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« Our Christmas Morning Brunch Recipe | Main | Things I'm Loving - The Give Aways Continue »

My Tree Story...and an Inspired Give Away


Hello friends.....

I actually chose this tree!! Or maybe we chose each other..... No jokes.... I'm totally serious...

Time for a story?

We've always had an artificial tree....A few years back we bought the most perfect 'fake' tree. It's really big, really full, and really 'real looking''s pre lit with something like 1500 lights (maybe more).... It's truly the perfect tree. 
but....It's kind of big for our house. I didn't say a word after we brought it home and put it up, because I kinda, sorta... possibly.... twisted John's arm on buying it. :)

I usually get my tree up early December. But this year I just wasn't feeling I wanted a REAL bad. Not just any real tree...I wanted a tall, skinny real tree..... one that would fit in our Living room. I wanted it to reach up to our 10 plus foot ceiling and I wanted it to fit in front of our Living Room window. A tall order. To be honest, I didn't think the tree I wanted existed. So, I bought a tall skinny fake tree at Lady of the Lake the other night. It wasn't my dream tree, but I thought, this year, maybe we will just plug it in and call it done. I brought it home and John thought I was kidding. He was like, for an extra tree...sure, but...not for the main tree!

On to plan B....
I would head into the nursery the next day and see if maybe, just maybe they would have my 'dream' tree. Another trip into town wasn't exactly at the top of my list, but time was running out. Fast forward...the next morning... John came home from work to grab the car....(have I told you he works at the hospital across the street from our house so he pops in and out during the day?)..... anyhow, he was like I've gotta run to the hardware store. I said, Okay, hang on I will go with you...I need to go to the post.... We pulled up in front of the hardware store...
and there.... leaning against the chain fence was 'my tree'......only a handful of trees left....and only one of the trees looked like this.
I screeched...there's my tree...the one I see in my dreams!  John... what, seriously, that tree? (but really, I'm guessing he wasn't surprised.) Into the store we went..... I joked with the clerk they should sell it to me for 1/2 off because I was pretty sure noone else in town was going to buy it and they had to agree. We brought it home...and honestly....the top tip touches our ceiling!! exactly!! 

Seriously friends, when I closed my eye, I saw this tree!! 

Comments from my boys have included....
Brett 'anorexic tree, no one else would ever buy that tree, it's really the sickest looking tree I've ever seen, is it dead?'..... Bryce (always a little more sensitive) 'it's so you Mom, Wow, that's quite a tree where did you find it? Well, it fits perfect there'..... John 'if it makes you happy, I'm happy. It has character.' 

If Ben could talk, I'm pretty sure he would say I love it Mommy.....  

oops....I digress.

I need to add some decorations....a little filler.... and we need to add the star up top.... hoping the branches are strong enough to hold it..... But yep, this is my tree. 

And so sweet friend...if you are still with me....That's my story....  

Let's move onto today's give away....shall we?

Holstee Greeting Cards.... They offer 2 sets I absolutely LOVE..... 

Today's give away winner get to pick their fav set.

I've given away their amazing Manifesto poster before...and I have it hanging in my dining room....It's perfecgt too... But, the cards are fabulous for framing.... and of course for sharing....spreading the love and inspiration...which is always a good thing. Check out the Holstee shop for all kinds of beautiful offerings.

To enter today's give away....comment below...

simply say hello.... or.....I'd love to hear about one of your favourite holiday traditions ......... 

For me it's Christmas morning breakfast....we make this delicious all in one dish 'Christmas morning wife saver'....and hash brown bake...and .... it's always so yummy..... :) One of my favourite things about Christmas...

I will announce the winner on Sunday..... The lucky winner can pick from the manifesto set or Greeting cards by Yoko.

Until much love.


Oh dear... I almost forgot... The winner of Tuesday's give away.... a lovely journal from Minted is: Eileen. Congrats lovely you. Please drop me a line so I can get you 'journaled-up'.

Oh and thank you all for sharing your favourite pens, pencils etc..... I want to try them all!!

Eileen wrote: 


Reader Comments (142)

Now, your tree is my kind of tree...I love it! Also, the Greeting Cards
by Yoko are fabulous. The Live Your Life Cards are my favorite...
I love our family tradition of the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service!
Many thanks, Cindi
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindi
It is the most perfect tree!!!! Starting a new tradition this year as my son and husband are visiting family in Ohio by themselves and I am staying behind to stay with my daughter who works retail and gets no time off. I bought us some Christmas pjs and some movies. We are going to stay in our pjs all day, eat lots of junk food, and watch sappy movies all day long with our 2 dogs!!!! Just the girls!!!!

Merry Christmas Kim and thank you for the many blessings you have given me in 2012.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie
I LOVE that tree. I have an artificial tree much like it (not quite as tall) and have used it as an additional tree, but also as my main tree for many years. I haven't even bothered with that this year, though. *sigh* so busy. I'm trying to wind up the preparations so that I can concentrate on the reason for the season, even if I don't have decorations up. And? I love that Manifesto poster, it's perfect.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen @ Cottage 960
I have to say I really loved Ben's response, it is a beautiful tree. I remember when the kids were little and we went to our cabin in the Sierra's for Christmas. We had to cut down our tree and it was truely a Charlie Brown tree but you know those trees really grow on you and are perfect.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Hurst
Your home looks so lovely! I love those cards. Peace and Merry Christmas!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi
You are the absolute most generous person, thank you for all you do for other photographers, though we don't always say it, we appreciate you!!! Love the tree by the way, it is perfect!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTammy
thanks for sharing your tree with us! that is another lesson on "it doesn't have to be perfect to be perfect"!!! i agree with Ben! <3
we don't have too many specific holiday traditions in my stepmother likes to have the tree lights on all the time (it's right in our living room) which helps create a festive mood. this year, we're going to stay in our PJs all day, open pressies, eat good food, and watch movies. I'm introducing "Elf" to the parents this year! (my stepmom and I are going to NYC to see Elf the Musical on Broadway in early January!!!)
Holstee offers cute text designs and i love their messages, especially "do what you love". thanks for the chance to win!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeg M
We've always put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving and take it down on New Year's Day. I love looking at the tree all lit up - actually I turn it on in the early morning and leave it on until bedtime. It makes the house look so cozy and romantic. Merry Christmas, Kim!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat
I'm so happy you found "your" tree. I love a real tree. Our family tradition involves breakfast, too. Quiche, cinnamon rolls and mimosas. I think my grown children look forward to that more than opening gifts.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy C
Love you life's work. This year I am doing 26 acts of kindness. Someone suggested this as a way of reminding us of good in the world. The number 26 represents each live that was lost in Conneticut.

This helps the world to know there is still good in the world.

Holiday Blessings!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda
We once had a tree that looked like that....only we thought it looked huge inbush where we found it...or maybe my poor husband who isnt very handy was just tried of wondering around the bush in the snow....anyway it was beautiful anyway...
We have been buying trees for the last couple of years....big beautiful white pines! But next year I think we will venture out with our little boy to find our own charlie brown tree!!!!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee O'Sullivan-Drombolis
Your story is hilarious...oh my goodness too cute and soooo Kim! Thanks for sharing. And might you, might you please ... Share your Christmas morning wife saver recipe? I could really use something like that this year! And our tradition is pizza on Christmas Eve followed by the kids opening one gift of their choice. All the rest remains until morning. Merry merry to you...
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColleen G
Quirky, unique, and you made it beautiful! Sign me up for the give-away. We are decorating our tree tonight - a full medium sized tree and I think we ran all over town looking for white lights ... the stores are practically all sold out! Can't wait to add the new ornaments made this year by my five year old. :)
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret
Loved your story. Our Christmas breakfast is also one of my favorite traditions. It started years ago..I always make a Green Chili and Cheese pie..freeze it, put it out when we first get up Christmas morning and then pop it in the oven when we are ready to think about eating. We also eat sliced pumpkin bread and make special coffee while we sit around the fire and the tree opening our presents. Have a very Merry Christmas! ~Ann
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Daly
I totally love that tree! I searched for the narrowest tree I could find. I thought I did pretty good until I saw yours!!!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpam
Oh, Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree....
How do I love thee? Let me count the ... pine needles.

I think it's great. Anna K., Carlsbad, CA
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna K
Your tree is beautiful! i love your story. It reminds me of the time a couple of years back, when I wanted a short tree, not too full, with some nice branches. Guess what! I found it at the hardware store too, where there wasn't a lot to choose from, but there it was, a 4 ft tall tree! It was perfect, set on a low table, away from the dogs.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIrene T
High ceilings beg to be filled with a tree at least once a year. For several years we lived in a townhome with 22 ft ceilings in the living room but only enough floor space for a skinny tree. One year we found a 15 ft skinny tree. We had to tie it to the curtain rod to keep it from falling over after it was decorated. We always have real trees, but sometime I wish they came with lights attached. Thanks for the always interesting posts.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
What a beautiful , touching story ! Heartfelt thanks for all your wonderful gifts Kim <3 Happy Holidays !
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvelina
You are so blessed! I remember when we first got married my husband would go to the woods and cut a pine tree for our Christmas tree. We live in Louisiana, so that was the only 'evergreen' tree available. We didn't have much money then, so that would be our tree. I would make popcorn strings and decorate it with paper ornaments I made. It smelled wonderful, was sticky, and not beautiful, but it was our tree and still is in our memories! Have a very Merry Christmas! Best Wishes from the South!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJune
I love your tree and the wrapped Christmas balls are perfect. This year I too dreamed of something a little simpler but did not go that route. Now after seeing yours maybe next year will be just what I hope for.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPamla Klenczar
Kim, so happy to hear your tree story. Another of your dreams come true! Your emails are the first ones I open, and they never disappoint. xo
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKarla Pitts
Oh, Kim, you sure know how to tell a story. Love your tree! I've always felt sad for the unchosen Christmas trees that are left on the lots on Christmas Eve (maybe I watched that Charlie Brown special one too many times). I don't know why... it's not like they have feelings or anything. So glad you gave this one a home for the holidays, and he looks beautiful in your home.

I don't really have any Christmas traditions to share, but I am fortunate in that I am asked every year to holiday housesit in a beautiful part of the world. Since I don't have children and my parents have passed on, my holidays are spent with wonderful friends. Christmas dinner with a dozen or more of us has become my family tradition. And the new friends just keep coming in this beautiful paradise where I am for the holidays. Just a few minutes ago a neighbor I met only a couple of days ago dropped off a bit of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Such a gift!

Happy holidays to you, Kim, and your family. I look forward to another year together in Beyond Beyond.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDianetakespics
Happy Holidays! I love all your work and your generous freebies are wonderful and often used in my own creations, so thanks so much for inspiring me through the year.

One of my favorite holiday traditions has become the Elf on the Shelf. We have two, one for each girl with the names, Jet, and Candy Cane. Jet is a bit of a troublemaker and Candy Cane is fixer. It's so much fun to see my girls get up every morning to find "those silly elves".
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarla
How can you not love that tree. Perfection in its unperfection. We have a Christmas Eve tradition which is to make home made pizza from scratch. It's a messy job but so much fun. Beautiful giveaway.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn Dyche Dechairo
So glad the awkward tree found a home for Christmas. Hope it is a merry one!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
personally, i like your tree :) traditions now consist mostly of baking gifts for friends and family~
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdonna joy
I love your tree! Our tree is artificial, prelit, and was purchased for a much larger room so it leaves me feeling a bit claustrophobic once the Christmas goodies have been added beneath it. I love your perfect tree!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSiobhan Wolf
Thanks for all your wonderful textures, inspiration and knowledge. Looking forward to joining the Test Kitchen after all the holiday dust settles. My favorite tradition is decorating my tree 5 times between Halloween and Valentine's Day. I started this a few years back, since my husband and I live far from our families and have no children. I invite my friends and neighbors to participate with me as I set up my artificial tree in early October and decorate it first for Halloween, then Fall Harvest, Christmas Angels, New Year's and Valentine's Day. Each change of decoration is a celebration.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne
It is a perfectly lovely tree...and I am not just saying that. At this stage in my life, I am all for simple. Simple (I also like the word understated) is the new "glamorous" for me. So much so, that I got so tired of rearranging my living room to make way for the Christmas tree {confession 1: artificial, confession 2: I picked it} that has outgrown us... me ... that this year I got rid my couch (actually, given away to a nice home) that too had outgrown me... I now have lots of room ... no where to sit, but lots of room :-) Oh, and it wasn't that impulsive. I gave the family a choice, we get a new smaller, skinnier tree or get rid of the couch... they chose the tree and all the things they love about Christmas =)
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaria
It's a beaut! I do think it's so you. When we got our tree home this year it seemed so much smaller than it did at the store. And it's not drinking as much water as normal. I hope it lasts!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
I have a "real" tree for the first time in years and my 7-year old granddaughter, Lacey, is totally enthralled with it. Worth all the dropped pine needles just for her joy.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKay
A delightful post, Kim. One of my favorite Christmas tree storie/traditions involves why we stopped putting up a tree --- our dearly departed Buckwheat Elizabeth the cat, who passed away several years ago at age 18! We put up a tree when she was a kitten - no problem. We put up a tree when she grew to be an adult - big problem. When I came home from work one day, I found her roosting in the nearly-ornamentless tree; she had knocked many of them off in her efforts to climb up. (The image of Snoopy pretending to be a vulture as Lucy walks by comes to mind.) We just don't think about big trees any longer. We have instead a little collection of smaller artificial trees that we put up. I think of the cat every year when I put them out. Merry Christmas, Kim. I always enjoy your posts!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary Ann Potter
I love your little tree. It looks like Charlie Brown's tree. My favorite tradition is baking Christmas cookies with my kids. They make such a mess but the look on their faces as we decorate the sugar cookies is priceless.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim
My favourite holiday tradition is watching "It's a wonderful life with the family on Christmas Eve"
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Wisse
I LOVE your tree it truly is lovely . . .and it is real and PERFECT - - makes me smile . . . . !
We bought an artificial tree a few years ago at a country type store which sells barn-board tables etc. We had bought a barn-board table and sideboard at this store but the other thing that caught my eye was their decorations . . wow I loved them and so we asked if we could possibly buy one of their Christmas trees . and with much hesitation, as it was their store decor, they conceded for after Christmas . . (Smile) we have it and I call it my "Charlie Brown Tree" . I love it for many reasons . . it is unique, takes little space, looks very country, & so fits in with our table . .
I do need to make some new decorations, but for now I have some really quite old bulbs from when I was young. - - just holding on to things from my childhood I guess. .
Have a wonderful Christmas, Kim

We have Christmas brunch together (17) and open gifts. then later we either go to one of our kids homes or have it our home. Lots of fun times.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEleanor Thiessen
Hi Kim,
Beautiful tree and merry Christmas to you and your family. We are having a blizzard here today in Sw Wisconsin! The music and the happy people are my favorites!!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkathy M
Ahhhh . . . your tree is simply perfect! And your story is one for the memory book . . . in 20 years your boys will be telling their girlfriends and saying "Remember the year we had that skinny tree?" and you will all remember and laugh. Shared history and memories are what makes family and friends so cherished. Love your work, Kim.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Burke
It's a fabulous tree! It is charming, it has character, it is simple. I love the fabric balls. This tree looks like it came from Country Living Magazine. And by the way, I want your wood door.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
I love your "Charlie Brown" tree! I grew up in a military family and moved so many times, that my parents bought the "artificial" tree. I grew to really hate that tree and sworn when I was out on my own I would not have one! I finally settled in the Pacific Northwest, which worked out perfectly for me because an article Christmas tree in the Christmas Tree Capital just isn't right.... Merry Christmas to all from the lovely (and wet) state of Oregon!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeannette
love the story of your tree-amazing how personal our Christmas trees are to each of us - and how we know when we found the right one. I have taken all my handmade ornament and now display then on little trees all over the house so I can enjoy them wherever I am.
i haven't heard of Holstee cards before-love their manifesto.I will have to check out their site further-a fantastic message to be reminded of often

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbernadette
I totally agree with and love your selection of a wonderful tree! Thanks for all you do and your generous heart and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and blessed New Year!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRubyG
My favorite Christmas tradition is Las Novenas. It's a colombian tradition similar to Las Posadas in MX. For 9 days we pray la novena and sing villancicos (christmas carols). It starts on Dec. 16th and it goes until the 24th. It could be done in one house or as we do with our group of friends, a different family hosts it each day. It's our way to keep our traditions alive while we live away of our beautiful Colombia. Have a Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdrianaG
I love your tree story, and your tree, and I also LOVE your beautiful door!! I just wanted to tell you that -- I don't want to be entered for the giveaway this time. :-)
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterseabluelee
I love this story! I have a skinny artificial tree that I totally LOVE. The trunk is a real tree trunk/branch and the tree was part of a new fixture inventory at a department store in a mall where I worked. Well, the store went out of business before the holidays and did one of those "everything must go" sales. So no only did I consider myself fortunate to have such a find in the chaos of the sale, but I scored a great deal, too!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim P
hello Kim. love. love. love that tree. my kind of tree for sure and love those cards too xo
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly
Love the whole tree story and I so love that tree. Funny that I've been looking at my fake tree since it's been up and wishing it looked like your tree before even seeing YOUR tree. I think next year I'll be out scouring for a tall skinny tree. I also love those cards. I've been working on my daughter's wedding invitations that are very similar. Sort of "word art" style. I've learned so much in Photoshop while trying to get this invitation just right. It's been such a rush. We don't live close to each other so it's all being done thru email. Just waiting for the day she says "That's it, it's perfect, Mom" Would love to win those cards. By the way, I love all the comments from the men in your family.....A great group!
Glad to see you finally got into the spirit of Christmas. Time to glide now....
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Hartman
A beautiful tree!

Every Christmas Eve my father (miss him so much ) would sit all 7 of us kids ( and later a mass of grandkids) around him and read The Little Match Girl. We continued it w/ our kids and added Polar Express. We have not missed one Christmas Eve, Erin will be 30 in January and Kenny is 27. It is still their favorite part of xmas too.

Happy Holiday to you and yours
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermary Underwood
Aww, I love your tree story...I truly think it was destiny. And yes, it does have character! :)

Thanks so much for the chance at a giveaway.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSherri B.
I love your tree! We have a full lighted tree, but it usually sits without ornaments until just before Christmas when the kids decorate it. I just love the plain lit tree. :)
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel M

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