A Christmas Tree at Last

Several folks have asked when I was going to share my Christmas tree for this year. Well, I finally called “uncle.” Where does that phrase come from anyway? lol

Traditional Christmas Decor in Red and Green Living Room with Judges Paneling


After spending 3 hours one night changing a million fuses, two hours another night examining a million bulbs, and an hour a third night fiddling and fussing, I finally gave up (for this year) on trying to get the lights to work on the lowest branch of the tree. It killed me to give up but I just have too much to do to spend any more time on it. Fortunately, the presents somewhat hide that area.

Christmas Tree Decorated with Glass Ornaments and Gold Beading


I always decorate the living room tree with gold bead garland and glass ornaments collected over the years.

Christmas Decorating in Red and Green


This year I added a new ornament, the only one I purchased during my 17 days in Italy. Pienza was such a special place, I chose an ornament and a pretty platter as my souvenirs from there. I keep forgetting to share the platter, it’s hanging in the breakfast room. When I share tomorrow’s table setting, I’ll be sure to include a photo of it.

Ornament from Pienza Italy


Each year I try to do something a little different when wrapping the presents.

Plaid Wrapping Paper for Christmas


You may remember one year I used craft paper and plaid ribbon. (See that post here: A Plaid Christmas & Lighting the Christmas Trees by Remote)

That was a bit of a stretch for me since I had never wrapped Christmas presents with craft paper, but I liked the look. It’s fun to try new things each year!

Christmas Presents Wrapped in Craft Paper


My love for plaids and tartans is stronger than ever, so this year I went with plaid paper and mixed it up with shiny, red wrapping paper. I topped off all the presents with a variety of gold ribbons and bows.

Christmas Decor, Traditional Style


I’m almost done with my wrapping, only have 3-4 more presents to wrap and I think I’ll be all set.

Ideas for Gift Wrapping Christmas Presents


The plaid paper has a nice shimmer/sheen that just doesn’t come across in photos very well.

Christmas presents wrapped in green and red plaid paper with gold ribbon


I already had all of the gold ribbon and most of the red paper that I used for this year’s gift wrapping. I’m always on the look out for ribbon at reasonable prices. The dollar store and craft stores seem to be the best places to catch it on sale. So, the only things I bought this year for wrapping were a few rolls of the plaid paper and a couple of rolls of a pretty red-on-red pattern featuring deer images.

Plaid Christmas Paper with Gold Ribbons and Bows


One with the lights turned off…

Christmas Tree and Presents lit by lights of tree


When I haven’t been fighting lights, I’ve been busy working on a little project that I think you’re going to like. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to sharing it real soon!

Plaid Wrapping Paper for Christmas


Merry Christmas, dear Friends!

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  1. Eileen Jalet says

    OK – I love everything but, of course I LOVE the PLAID wrapping paper!!

  2. Merry holidays! Your tree is so well done, I realize our tree is rather…forlorn. πŸ˜€
    I like the craft paper idea, looked organic and definitely uncommon.

    • The craft paper was about the easiest wrapping ever. It’s pretty stiff but it goes quickly. I think I bought the paper in Walmart that year.

  3. Connie Susong says

    Where did you get the glass bead garland for your Christmas tree? I had a glass bead garland several years ago. It was lost during a move & I have not been able to find a glass bead garland since. I would love to have one again!

  4. what kind of lights do you have on the tree? They appear larger than the old twinkle style. jw

    • I think the camera is making them appear that way. They are really the normal size you normally see. The tree came from Home Depot Expo (Black Friday sale) many years ago (before they all closed) and came prewired.

  5. Susan, as always you have such awesome artistic feel for things. This is beyond lovely and is also settling and serene. Love the lime green ribbons on the pkgs, slender tree, the whole thing. Thank you for so diligently sharing your artistic flare with us! I have learned so much watching what you do week to week. JW

    • Thanks so much, Julie…appreciate those kind words. For something like 22+ years, I always had a live tree, but I finally broke down and went with a faux one since it was just too much trying to get a live tree off the roof of my car, into the house and into a stand by myself. I did it several years before I went finally went faux.
      If I could, I’d have at least one live tree each year. I love the scent of a live tree so much, although I don’t miss the needles everywhere and the clean up after Christmas. πŸ™‚ Some years I go up to Home Depot or a nearby church where they sell live trees and I ask for the scraps they cut off before they burn them. I use those to decorate the mantel and love how it fills the house with that wonderful smell.

  6. Lovely tree! I wish a Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  7. bobbi duncan says

    Susan, thanks for sharing (after three grueling days of trying to figure out those lights) your beautiful tree;ornaments collected through the years are always the best decorations, aren’t they? They carry such nostalgia, bringing back memories of the Xmas we first put them on the tree. You know I’m crushing on the plaid. I just love that entire room, anyway, but the holiday dΓ©cor just puts it over the top. Lovely, lovely, lovely!

    • Thanks so much Bobbi! That is so true about the memories. I ordered one of the light repairs guns last night so hopefully I can use it to figure out what’s wrong. It’s so weird because it’s three strands and they are all in the same area of the tree.

  8. Susan, I know how frustrating the non-working lights can be. Several years ago, I just threw in the towel and went and bought a new tree. Have to say, you don’t even notice that there are no working lights on your tree. It is gorgeous! You have lots of presents, many of them in big boxes. It all looks festive and perfect in my eye.
    I know you are going to have a wonderful Christmas with your son and his family. Special to have a baby there at Christmas. ‘-)
    Merry Christmas, dear friend!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I’m going to try and get this one working before I put it away for another year. If I can’t, I think I may donate it (in case someone else can figure it out) and buy a new one next year.

    • Oh, I meant to say, I save boxes (whenever I order anything) because so many of the toys and things I buy to give as gifts, come in awkward shapes. Even my grandson’s toys that came in their own box were hard to wrap this year because a section of the box was that soft, plastic see-through stuff that pushes in when you try to wrap paper over it. So, I like to place each present inside its own box with paper around it. It just makes it feel more like a “present” when they open it and it looks prettier under the tree, instead of being a strangely/oddly shaped package. lol It’s also much easier to wrap. Hope that makes sense.

  9. The whole scene is gorgeous. It would be hard for me to rip open that beautiful wrapping! Do not notice the missing lights. You add a plug-in strand, next year, if you never solve the mystery. (Or maybe that interferes with folding up the tree?)

    • I actually don’t ever fold it up. I just lift it and carry it to the garage. I used to carry it down to the basement but it’s so hard to haul it up the stairs, I decided to just put it in the garage (same level as living room) and cover it with one of those tree bags you can buy in Wally World. That has worked out much better. I wish I had a giant closet right off the living room that I could push it into each year. I’m not sure I’d even undecorate it if I had that. I bet the lights wouldn’t malfunction so often for folks if we didn’t have to pull on them and fold them up and such. Sometimes this one will naturally collapse/fold up when I’m carrying it from the garage to the living room.

  10. Why didn’t you just buy a new string of lights for the bottom of the tree? I have never had an artificial tree, always a real one, so don’t know if the tree is a pre-lit one you have to try to fix the lights if a string doesn’t work or can you replace the lights? The tree looks lovely! You can’t really notice the bottom lights aren’t working. Love the plaid theme! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • I was so sure I could eventually find the issue. Nope…wasn’t happening. I may have to buy a strand next year if the light repair gun thingy I just ordered doesn’t work.

  11. Mary from Virginia says

    There must be something in the air, a lot of our lights didn’t work, and several friends’ lights haven’t worked either. On my tree I added three strands of lights right on top of the burned out lights. I am debating purchasing a new tree, but gosh they have really gone up in price! Looking forward to your project.

  12. Your tree is beautiful! I love the glass blown ornaments, they are my favorite. I also love for the tree to twinkle, so I bought the lights that every 5th light twinkles. It makes the tree seem magical to me.
    Merry Christmas to you and your Family!

  13. Marlene Stephenson says

    Everything looks real Christmasy, i love the paper on your presents with the gold ribbon makes everything sparkle just like your lovely tree.

  14. Your tree is lovely! As are the presents beneath it. It all looks so elegant.

    You can always add a string or two of lights, but there is this gadget that can fix almost all of the ones that are not working. I got ours on Amazon, but I’ve seen them at Wal Mart. It’s called a Pro Lights gun or something…. brb.

    Light Keeper Pro! Now, my husband is the one who does it, so I have no idea how to work it, but he fixed ALL of ours with it this year. (We put up three trees and all of them had issues this year) We were ready to just get new trees, but this did the trick!

    It’s less than 20 dollars at WM or on Amazon and worth checking out. (Not affiliated, just happy with it)

    Here’s the link, but I believe it’s cheaper at Wal-Mart


    • Thanks, Tammy…just ordered one on Amazon. Walmart appeared to be out of it online. I hope it works…definitely worth a try! Yeah, I may have to add lights next year, it’s just I’ll never be able to wrap them the way they are wrapped on there now. The pre-lit trees are amazing the way the lights are practically a part of the stems themselves.

      • Susan, our trees needed additional lights this year, too. We just gently laid them on the branches… we didn’t wrap them on individual branches… and you really can’t tell – especially when it is lit at night. Such a beautiful tree and wrapped packages.

  15. Susan, your tree is lovely and I love this years’ wrappings!!
    Merry Christmas!!

  16. Susan, The tree is gorgeous but more importantly, please tell us about that dog picture to the right of the tree on your wall. And also the pillow tucked into the burgundy chair below – I have noticed that pic numerous times but this is the best view I have had of it, obsessed now! (And love the plaid!!)

    • Thanks so much, Susan! When I was planning this room out in my mind, I wanted it to have a hunting/lodge/woodland feel to go with the wood paneled walls. Somewhere along the way, the dogs started taking over. πŸ™‚ I ended up with two doggie lamps, a dog pillow, dog waste basket and the dog painting. The painting actually shows two dogs, just hard to see the other one because he’s black and behind the lighter colored dog. You can see it better in this older post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/my-image-inspiration-what-inspires-you/
      I purchased it from a local man, not sure if he’s still in business now. It just seemed to fit this room.
      The little pillow is one I found many years ago. It show 4 animals: a bunny, a dog, a weasel looking animal (not sure if that’s what he is) and a quail. Over the years I’ve become a “pillow snob” and only like pillows with down inserts, but it’s a cute pillow so I’ve held onto all these years. Just wish it was more squishy and less stiff. I need to find pillows for my sofa but I when I usually come across ones I love, they are ridiculouos expensive!

  17. I love this room, the paneling and the details are so beautiful and then the tree and presents just add the awesome to the room. Stunning

  18. So pretty, you probably have your coffee by the tree in the morning (and a glass of wine there at night)!

  19. Your tree and presents are absolutely beautiful. I’d love waking up to that tree Christmas morning.

  20. You tree looks wonderful! I always have the same problem with lights…seems like there’s always one strand, and for me…it’s usually right in the middle! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas! πŸ˜‰

  21. Susan, you can’t even tell any lights are not working – it’s gorgeous! I wish I’d known you were still in distress (I don’t know where “uncle!” came from, but I sure remember screaming it – a lot – when my brothers used to torture me as a kid) because I saw this in the latest issue of HGTV magazine from WalMart (it’s a light repair kit that’s really supposed to work!):

    • Thanks so much, Rita! They are out of it at Wally World but I found it on Amazon. Definitely worth a try! Youre the second person recommending it so appreciate that!

  22. Such a beautiful room and tree! I have a question: did you put the beads on before the rest of the ornaments or were they the last to go on? I ask because we drape beads on ours as well, doing that after everything else is on the tree and I seem to remember from last year, thinking it would be smarter to do the beads first.

    • Thanks, Barb! I always hang the bead garland first and that works great. I start at the bottom and work my way up. I don’t take them around to the back since you can’t view the back.

  23. Wow! I didn’t expect such a prompt answer – I am duly impressed! BTW, we can vouch for the Light Keeper Pro thingy. We just got one last week and it does the trick! Got ours at Canadian Tire – so that tells you I’m from Canada. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the tip about the beads – we will put them on first. The tree is tomorrow’s project. One more bead question: why do you start at the bottom? And – Merry Christmas!!

    • Well, my logic is, if I find I’m running out toward the end, I don’t want to have that huge expanse at the bottom to deal with. I’d much rather make sure the bottom and middle are well covered and then as I approach the much more narrow top, if I see I’m running out of beads, I can more easily adjust. Just not so intimidating that way and makes me feel like I have a better chance at making adjustments and not running out if I’m only dealing with the narrow/smaller section to go around in the end, as opposed to running out and still having the larger part of the tree left to cover. Way back when I bought these beads, I (fortunately) actually purchased more beads than I have needed. I always have one strand left over. It’s better to buy/have too many than to always feel as if you may run out…so buy plenty! πŸ™‚

  24. Color me GREEN! So lovely.

  25. Your tree looks beautiful and very festive!! I’m impressed you brought the ornament from Italy withoit it breaking!! Must have been wrapped tightly? Also love the gift wrap on all the presents. They look too pretty to open!
    Merry Christmas

  26. Oh, the light thing! I would have done the same and just hidden them with your gorgeous packages. Wonderful Italian ornament, what a good idea for a souvenir. The whole scene is stunning and cozy!

  27. Everything is so beautiful and you’ve done a wonderful job. It makes me happy to follow the blog of someone who lives alone and so must deal with frustrations herself. I too live alone and it’s amazing how many issues come up where someone who has a partner can’t appreciate that sometimes two hands just aren’t enough but that’s all that’s available so we do our best. Happy Holidays and a happy and healthy New Year.

  28. Melissa Rice says

    I just love your style. Where did you find the plaid wrapping paper?
    Merry Christmas from East Texas!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I found it in Marshalls a couple of months ago. They had a bunch of it so if you have a Marshalls near you, they may still have it in.

  29. Linda townsend says

    Since I am new to the blog, I wonder – Was this paneled room your original living room that you bought the two bookcases for. If so, I wonder where I can read about its transition. I wish I had a room in my house that I could copy this English den. I love it. Also where you able to use the bookcases elsewhere.

    • Hi Linda, No this room hasn’t changed at all, it’s still just like it was when the home was built back around 1983. I often call it the family room but it could also be called a den. This home also has what used to be call a “formal living” room. My goal for the formal living room was to turn it into a home library of sorts. You can see it in this post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/dreaming-of-a-home-library-welcome-to-the-34th-metamorphosis-monday/ It’s right beside this paneled family room…they share a wall…the wall that I would like to put bookcases down.
      I was thinking that one day when I downsize and move, the next person who lives here could use the living room or “library” as a home office since a lot of folks want a home office these days. It would also make a good “music” room if someone needed that.
      Not sure I’ll get around to turning it into a library, though because I need to renovate my baths first. I also created a little library in my office upstairs so my books found a home.
      When/if I ever move, I had thought about trying to recreate this room since I love a paneled room. It is possible to recreate this room anywhere, you would just need to install or have installed whatever type paneling you would like. I’m not sure what type of wood paneling was used in this room. A painter once told me that he thought it was maple, but I have no idea. I’ve seen mahogany and pine used, I’m sure folks may even use cherry and walnut. Of course, the more expensive the wood, the most cost involved. I love a paneled room, especially for fall and winter. I don’t know why you don’t see them in homes as much anymore.

  30. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Oh Susan you and you’re ‘little project’ teases! Ahhh … I’m like a little kid and I can’t wait!

    But to the issue at hand. Sorry about your lights. You really can’t tell from the pictures that any are even out. I do love the red packaging and the gold ribbons. THIS looks like Christmas. πŸ˜€ Court will have a ball with those πŸ™‚

    You know, if you ‘re ever struggling for a post idea, you could take close up pictures of your ornaments to share. Everybody loves looking at ornaments and I’m sure some of them have great stories. πŸ™‚

  31. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Btw, just saw a close up of your rug .. that’s a gorgeous rug! Perfect for that room. It seems to have layer after layer of border. Pretty!

  32. Your tree looks beautiful!! I can’t even tell there are lights out…I have never really liked plaid until this year, now I can’t seem to get enough of it…funny how our tastes or interests change. The entire room is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Beautiful Susan!
    Had to give up the ribbons on our gifts. Our chocolate lab would pull them off. Naughty pup.
    Last year that was us…. the center of our 9′ tree would not lift. We tried everything . Finally my husband put it on the with for the trash. GASP!!!! This year we replaced it with a beautiful cashmere tree. By far a more beautiful tree than the one we lost. Pop on over and take a peek.

  34. The whole room is stunning! Love the plaid, the warmth of the wood and soft glow of the lights, outstanding!

  35. I love the tree! I have thought about wrapping fake gifts and putting them under the tree until I get all the real gifts wrapped. I’m so behind that I am wrapping gifts while on my lunch break at work. (ugh)

    I used red beads on our tree. I think it gives it a classy look. Matter of fact we have decided to do a whimsical tree and a classic/vintage tree next year. I work wth a lady who has 8 trees – two of which are classic trees, 2 mardi gras trees, a cajun tree (with small tabasco bottles) and a man cave tree. The others are in bedrooms. So I went out and picked up more ornaments that were on sale and am getting ready for next year.

  36. Your room is post card perfect! So warm and inviting and perfect for the holiday season. As for your tree, in one word it is ‘gorgeous’. With ongoing renovations in my home (and other events) this is the third year I haven’t put a large tree so therefore am appreciating yours. Thank you so much for sharing Susan. -Brenda-

    P.S.: Like yourself I often use strands of faux pearl beads with a mix of organza ribbon and the gift wrapped presents under the tree usually co-ordinate in some shape or form …. ☺…. which allows the opportunity of recycling of ribbon etc.

  37. That entire vignette just smiles Christmas!! “HEARTS!!!” franki

  38. Susan, I love your beautiful room and so enjoy your blog and fabulous photos! Thank you so much for sharing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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