Decorating Our Tabletop Tree With Handmade Ornaments

As I mentioned earlier this week, we got a real mini tree! And I finally got some twinkle lights up and some ornaments on that guy. I say this with much enthusiasm and hardly any hyperbole: it’s a life changer. I’m in love.

And Clara and Burger love it too (play Where’s Waldo in the dark and find them):

It’s so charming and warm and it looks so sweet with all of the handmade Pinterest challenge ornaments that I made here.

These are the only breakable ornaments that we’ll be putting out this year (since the tree is up on a table, so Clara can’t get to it). And it glitters like the dickens. So yes, it’s my new favorite thing ever. Oh and it was $19 at a local grocery store here in Richmond called Martin’s (outside near the curb) for anyone wondering. And it came with a stand, which is nice.

We even have some King Kong action going on thanks to this gorilla ornament at the top:

As for the tree skirt, that’s actually just a gray pashmina that I had already (I just swirled it around the base a few times to create a little skirt), so other than shelling out the money for the tree, we got to use all of the ornaments that I had already made (which factored out to around 71 cents a pop – more on those here) and even tossed together a free tree skirt.

We actually would have loved to find a potted evergreen that we could have planted in the backyard after the season, but after a few weeks of looking for an un-cut one that was small enough to sit on the table, we had no luck (most of them were 5+ feet tall). So we caved and got a cut one since it was already well into December and we didn’t want to miss the real-tree boat entirely. But if anyone knows of a local source for uncut table-sized evergreens we’d love to hear about it (we tried Lowe’s Home Depot, a few tree lots around town, and a few nurseries/plant stores – but all of the uncut ones were too tall/large to be tabletop ones).

But we were so excited to bring some shortie tree goodness into the living room (this guy easily fit into our car, which was a Christmas present in and of itself). The smell is amazing, and of course it looks… well… real. And sweet. And pretty. Ok, enough gushing. But because I’m a nut, I even made a quick video of the mini tree goodness that we have going on. Pictures are nice, but video almost makes you feel like you’re right there in front of something. So allow me to invite you into our living room for an up-close, in-motion peek:

You know me + shiny things = a match made in heaven. And Clara might just be having the most fun with the tree out of all of us. At least five times a day she runs over to it and points to various animals and gleefully shouts out things like “Rhino!!!” and “Hippo!!!” and “Aggigator!” like it’s the most exciting thing she’s seen all day. Never gets old. Man I love the holidays.

Believe it or not, John and I have never had a real tree in our house as a family (although both of us enjoyed them growing up). We went faux five-ish years ago (thanks to an after-Christmas sale at Target) and appreciated that we only had to haul it home once (having a small car, the notion of dragging home a big real tree each year was a little daunting). And with a pooch we appreciated the no-dropped-needles thing. It can’t be argued that a faux tree looks better than a real one, but somehow when we loaded it with lights and ornaments we still loved our faker year after year.

Here she is back in 2007 (when we had a terrible camera and our blog photos were smaller):

And in 2008 (with the same white and silver scheme):

And in 2009 (when we went crazy for citrus, and even dried fruit to make ornaments):

And in 2010 (with green, pink, and silver shimma goin’ on):

And since experts continue to debate whether a faux tree or a real tree is more eco-friendly (apparently it’s a really close call when it comes to hauling emissions and cutting them down every year vs. reusing a faux one for a while) we knew the most eco thing that we could do after purchasing a faux tree was to use it as long as possible. So we’ll still be setting up our full sized faker in the dining room to enjoy with some Clara-safe ornaments (bonus: everyone driving by will see it glowing in the window). Better get on that though. Eeks, is it really the eighth already? Better get crackin’.

Have you guys been decorating? Any other tabletop tree folks out there? I can’t believe it has taken us this long to give one a try.

Psst- Check out who’s looking more and more like a leftie (here). I guess time will tell!


  1. says

    FYI on the paint-swirled glass bulb ornaments: my kiddo knocked my box of those down the stairs this morning and one busted open. The paint is still wet in there, even though I left them open to drain/dry for several days. This means paint and paint-smeared glass got all over the place. Other than that, I am loving every bit of this Holiday prep.

  2. says

    Cute tree! We always cut down our tree, but it gets dragged out for the birds and squirrels(there’s usually some popcorn and cranberry garland still on it,)then becomes mulch and compost each year. I also keep a rosemary tree in my kitchen at Christmastime that I decorate with cookie cutters.

    Love how your pinterest challenge ornaments look on your tabletop tree! Thanks for sharing.

  3. says

    We’ve done the tabletop before when our oldest was just over a year old. We haven’t done much decorating this year other than having our 7 1/2′ tree up because we are about to move from Florida to Indiana (our home state) within the next couple of weeks, YIKES!

  4. Tracey says

    1st: Love the videos… if only decorating could go that fast! LOL. 2nd: Love the music you guys always select in the background! The sitar/instrumental Jingle Bells song was awesome! 3rd: ROFLOL at watching Clara at lightning speed on John’s lap. She looks so animated and cute at warp speed! And I love how she keeps trying to eat every single ornament! Too funny! I put up four faux trees this year (usually five) during Thanksgiving. Being a stay-at-home mom rocks. I’m on top of everything for the first time ever! It’s making this Christmas so much more relaxed and enjoyable! The only stressful thing was our 16 month old trying to eat the lights off the tree. Yikes! We instituted a “Look, but don’t touch! It’s pretty, but we don’t touch it” rule! ;)

  5. says

    I seriously start squealing every time Christmas comes close. Same with my birthday.
    I’ve now decided that King Kong is the answer to my tree topper search. I tend to hate them all, but if I could find an awesome gorilla ornament and put it up top every every year, holy muffin top, AMAZING!

  6. says

    Very cute! Many props for accomplishing some decorating (which I have yet to do, even though it is constantly on my mind). We waffle between real and fake trees. We have a 7 foot tall fake one, which was great when we lived in a downtown loft. The real tabletop ones have made an appearance in our house too. Although, last year they were really expensive, so we put together half of our 7 foot tree (needed to see how the cat would respond to it), which worked out so great.

    • says

      Yes! This year is a first!!!! More details as soon as we have a moment to snap pictures (it was raining like crazy last night when we wanted to take those).


  7. Lindsey d. says

    FOUR trees up in my house, scattered throughout three rooms — one is a full sized WHITE faux tree that I love more and more each year, one is a 3-foot green faux tree decorated in my alma mater’s colors and ornaments (Geaux LSU Tigers!), and then two two-foot tinsel-y trees with small ornaments on table tops. (Like this random Google Image search result –

    I plan to grab a couple more of the tinsel-type trees after the holidays to create a pseudo-mantle next year (no real fireplace, but I do have a piano).

  8. Heather says

    Too cute! Living in a small studio apartment, my boyfriend and I opted for a small (faux) white tabletop tree for our first Christmas living together! It’s really cute and came pre-lit for a whopping $10 at Wal-mart. We debated on trying a small real tree but also weighed the pros and cons of living with 2 four-legged family members. (Talbot our 9 month old Maine Coon cat and Tyco our 4yr old Pomeranian/Sheltie) So obviously the small faker won. It sits so pretty on our breakfast bar. (Away and out of reach from all animals) with it’s pink and purple ornaments and tree topper. (Yes, my sweet boyfriend was perfectly okay with a girly tree…with wrapping paper and bows to match)Yours looks so warm and cozy with the home made ornaments, I think I’ll give it a try next year!

  9. Katie Kerr says

    Is it me or is the rug different in the family room? Did you change that in a past post and I missed it somewhere?

    • Heather says

      I was wondering about the addition to the drapes…did you always have the white? Or was that added due to sunshine in the afternoon? Did you put up a second pole for them to hang from? BTW: LOVE LOVE LOVE the new rug…like…LOOOOOVE.

    • says

      They’re all on the same rod, and really not for function- just for fun (they were super cheap sheers at Ikea, and I love a breezy layered look so I couldn’t resist).


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