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I know it’s too early to put up a Christmas tree, and yet ours has been up for over a week now. We have such a busy season around Christmas that we need to get going early, or our family celebration gets crowded out. It also takes us longer to get to feeling Christmassy here, since the weather doesn’t cooperate. Besides, we have to use an artificial tree – which goes against my preferences – and to my mind the one and only benefit of a fake tree is that it doesn’t dry out. I figure, if I have to use a fake tree anyway, I might as well take advantage of the one and only benefit and keep the tree up for a loooooong season.

With older kids in the house, more care is put into the final look of the tree. I remember when they were all little – I would let the kids decorate the tree without interference from me, then later, when they were in bed, I’d move the ornaments upward so that the whole tree was decorated, and not just the bottom three feet! LOL.

This year Rachel wanted to decorate the tree with mostly natural and homemade items, and her enthusiasm pulled most of the rest of the family into her plan. We found instructions for making these stars from twigs, on the Chickens in the Road blog, and pretty soon our kitchen table became a star making factory. The other homemade ornaments used on that site wouldn’t work for us, however. We can’t get away with decorating with actual food in the insect-and-rodent-filled tropics. I shudder to think what would transpire after a few weeks of having strings of popcorn, dried fruits and cookies hanging on our tree! Yikes!

Here’s our version of the twig star – Rachel tied the twigs, instead of using glue.

After putting up the lights and a tasteful quantity of burgundy, green, and frosty-white glass balls (tasteful as determined by Rachel) we added the twig stars and lots of small pine cones we’d collected in our woods.

At this point the tree was too dark, as neither the twig stars nor the pine cones showed up well against the dark branches. We had, in our ornament collection, some light-colored stars woven from natural grasses, that I bought a few years ago in Santa Barbara Honduras, where crafters specialize in creating tiny items woven from straw and grasses. The grass stars helped brighten up the tree, and we also added some tiny baskets I bought years ago, just because I like baskets and I think these are cute. On top of everything else we draped icicles: we are an icicle-loving family. The tree just doesn’t seem finished without them.

Our country-style rag doll angel, part of our Christmas celebration for many years, looks right at home sitting atop this tree!

And here is the almost final result (we’ll be hanging up red and white candy canes once we get some):

Perhaps I can be the first person to wish you a “Merry Christmas” this year!