maybe one day I will venture into the woods, fresh with wonder and amazement one more time, and give the old “natural” fresh balsam a try. But of course I will have to get the blinky, blinky lights to go with it!Artificial trees have come a long way and now they even come pre-lit which makes my hubs a very happy man! Now, with a family of 4 (5 if you include our “human” fur guy) I have always decorated the tree for the family with minimal help. They always lost interest after the first few ornaments went up and headed straight for the hot chocolate. Therefore, I was left decking our tree the way I saw fit. Our tree has never had a color theme or visually balanced for that matter. It is imperfect and full of memories and l adore it! Every single ornament on our tree has love and meaning and is from our many travels or one of the boys’ school projects. I wouldn’t want it any other way.