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Christmas: Decorating our Real Christmas Tree

AD/Gifted. Growing up in the 80’s we always had a plastic tree. Every December it was dug out of the loft and decorated with a ramshackle selection of gaudy decorations and things we’d made at school. It was a tree heaving with sentimentality and we loved it.

Christmas: Decorating our Real Christmas Tree

When I eventually moved out of home, it was time for me to create some traditions of my own. Top of my list was to ditch the chintzy plastic tree and start buying a real Christmas tree every year; something we have stuck to. There’s something really nice about a real Christmas tree; from the gentle pine scent which fills the room, to the lovely prickly joy of decorating it. The real Christmas tree might have been something beloved of the Victorians; but it also looks very lovely in my 1940’s semi in South Manchester.

This year, like last year (and channeling Margo Leadbetter) I had my real Christmas tree delivered to me from The Christmas Forest. Based in London, they deliver top quality Christmas trees all over the UK. This saves me the faff of buying a tree locally and struggling to get it home, as a non-driver this is a real issue for me.

I ordered my 6ft real Christmas tree a few weeks ago and booked it to arrive on Friday; which it did do, bright and early; the driver even brought it in for me. Over the weekend we put it up, filled the base with water, dug our decorations out of the loft and set to work decorating it; something the boy is especially excited about doing these days.

As when I was a child, the tree isn’t covered in stylish and carefully co-ordinated trinkets; but mostly a selection of things we’ve made, or shiny things we have bought to remember the places we have been. I’ve picked out some of our favourite decorations from our tree, things that we’ve made and things that we love.

Christmas: Decorating our Real Christmas Tree

There are button decorations, hand painted baubles, a Tunnocks teacake bauble I made a few years ago, angels my son decorated at school, lolly stick decorations and easy paper baubles. I hope these will be on our tree every year and more will join them. I’ve always been a sucker for sentimentality, and our tree reflects who we are; homely, warm, with more of a taste of tradition than what’s hot and what’s not each Christmas.

If like me, you want to take some of the stress out of Christmas; getting a real Christmas Tree delivered is a real time saver and a godsend. It’s been such a help to have it delivered and it’s one very big thing off my festive to do list.

For more information about The Christmas Forest, or to order your Christmas Tree from them, visit Christmas Forest.

Disclaimer: We were sent our Christmas Tree for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Our Real Christmas Tree from Christmas Forest

December is upon us, but regardless of whether you’re a put a tree up at the start of the month, or a leave it until the last minute tree putter-upper; if you’re going for a real Christmas tree, then at some point you’ll have to find one and buy one.

For us, December is always incredibly busy. It’s harder than you’d think for us to find a couple of hours where we are all free to be able to go and buy a tree together. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to go and choose a tree; but the real magic is always in decorating the tree and seeing it all lit up.

Our Real Christmas Tree from Christmas Forest

This year we’ve dispensed with the stress and had our tree delivered instead. Our Scottish grown tree has come from The Christmas Forest which has 10 pop-up Christmas stores in London where families can go and pick their own tree in London, or they can deliver it nationwide.  

Our tree is a 6ft Nordmann Fir, which is non-drop and exactly the kind of tree we normally go for. They have trees in all sizes up to 8ft  (12ft on request) with a range of different pine trees to choose from. I was a little worried that we might get a tree which wasn’t the perfect Christmas Tree shape we all dream of, but I had no need to worry. The trees are trimmed into shape as they grow and ours was just perfect.

You can choose optional extras, like a Christmas Tree stand, lights and wreaths too. We went for a new Christmas Tree stand, this holds water and helps keep your tree fresh.

Our Real Christmas Tree from Christmas Forest

Our tree arrived bright and early on the day we’d chosen for delivery. It was well wrapped in netting and plastic with a stick attached to the top to stop the top part from getting damaged in transit. All we had to do was cut a bit off the bottom, pop it in the stand and decorate it.

They also offer a tree collection service at the end of the season, with recycling option in London area. The Christmas Forest support the charity Tree Aid, who plant one tree in Africa for every one they sell. Through Tree Aid they have planted over 230,000 trees in the drylands of Africa.

Our Christmas Tree decorations are mostly a selection of things we’ve bought and made over the years; babies first Christmas; things I’ve made with Ben; precious baubles from my own childhood Christmas Tree and things we’ve been given by special people. It’s never a stylish tree, but it’s always one full of happy memories and love, which to us is just right.

Our Real Christmas Tree from Christmas Forest

If you want to take some of the stress out of Christmas, getting a real Christmas Tree delivered is a real godsend. It’s been such a help to have it delivered and it’s one very big thing off my festive to do list.

For more information about The Christmas Forest, or to order your Christmas Tree from them, visit their website.

Disclaimer: We were sent our Christmas Tree for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Voluspa Maison Candle

As autumn turns into winter I like to fill my house with festive smells. Cinnamon and spruce are my go to scents at this time of the year. I think scented candles, especially in the run up to Christmas are a simple way of creating a cosy and festive atmosphere in the home. We were sent the Voluspa Maison Candle scented with spruce cuttings to put to the test, but what did we think?

Voluspa Maison Candle

The two wick Voluspa Maison candle comes in a beautifully decorated tin, so you can take it wherever you go.  The “Spruce Cuttings” candle is made from royal Colorado blue spruce cuttings, so when you light this candle the room is filled with an authentic spruce fragrance. The tin is also useful for keeping your candle dust free. I always find you can never adequately dust your candles, so a candle with a lid or cover is always welcome.

All Voluspa scented candles are made with without phthalates, parabens and sulfates. This lovely two wick scented candle is made from 11oz of coconut wax and has a burn time of around 50 hours.

Voluspa Maison Candle

The “Spruce Cuttings” Voluspa Maison Candle would be a lovely candle to have in the same room as your Christmas tree, enhancing its natural tree fragrance. The candle has a good throw – meaning that it fills the room fairly quickly with fragrance. I’ve had it lit downstairs this morning and I can still smell it upstairs. A good throw is generally an indicator of a good quality candle.

Voluspa Maison Candle

The Voluspa Maison Candle costs £20 which compared to other high end candles of this quality is good value. It’s made with high quality ingredients and the tin looks lovely and is the kind of thing I’d keep and keep bits and bobs in afterwards.

The Maison “Holiday” range includes several different festive fragrances including Cinnamon Ceylon and Copal and Visions of Sugar Plum, as well as a selection of different candle types including gift sets.

Voluspa candles are available on their website and from a range of retailers including House of Fraser.

How we made some Christmas Magic

Growing up my parents didn’t have much money, but my Dad had about as much imagination as it was possible to have. In many ways he was a great Dad, he made us laugh ridiculously hard on a daily basis. At Christmas time he sprinkled his special brand of magic around the house.

In scenes unheard of these days, our house did not have a single decoration up until Christmas Eve. My brother and I would toddle off to bed, leaving the house as it always was, save for a few Christmas cards dotted around the lounge.

Christmas morning would come, we’d tumble out of bed to find stockings hanging on our doors. We’d either sit together conspiratorially in one of our bedrooms and open our stockings together, or open them separately, then compare notes.

But under no circumstances were we allowed downstairs. If one of us did creep down for a look, there was nothing to see. Father Christmas had used his magic rope to tie the lounge and dining room doors shut and only my Dad was able to open it. If we gained entry without our parents, we were sternly warned that all the presents would disappear. No one wanted that!

Once my parents were awake (or awoken at some hellish hour) we were allowed into the lounge. The door would swing open and we’d burst in all excited. Father Christmas had put the tree up and all the decorations while we were in bed. Not only that but under the tree were presents for everyone. It was a Christmas miracle!

What I now know and realise is, it wasn’t Christmas magic, it was my Mum and Dad working their arses off from 8pm decorating the house, wrapping the presents and starting to prep the Christmas dinner. No wonder they looked extra awful come Christmas morning and no wonder when after only having 2 or 3 hours sleep they were less than overjoyed at having two excited children bouncing on them until they got up.

They were legends, their Christmas Eve efforts made everything much, much more magical and realistic for us. So I was determined to inject some magic and mystery into our family Christmases.

I’d love to do what my parents did, but that’s an incredible amount of hard work very late in the day. Plus a lot of people think you are stark raving mad if you’ve not fully decorated your house by the 1st December these days. So we’ve struck a balance.

On Saturday we went to Wythenshawe Community Farm and bought our tree, a very handsome 7 footer. We propped the tree up in a cool corner in the kitchen with a promise to decorate it tomorrow.

That night he had an early night, so we sprung into action. The Christmas tree was put into position, decked with lights, baubles and treasured decorations. The mantlepiece was decorated and our stockings hung up, lights and garlands were strung everywhere.

We were exhausted, but the house looked lovely. Our last act was laying out some decorations and a note from Elfie our Elf on the shelf saying she’d not had chance to finish decorating the tree and could the small boy put the last few decorations on.

Morning came, he woke us up and we all went downstairs (hubs sneaking down first to put all the lights on). The small boy walked in and was stuck dumb with wonder. He jumped up and down and said “the tree, the tree!” And then inspected everything with a look of pure joy on his face. After a few minutes he said “is it Christmas time now?” And my heart melted.

Christmas magic

THAT is what Christmas is all about. We found true Christmas magic on Sunday morning. He’s utterly delighted that Elfie decorated the tree and we love that we’ve created some actual, real magic for him.

Christmas isn’t about presents, giving and receiving, or vast turkeys wedged in the oven. It’s about magic and love. It’s a beautiful thing to believe in magic, because it does happen, even if it’s manufactured by exhausted parents. Merry Christmas x