Tag Archives: Christmas trees

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Should Your Tree Wear a Skirt?

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Choosing accessories for our Christmas trees is very important. With the right trimmings, a Christmas tree can really dazzle!

One of the most common Christmas tree accessories is a tree skirt, and it’s a traditional choice for many. If you’ve never dressed up your tree with one, here are some reasons that might change your mind:

  1. A tree skirt makes a Christmas tree look complete. It pulls together the ornaments, the lights, and the other Christmas decor in the room. Choose a style in keeping with your decor and let the skirt dress up your Christmas tree.
  2. It provides a beautiful backdrop for gifts.  On Christmas morning, the tree is all lit up, the presents tumble from underneath it to spill across and over the tree skirt… When the presents spill over the skirt, it creates a look of abundance, and is picture-perfect.
  3. Tree skirts conceal unsightly tree stands. Tree stands are utilitarian, made of metal and have screws protruding from their sides. Your artificial Christmas tree is a thing of beauty; the two don’t aesthetically harmonize! Hide the stand with a gorgeous tree skirt, and voila – all beauty, all the time.
  4. They can be heirlooms. Many Christmas tree skirts are handed down as heirlooms from generation to generation. This year I receive the red flannel skirt that my mother bought during my first Christmas. Although it’s inexpensive, it holds years of memories for my mom and me. Heirlooms carry family history, and immediately evoke memories and “remember when” stories. These are precious, and I’ll pass them along when I have children.

The uses for a Christmas tree skirt are many, so to answer the question, “Should your tree wear a skirt”, we say “Yes!”

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Evergreen Everlasting: The Differences between Fir, Spruce and Pine

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With so many artificial Christmas trees available on the market, it’s difficult it is to tell each one apart. How’s a person supposed to tell the difference between a Norwegian Spruce and a Balsam Fir? And often, we want to make sure that our trees look like their Natural namesakes.

Fir, spruce and pine are three of the most popular Christmas tree varieties, and have their own characteristics that make them special. If you were to look at the real trees, here are some things you would notice. Use these distinguishing characteristics when you shop for artificial Christmas trees, to make sure that yours looks like the real thing:


Fir trees have individual flat needles attached to the stem. The needles grow in a spiral on the tip and lay flat, and this kind of display gives fir trees their full look. The shape of a fir tree is bushy and full, which doesn’t leave much room for ornaments and is perfect if you like a less-decorated tree.


Like fir trees, spruces have single needles connected to the stems. However, spruce tree needles are sharp and square-shaped. On a real tree, spruce needles easily break apart if you bend them. As a whole, spruce trees sport the traditional full Christmas tree shape, thanks to their upturned branches. Their strong branches can hold heavier ornaments, so load them up with your biggest ornaments with confidence!


Unlike the fir and spruce trees, a pine tree has needles that grow in bundles — you can see three to five needles bunched together on a pine tree branch. Pine trees have fewer branches, so they tend to look sparse with their upturned branches. However, this leaves lots of room to hang ornaments at the back and middle of the branches, allowing you to hang all of your favorite ornaments.

With the pointers in mind, you can easily find the perfect Christmas tree!

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Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Overlapping Holidays: Decorations You Can Keep out from Halloween until Valentine’s Day

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I love decorating but I find that it can get stressful whenever holidays start to overlap with each other. Here are a few decorating tips I’ve found to be helpful to keep in mind during the holiday season.

Decorations You Can Keep Out:

  1. Seasonal decorations: These days, “season-less” decorations are pieces that avoid being strongly associated with any single holiday. For example, instead of adding decorations that heavily use images of Santa Claus, reindeers and elves during Christmas, you can simply choose items that are color red and white instead. This will carry you from Christmas to Valentine’s Day!
  2. Overly ornate decorations: Stay away from decorations that are over the top. It’ll be hard to coordinate pieces to go with them and they might even end up clashing with your existing decorations!

Some Decorating Tips:

  1. Keep your palette monochromatic or neutral: Choose a monochromatic or neutral color scheme. This can serve as a backdrop for bolder, brighter colors or lovely, intricate pieces.
  2. Add holiday decorations strategically: It’s best to strategize where you’ll be placing your holiday decorative pieces. Think of where they would make the most impact without clashing with each other. Remember, less is more!

Think classic rather than trendy to keep your holiday pieces from clashing and remember to use whatever feels right for you. If it makes you feel happy and festive, then go for it. Happy decorating!

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

6 Ways to Use School Pictures in Your Holiday Decorations

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crafting kids image via totalclasscreativeblog.com

Keep the festive mood alive by incorporating your kids’ school pictures with your Christmas decor!  Make it a fun and memorable event by crafting the decorations together as a family. Below are some of my favorite kid-friendly handicrafts, which I hope you’ll enjoy making.

  1. Ornament Photo Stand: Turn your Christmas ball ornaments into photo stands. Select a few Christmas ornaments, preferably in the same color. To make the Christmas ornaments stand straight, fill them with small stones or pellets to weigh them down. Put the cap back on the ornament, and attach the pictures to the cap with strong adhesive glue. These nifty little stands are perfect for filling any empty space.
  2. Tree of Pictures: Glue a border onto the photo, so it looks like a frame (you can use ribbon, ric-rac in holiday colors, or Popsicle sticks decorated by the kids). Punch holes in the pictures and hang them on your bare-limbed tree with some pretty ribbon.
  3. Picture Frames: This is quick and easy – Purchase picture frames in holiday colors. You can place them throughout the home, like in your children’s bedrooms and play areas. A fun twist is to place a framed school picture above your child’s stocking; this way, when Santa arrives on Christmas Eve, he can put a face to the name!
  4. Photo Wreath: Turn your wreath into a photo display. Make copies of some of your favorite pictures and nestle them into a wreath. If you have more time, you can create a wreath from photographs only, and there are dozens of DIY options for this online.  Be sure to laminate these pictures if the wreath will be used outside of your house!
  5. Holiday Placemats: Make holiday meals more fun by turning your pictures into holiday placemats. You’ll need poster board and strong laminate which are easy to find in a craft store. There are endless options for this creative project: Glitter, pictures, stickers, the works! Paste items onto the board, laminate, and trim. Voila!  Christmas memories to eat off of.
  6. Hang Photos around the House: Print copies of your favorite pictures in black and white and laminate them (you can add borders, just like in Tree of Pictures, if you want to). Punch holes on top and use big, bold ribbons to hang them on your entry ways, hallways and bedrooms.

These handicrafts are fun to make and are a great way to display your kids’ favorite memories of school. Crafting these together as a family will allow you to create even better memories with your kids, something that is truly priceless.