A Kid-Safe Christmas Tree With Paint Chips & Ribbons

That she blows! Or maybe I should I say “thar she glows!” Either way, we got ‘er up.

And this year the theme was:

    1. free stuff we already had (no getting in the car to go fetch anything, since we feared that would cost us another week to get things up)
    2. nothing pointy/hard/breakable (for bean safety reasons)
    3. color, color, color (just like our tabletop tree in the living room)

So yes, we gave our full-sized tree a whole new look (see what it looked like in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 here) using stuff that we already had in the house, like a bunch of leftover paint chips from my bin.

Yes, I save old paint chips to reuse them for things like this art project

… and this temporary postcard ledge arrangement (from our first house’s office)…

… and this year’s tree project:

First I cut them into strips (so I got 2-3 ornaments out of each leftover Benjamin Moore paint chip) and then used a hole puncher to make a hole…

  … which I then used to loop twine and string from my craft bin to hang them. I love that they’re like modern little colorful icicles that cover the tree. And of course the fact that they were all f-r-e-e didn’t hurt either.

The other main element of decoration on the tree is a few spools of ribbon from the gift wrapping closet (snagged on clearance from Michael’s last Christmas). We just unrolled them, found the center point and folded it over the top of the tree, so the same amount of ribbon dangled down each side of the tree in an upside-down V shape. Oh and the “tree skirt” is just three faux sheep skins from Ikea (they’re sort of a holiday tradition at this point).

I even had some leftover ribbon to make a little bow at the top. Aw, shucks. Our tree is definitely a gal this year.

Oh and you’ll probably notice two things from this picture…

  1. We had yet to “catch up” with our advent calendar when we took these pics (the second we got the tree up we excitedly snapped these photos) – but Clara and I have since hung 12 advent ornaments on the tree – so we’re back to one a day from here on out.
  2. We did some quick mantel decorating in the kitchen, let’s take a closer look:

I added some old feather trees on the floor (from Target, a few years back) along with two ceramic birds up on the mantel (like two white Christmas doves) from an estate sale a few years ago. I also added in the little thrift store rocking horse that I painted for Clara (more on that here). And of course I hung our stockings from Target a few years ago (backwards this year – just to spice it up)…

It might look like those three stockings mean that Burger didn’t get one… but of course he did! John and I actually share one (labeled “Mom and Dad”) and then there’s Clara’s stocking and Burger’s stocking:

I also stuck a basket full of gifts in the fireplace (actually they’re fakers, see how I made those here).

One of the most fun things about the new doorway between the kitchen and the dining room is that we can enjoy the tree from the kitchen too. See it peeking around the corner of the opening?

Never would have gotten to enjoy that view if the wall didn’t come down a little while ago. Yay, demo!

It’s so nice to see something festive in the dining room (the big tree), the kitchen (the holiday mantel), and the living room (our tabletop tree). Aw, Christmastime, how do I love thee. Let me count the trees, er, ways.

So that’s the inside of the house all decorated for ya. Well most of it (I still have a holiday frame gallery project to shoot and share with you guys). Oh yeah, and for the first time ever we decorated the outside of our house too! We’re talking lights and stars and even a homemade wreath and some bright red ceramic-looking reindeer. That’s right, we went all out. Pics to come as soon as we can snap them and write something up!

Psst- We’ll be back with a kitchen update tomorrow for ya! Lots of the stuff that we’re working on is extremely detail oriented (ex: cutting down an old cabinet to make a smaller one that “matches” the rest of the kitchen and houses a built-in microwave), but we’re moving just as fast as we can!


  1. says

    Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things too. And then wrapping gifts with fancy ribbon like you used on your tree – makes me feel like a gift-giving queen – that’s up there too.

  2. says

    It looks great! We just got our tree decorated last night only to discover this morning that it had tipped over during the night and many ornaments were broken. So, this afternoon, my kiddos and I will be making some ornaments (I’m not going to buy any more this year) to fill in all of the holes. So, thanks for some ideas for freebie decor, I certainly need it now.

    (we usually tie our tree up, but we were trying to get some last minute details done on our living room renovation, so we were waiting to tie it up tonight after some paint dried. *grumble grumble*)

    • Ann L says

      Same thing happened to us this year, it must be a bad year for Christmas trees! Imagine our surprise coming down the other morning to a 8+ foot tall Blue Spruce sitting in the middle of our living room. Eeeek! Luckily, we “only” had about 12 ornaments broken, so on the bright side—I get to buy some new ornaments this year to make up for the broken ones. Good luck with your tree!

  3. Lindsay L says

    Soooo beautiful $herdog! I especially love the mantel because ours is so similar and I haven’t decorated it yet. We even have the same basket for fake gifts, similar little trees and white birds! It’s like you know us?? Or our neighbors sent a letter in, like on what not to wear except a home version…called who the *@#! lives there?!…that would be our boring house :) Ok, done rambling, just giddy about the holidays I think! I have never gotten christmas crazy excited until this year because it’s our baby girl’s first Christmas so it’s all so fun and special now, ya know?! I’m just living vicariously through her fascinstion with all things bright, glittery and shiny.

  4. says

    Your tree looks really cute – very creative. We don’t have any Christmas decorations up right now because we’re moving into our first house on the 17 th ( almost around the same time you guys moved last year). But as soon as we’re in our new home I will put everything up again.

    By the way – isn’t a house the best Christmas present ever? ;)

  5. says

    I got all distracted by the pictures of the tree…because of what is in the background. I’ve seen a million pictures of your house, but looking at from a different angle makes it feel new and exciting again! This really gave me a better idea of what your house looks like as you step inside the front door…the view of the hallway and the kitchen. I was all enchanted by the parts of the house I have seen a million times, but from a different view point. Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    We used to decorate our tree with ribbon like that when I was younger. It was an easy way to decorate without filling it with tons of ornaments, especially since we had a pretty tall tree. Also, I’m loving that mirror above the fireplace. Not sure if it’s new or if I never noticed it before, but I like!

    • says

      That was from jossandmain.com a few months ago. Took a while for us to hang it- and we’ve since switched it to hanging in the living room. Haha. We’re fickle!


  7. says

    Love your pretty and original tree! My favorite childhood memory of decorating our tree was the year we had nothing. I was six, my next brother was three and my youngest brother was newborn. My parents were out of work after a serious health problem, too, and so we found a real tree (cheap) at a lot on Christmas eve and we made our ornaments from colored construction paper I had from my first grade supplies. I felt like such a valued part of the process, too, as my parents seemed “awed” by my ability to make stars and cut them out. We also made loops of paper and strung them together. It was beautiful to a six year old! Though my parents had many serious issues later in their tough marriage, it still remains my favorite childhood memory! So homemade and colorful is extra special to me!

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