how lovely are your branches

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Our tree isn’t huge or fancy or all coordinated. But every year we pull a hundred memories out of the ornament box when we decorate. The breakable ornaments are put up top, everything down below is fair game for the kids and they get shuffled and moved all over and the garland gets messed up, but that’s the way we love it.
december 2010 008 1We went to a fake tree when we moved to Lubbock, Texas there wasn’t an abundance of fresh pine trees.  Oh, how I miss the smell!….but don’t miss watering, worrying about it catching on fire, vacuuming pine needles…

It’s a hod podge of family photos (we started this in 2002 and hang a family photo every year…)december 2010 025
crafts made by little hands and lots of love
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yikes! reindeer is missing his eyes…
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at the very top sits an ornament my husband gave me our first year we were married…it would be one of the things I would grab if we had 15 minutes to evacuate our home.december 2010 089
memories of special tripsdecember 2010 093 
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places we’ve lived…december 2010 037

An old key chain of my husband’s that he hides every night somewhere on the tree. The kids LOVE trying to find him in the morning. Some of you do elf on the shelf, we do spikey.
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and a plenitude of It’s a Wonderful Life Ornaments:
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There are a bajillion other trees being shared over at Thrifty Decor Chick’s (Sarah) Christmas tree party:
Happy Christmas tree gazing~


  1. Wow, I LOVE your tree, it's just beautiful! I love the fact you put ornaments in the tree that mean something to you and your family, because really isn't that what Christmas is all about?? Being with our family and loved ones.

  2. Oh, Melissa. I love it. This is my kind of tree. So full of love and family and memories. It's just right. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  3. I think your tree is beautiful and I love what you said about pulling out memories when you pull out the ornaments...that is how I feel about our own tree. It will never grace the pages of a magazine but it fills our hearts every year as we reminice at moments past. Merry Christmas to you.

  4. I love love love it. We have a memory tree in the family room, a kids tree in the playroom, and our coastal tree in the dining room. My memory tree is my favorite.

  5. I love your memory tree. That is exactly how my family does our tree. And I love the stars on the windows, beautiful!! Can I ask where are your curtains from?? Love them.
    [email protected]

  6. I LOVED the little owl! What a fun idea to hide something on the tree - I always heard about the pickle or something like that ... I'm trying to figure out what traditions we are going to claim as ours - I think my boys would like this concept! Now... what am I going to hide?

  7. Oh it is so precious and filled with love! :)

  8. I love a traditional Christmas and ornaments that have memories. My tree has some pretty after Christmas sale ornaments but 75% of it is memory ornaments from the kids or family. I am hoping to make some ornaments for next year that will add more memories! I love your tree and all of it's memories! I think it is a beautiful tree!

  9. Beautiful tree! We used to decorate our tree with ornaments that the boys made and special ones that were given to them. A couple of years ago I packed them all up in individual boxes for my sons. I didn't want them to get broke because I wanted them to have them when they had their own tree to decorate. I just might bring them out again this year.

  10. Oh I love your tree and all the precious memories that are shared with it. That makes the best tree in the whole world. Gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  11. Aww this tree is really nice...add the memories its even better! And I love the stars!

  12. thank you all! xo
    Melanie~you can read about the curtains here:

  13. I feel the same way about my tree...for a moment this year I thought about changing it to make it look more "magazin-ey", but memories flooded my insides when I opened my ornament box and there was no way I was changing it!! I love your lit stars in the windows around the you mind sharing where you found them?

  14. Lovely tree! Nice to use ornaments with memories. I have two that not matter how I decorate the tree, they are hung there.

  15. Beautiful tree!! Ours is the same, ornaments my mom gave me from when I was a kid, new ones that my son picks out and/or makes each year. Love it. And...seriously...Lubbock??? I'm from that area, I live in a small town nearby. It's a small world! Are you still in Lubbock?

  16. I love the homemade goodies...My son started K this year cant wait to see what we get :)

  17. I LOVE the star on top of your tree!! Where did you get it? I need one and nice (non-tacky) ones are hard to find! Thanks!

  18. So pretty! I love your idea of adding a family photo every year. Such a fun idea.

    I use to think that my tree had to be all matchy-matchy but I've learned in the past few years that the special ornaments are the ones I make alongside my girls. So the tone has changed for the tree and the girls are very happy about it. the kids get the tree, I get the rest of the house LOL

  19. Melissa, it's gorgeous!!! I love seeing trees that display family memories and creativity. We have the same Rudolph ornament (but ours has eyes). ;) Love all the "It's a Wonderful Life" ornaments!

  20. I had no idea that there were Its a Wonderful Life ornaments out there! I'm immediately going to do a search on the net...there are some family members (and me!) that are going to find those in their stockings this year.

  21. Dang! You make me want to take a picture of all of my ornaments...great idea! Love your tree!

  22. How beautiful Melissa!

  23. Your tree is beautiful, Melissa! I love the Spikey tradition :)

  24. LOVED this post! I would trade our color coodinated tree for yours any day! All the great memories and all the ornaments made by little hands, You are one very blessed lady :)
    Lots of Love

  25. I love that your tree is like a family scrapbook of things you love and memories of past Christmases. These are the best kind of trees IMO.

  26. you always have such good ideas! i'm thinking of stealing your tradition (hope you don't mind!) of family picture ornaments each year-- i just got married in June, so this first Christmas is a perfect time to start the tradition:)

  27. Melissa, it is all lovely!! Love the Wonderful Life ornaments. :) I LOVE your stars in the windows and those drapes -- did I miss those? Where did you get them? Fab!!

  28. I just love your tree. The little stories wrapped around each ornament is what makes it so special. We also LOVE "Its a Wondeful Life" and watch it every year, I never knew there were ornaments out there. I MUST have the Tom Sawyer Book, if you read this any info you can share would be fantastic!
    Merry CHRISTmas to you and your sweet little family .
    Beth R

  29. Hello, Beth~ I got it at Walgreens when they carried a line of It's a Wonderful Life items. They are pretty tricky to find now, but try Ebay?? Good luck!!

  30. Beautiful! Where did you get your tree I have been thinking about going artificial because the branches can hold more weight, but hate the fake look. Yours looks great! Is it the Williams Sonoma tree?

  31. Anonymous~ the star was from where else? Target after Christmas clearance last year :)

    ~it's a GE "just cut" tree from Lowes. Got it at 6 a.m. the day after Christmas in 2008 for 75% off~ $80. We have loved it.

  32. Melissa,
    I was watching It's a Wonderful Life for the millionth time 2 days ago & I suddenly realized where you got the name for your blog (OK, so I'm a little slow...). Makes me love your blog even more :)


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