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. Kate says

    Did you add the curtain sheers recently? I really like them. It’s nice to see a night time photo of this room because the light during the day make it impossible to appreciate the curtains.

  2. heyruthie says

    I’m in VA, and at my local Home Depot and Trader Joe’s they have “tabletop trees” made from potted rosemary topiary bushes–and they are about the size of yours. (actually, they came in several different sizes to choose from.) Since Rosemary does great here in Virginia, (I’m in Fairfax) I’m really hoping to get one. After the holidays, you can plant it in your herb cutting garden. They look really great all potted up with ornaments on them too.

  3. says

    p.s. we didn’t hang any ornaments from the bottom branches because i thought it would be weird, but yours seem to look normal :) did you debate about that or just throw em on there?

  4. LauraC says

    Wow, you’re lucky Clara’s not a climber. I guess our Sophia wasn’t either, but Jonathan, who’s only 5 weeks older than Clara, is into everything! There’s nothing in the kitchen he can’t reach, he just pulls up a chair to get whatever he wants. And our dining room table (pub height)? No prob, Mommy! We’re getting our tree next Monday, so we’ll see how he does. Should be interesting!

  5. says

    I adore real trees (the smell alone makes the whole thing worthwhile), but sometime finances don’t allow so we’re rocking the fake thing this year (borrowed from my mom – she loves ornaments and has many trees). I set up a couple other fake mini trees (the smallest one on the dining room table (as the Jesse Tree) and then I have another one that’s a few feet tall that I was able to put on a ledge in our front window that’s reserved for the sewing themed ornaments. I would have put it in the sewing room, but I haven’t been in there much lately and I’d rather have it out where I’ll get to enjoy it. So far my 2 year old has only tried to mess with it once. lol.

  6. Jyl says


    I don’t know why, but seeing a little tree in your house makes me so happy! And I love the little King Kong at the top, you lovable nerds, you! And “Agiggator” Precious.

    I also love you little video of you and John popping out from behind the tree when your were preggo with Clara. You two are such happy loving people. It warms the heart. Or maybe I’m just emotional because I’m 10 weeks preggo with my own little bean. Either way- I’ll take it!

    Merry Christmas, Petersiks!

  7. Eva says

    Your tree looks really cute!

    You need to use your faux tree for twenty years for it to be more eco friendly than getting a locally sourced cut tree every year.
    I usually prefer all natural over faux (flowers, shoes, handbags… everything) so I am getting a locally cut tree from a well managed forest… but secretly I really want the old ugly little tree my family had when I was growing up, it had some sort of dark green plastic strips as needles and under that it was made of wire, and that was pretty obvious too. My dad threw it away when I was 11, I think and got a real tree… but I wish we still had it in storage… I

  8. Hilary says

    i read an article that says if you use your faux tree for 20 years or more it becomes eco friendly. looks like you’re on the right track!

  9. says

    We went with a fake tree this year in hopes that our furry kiddos would be lest apt to climb/eat/maul it. So far… hasn’t made any difference. We still find kitty in the top and puppy munching on the lower branches. Oh well. We still have a few ornaments left to hang, but will hopefully have some pics up on LHBH soon!

  10. Margaret says

    I love how that pashmina tree skirt reminds me of Linus’ security blanket contribution to the Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree!

    “…and that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” :)

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