Craft – Memory Tree or Wreath

Since the holiday season is a time of celebration and remembrance, I have created a “Memory Tree” to decorate a small antique table in our family room for Thanksgiving.  I used a small tabletop pine tree which is I decorated with family photo frame ornaments, golden feathers and oak leaves with acorns.  Since we now live in the Midwest and most of our families are still on the West Coast, it is a wonderful way to honor them.

The following instructions are a guide to creating your own “Memory Tree” –

  1. Start with a tabletop pine tree, size does not matter but should be determined by the table it will be displayed on.  It can be a full traditional tree or a more open spaced feather tree.
  2. Find small photo frame ornaments for the number of family members you wish to display.  The frames do not necessarily need to match.  The photos of an individual or group can be used and the size can be reduced on the computer and printed to fit the frames used.  (Try to purchase the photo frame ornaments during the holiday season when they should be available at your local craft store)
  3. Display the photo frame ornaments evenly around the front and sides of the tree when the tree is set in a corner or against the wall.  If the tree will be displayed with a full view of all sides, make sure to space the photo frame ornaments around the entire tree.  If desired, attach the photo frame ornaments with ribbon for added decoration or wire for a more secure hold.
  4. Add embellishments, I used golden feathers and oak leaves with acorns evenly spaced throughout the tree for Thanksgiving.  For Christmas I remove the golden feathers and oak leaves and change the decorations to burgundy feathers and small glass pinecones.  To add even more memories to the “Memory Tree” in years past I’ve used bronze jingle bells with our favorite vacation destinations and dates written with gold pen.  This is a great way to remember fun family trips!
    (Additional suggestions would be to add small pinecone or acorn glass ornaments for Thanksgiving and holly leaves, red berry sprays or small ball ornaments for Christmas)
  5. The final step would be to add some sort of tree topper.  For the tree pictured, I gathered several feather sprays and secured to the top with wire.

A “Memory Tree” would be a perfect decoration for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Another option is to create a “Memory Wreath” using the same family photo frame ornaments and decorations.  This is a great idea when there is no space for a tabletop tree.  NOTE: I would recommend only hanging the wreath inside the house since the decorations would not be weather-proof for displaying on an exterior door.

Decor – Fall to Christmas Change Over

The week after Thanksgiving is a very busy time for me!  That’s when the Fall decorations are put away and the Christmas decoration boxes are brought up from the basement.   I really enjoy taking my time to unpack each box and deciding how I want to do this year’s displays.  Even when I’m using the same pieces year after year I try to set my displays in different ways or in different rooms of the house.  Sometimes the Fontanini Nativity set will be in the dining room and the next year it will be in the our library or the Department 56 North Pole Village will be in the family room bookshelf and the next year is will on the mantel over the fireplace.  This keeps everything interesting and it is fun to use different ideas or techniques to set up the displays.

In upcoming December posts, I will take you through all my preparations of the different Christmas displays I create in our home, such as: Fontanini Nativity Display and Department 56 North Pole Village.  Some other December posts detail my other Christmas decorations, such as: Themed Christmas trees and Christmas wreaths.  All of these Christmas decorations are created to make the holiday season a special one for my family.

Now, I wanted to discuss how to use some of the same materials for both Fall and Christmas.  When this is done in a creative way it can save time and expense when changing over the decorations from one holiday to next.  (Who doesn’t want to have extra time and save money at this time of year!!)

Pine garlands are a very versatile material for this purpose and I will show how with some simple changes it can be used for both Fall and Christmas decorations.  One of the most traditional ways to use pine garlands are on a mantel over the fireplace.  Below are two photos showing the same garland decorated for both holidays.  Keeping the same pine garland on the mantel, I switched out the fall decorations and replaced them with the Christmas decorations.  For Fall, the pine garland is decorated with colorful ceramic fall leaves and red berry sprays scattered throughout.    For Christmas, I used several ceramic snowflakes, large green glass pinecones ornaments and red berry sprays.


Small tabletop Christmas trees can be used in the same versatile way.  In my dining room I create a “Memory Tree” and placed it on a tea table.  This special tree is decorated with family photos in small bronze photo frame ornaments.  (Please see this week’s Craft post for more information on the Memory Tree or Wreath)  Below are two photos showing the “Memory Tree” decorated in two different ways for Fall and Christmas.  For Thanksgiving, the tree is decorated with golden feathers and oak leaves with acorns.  For Christmas, I replace the golden feathers with burgundy feathers and small glass pinecone ornaments.


As you can see, all it takes is a little creativity and by simply using different decorations to accent a pine garland or a tabletop Christmas tree the look can reflect the different holidays.

I would love to hear from you so, please write me to share your own ideas or comments.