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The Great Tinsel Debate- and my little French Country Christmas tree

Do you remember the story about the first Christmas I spent with my now husband
and the great tinsel debate?

It was one of those moments where I paused. And wondered. Could this guy 
that loves a tree that is completely different than what I love
Would we be able to get past those differences?
Never mind the different ways we grew up. Our family dynamics.
Or the fact that I was a bay area girl and he a boy from the country.
It was all about the tree decorating folks.
That is where the real test of compatibility comes don't you think?

It was the first Christmas that 
I spent with the guy who would later become my husband.
We were young and in love and had been dating for awhile
 but we hadn't spent a Christmas together yet.
And you know, 
your Christmas decorating style is a definite marker of your compatibility. 
It's a proven fact. 
Pretty sure there are several studies out there...

So my guy and I went out one snowy weekend on a date
to find THE perfect Christmas trees for each of our apartments. 

And as I wandered around in search of the spindliest little
most charming and adorable Charlie Brown tree for my place-
he found this huge, chunky, branches reaching 8' across 
how in the world are you going to get that in the car  tree.
Think Clark Griswold and 'Christmas Vacation' folks.
I kid you not.

We brought those trees home and
I carried mine up 3 flights of stairs in one hand 
and he lugged his beast into his house
and by the time I drove over to his house that night for dinner
I walked in 
and there was his tree taking up half of the living room 
fully and completely decorated.

With 10,000 colorful lights that blinked on and off like a light show
 5 dozen boxes of silver tinsel 
and chunks of Angel Hair  draped on

It was like ... you knew there was a tree there somewhere...
 but you didn't see it.

But he was so excited about his tree
and he asked what I thought of it 
as he bent down to pick up a stray piece of tinsel and put it back on the tree.

And admittedly, I laughed inside. I did. 
And then put my arms around him and gave him a kiss
and stood there and admired his tree along with him and fell in love a bit more.

We have laughed many times about that Christmas 
and how our styles were so different.
Me and my sad little Charlie Brown tree that wore just a few clear lights and a tiny star 
and his tree that was for lack of better words
like Vegas. 
On mega steroids.

Do you wonder how we have been married for so long? 

He is okay with me doing the decorating now
 but you know what, 
his tinsel covered, blinking obnoxiously Vegas tree was as awesome as it was wild
and it is a great memory that brings smiles and laughs every time you think of it.

When it comes to decorating your home, your room, your Christmas tree-
nothing is wrong. 
Whatever makes you happy is what you should do.
A designer theme, family portraits, childhood ornaments if you have them, all one color
25 colors, just lights, colorful lights or clear lights, etc.

Really-  your tree is about you and your style and it should make you smile 
when you walk in the room.
And if that means buying every last box of tinsel on the shelves to cover it with
I say GO for it.
Sometimes you need a little tinsel in your life.
Or maybe a frosted tree dotted with glistening snow
that is sprinkled with blush baubles will do.


Shop the look:

 and use my special code to save an extra 10% off everything- including sale prices.

So do tell... 
what is your thought about tinsel when it comes to decorating your tree?

Oodles of tinsel or just say no ?

Happy Monday everyone.


  1. I don't mind tinsel as it reminds me of happy Christmases when I was young, but I don't use it these days. The trends have changed and there are so many other beautiful options for decorating. I have awful memories of Angel Hair from childhood. I would run around the Christmas tree barefoot and the glass would get into my skin:( I hated it when my mom would put that stuff out.

  2. love the story Courtney, and as always, your tree is gorgeous!

  3. LOL Friends don't let friends put tinsel on their Christmas trees....

  4. I grew up with the tinsel on the tree and you can tell where mom hung them and us kids:). Love your memory about your Christmas trees:). Kathleen in Az

  5. I love tinsel but I love my cats sadly no tinsel.

  6. I love tinsel but I love my cats sadly no tinsel.

  7. I love tinsel on a tree but I love my cats sadly no tinsel.

  8. I have cats so no tinsel is allowed on my tree. Taking one of my babies to the er is not how I want to spend Christmas. Amanda

  9. Beautiful memory....lovely story.

  10. Actually several years ago I found some iridescent tinsel at a thrift store and it's quite lovely. It gives the appearance of light on whatever it's placed (like my stairway railing that doesn't have lights) and enhances things that do have lights (like the Christmas tree). I don't use it every year, nor very much of it when I do, but it does make me happier than the old-fashioned silver tinsel.

    I change out my LR tree's decor every year. This year I went back to 'traditional' red and green after several years of doing many other colors. It's always a surprise for my holiday party guests to enjoy!

    P.S. I also use some Angel Hair but only on places where people generally don't touch (like up high on the mantel). I use gloves when I put it on to avoid getting cut fingers . ;-)

  11. What a lovely sweet read for Christmas.Days gone by we all used tinsel here in the UK, including me! But now soft lights,gold,silver and white baubles, for me this year, minus the tinsel ��

  12. As a child growing up my Mother decorated the tree differently every year, one year angel hair which I did not like as a kid felt like I was caught in a spider web, and tinsel, my memories are that we had beautiful trees every year. I don't use tinsel tried one year but took it off it just wasn't my thing, but I have seen tree's with tinsel that are beautiful, it is true what ever decor makes your heart sing is the one for you there is no right or wrong way to decorate your tree. Your story is very similar to my boyfriend and me, he loves the huge chunky can't see the trunk tree in a perfect cone shape, I love a tree more natural shaped and you can see some of the trunk both are beautiful. Merry Christmas Courtney and to your family!

  13. I had two different themes for my tree (a more formal crystal, white, and silver tree and a more fun tree with mercury glass ornaments, Santas and snowmen and teddy bears, and souvenir ornaments from our travels), but last year decided just to put everything on at once and was surprised to find I love the look. Very festive.

  14. Every year growing up, there would be an argument. My mom and my brother wanted tinsel, and my dad and I didn't. I think my mom usually won! Now I don't use tinsel on my own trees, but sometimes I can see the appeal of it.

  15. We can take the tinsel or leave it... the tree is beautiful either way. I love my Charlie Brown tree but my family is very enamored of the huge tree. So we usually do it up big and really pretty with just an assortment of ornaments from thru the years. Love adding a new ornament every year! As long as your tree makes you happy it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks!

  16. Dear Courtney, I love your sweet story and it has brought back so many wonderful memories of a 35 year marriage that went bad. But we always had amazing Christmases. He like the big huge tree I called Mama Mia and I like you liked the sparse branched tree so my ornaments could hang dainty from each branch. But while decorating was a big problem for us - even though I am an Interior Designer by trade - he always had to have his hand in everything. As far as trees we took turns every other year on which tree to choose until I brought home an artificial tree. Yeah! Have a very Merry Christmas my friend!
    xoxo Jo

  17. Courtney, Your tree is just so perfect and your love story is as sweet.
    My boyfriend (now husband) bought me my first real Christmas tree when we were dating in high school. Before that I would go cut down a tiny white pine reminiscent of Charlie Brown's lowly tree, set it up in a bucket of water and sand and decorate with paper chains, glass and strands of tinsel bought at the local Woolworths. But THIS tree? Magical. It was small enough to fit in my tiny bedroom. It was beautiful; mine to decorate how I pleased. We shopped a local florist who had the most amazing Christmas room with gorgeous imported hand decorated glass balls from Germany and other far away lands. I literally felt I had walked into heaven. I was immediately enthralled with these tiny works of art, blown glass figural ornaments, exquisitely decorated orbs with swirls of glitter and sparkling jewels. He bought me about $100 worth or these ornaments, a lot of money in 1974. Forty four years later I'm still as enthralled and remember that first Christmas tree.
    There is nothing more magical than 100's of tiny white lights reflecting off of 100's of glittering, sparkling hand painted glass turtles, beautiful birds, angels and Santas dressed in every hue, ethereal strands of tinsel, sparkling gold garland. Every year I buy yet another ornament or two; they are a guilty obsession.
    I've outgrown my large tree as my collection is ever expanding. Your tree is perfect for a second tree. I love German feather trees but they're so expensive and tend to get eaten when in storage. This is such a perfect alternative. The branch spacing is perfect to showcase the ornaments. The understated frost adds to this magical season of wonder and joy.

  18. I usually do several different themed trees every year - I am lucky to have storage devoted only for holiday decor. However, last year I decided that next Christmas I would try to replicate the tree of my childhood. All year I spent searching Ebay, Etsy, thrift stores & estate sales looking for the same ornaments my mother used on our tree. I found quite a few, and this year I only put up one tree decorated with only vintage ornaments - and the crowning touch- every branch dripping in tinsel! It has turned out to be my favorite tree ever.

  19. Aww. I'm here from Thistlekeeping with KariAnne. Great story! And ... amen to what you said. I remember tinsel from when I was a kid--to save money, we had to (carefully!) remove it from the tree and we saved it year .... after year .... after year.