Lessons I’ve Learned From A Tabletop Mini Christmas Tree

7 fun and festive ideas for decorating a mini Christmas tree. Easy inspiration to make your old Christmas tree look like new!

tabletop christmas tree on dresser in living room

If you’re thinking about down-sizing to a smaller Christmas tree, this is the post for you. It’s a big decision, and chances are your family will have something to say about it! Mine definitely did…but at the end of the day, it was my decision to make.

I decorate our home for Christmas by myself, and it became impossible for me to get our big Christmas tree upstairs from the basement. I honestly switched to the mini Christmas tree because it was either that, or no tree at all.

It took everyone, including me, a few years to get used to the tabletop trees. I enjoyed the challenge of making each mini tree look new and different every year. What follows are the various ways I’ve decorated our mini Christmas trees, seven ways in fact. Tabletop Christmas trees are perfect for any home, and are especially good for small spaces. They can perch on a side table, kitchen island, a large mantel, or they can be the centerpiece of a dining table. Take a look, and I’ll see you at the end.

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

Mini Christmas Tree Sources

Grain Sack Ornaments + Willow Bucket

Tiny ornaments made from red striped grain sacks, a grain sack pennant banner, and handmade clay ornaments. A willow bucket container and white string lights. Small gift boxes wrapped in kraft paper.

*Although I tried, I could not find a source for a similar willow bucket.

tabletop christmas tree with mitten banner 14

Buffalo Check + Enamelware

A vintage enamelware basin container with white lights. Red and black buffalo check handmade ornaments along with red balls. White felt stars, and pinecones tucked around the tree base.

See the tree {HERE.}

tabletop christmas tree in enamelware basin 15

Cranberry Garland + Willow Basket

The willow basket returns along with the white lights. Traditional red cranberry garland that has moved around our Christmas decor for many years. Pinecones tied on with twine, red balls, and felt stars.

See the tree {HERE.}

tabletop christmas tree red balls 16

Galvanized Ornaments + Burlap Garland

My personal favorite. Red-trimmed burlap ribbon used as tree garland. Assorted galvanized metal ornaments and one of the cutest galvanized star tree toppers ever. Once again the willow basket returns, along with pinecones, and of course, white lights.

*Galvanized ornaments are no longer available.

See the tree {HERE.}

tabletop christmas tree ribbon garland 17

Red Gingham + White Stars

A darling red gingham bucket container, white lights, and a handmade wool felt star garland. Simple but festive. See our Sutton Place home tour, and more of this mini Christmas tree.

*Red gingham bucket set no longer available.

tabletop christmas tree gingham bucket

A Trio of Trees

After five years, I decided that new holiday decor was needed. This trio of small trees in red plaid buckets was so fun, it was bright and light, and welcoming.

A Pair of Trees in Ohio Stoneware

The trio of trees was reduced to two, and I placed them in Ohio Stoneware…which I loved. The handmade felt ball garland and white lights added sparkle, texture, and a little magic. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was our last Christmas at the Sutton Place house.

I’d like to share a few final thoughts. I’ve actually learned a lot from these tabletop mini Christmas trees. First of all, in the grand scheme of life, the size of your Christmas tree doesn’t matter. What matters is that you make an effort to provide a festive atmosphere for your family.

Second, it’s OK to let some traditions go. When I finally gave myself permission to give up on a big tree, it was such a relief. If I had enjoyed the whole process, it would have been different…but I didn’t. To me, it was just work. So letting all of that go made my Christmas easier, there was still plenty of holiday spirit, and it was definitely less stressful. (Because remember, if you put a big tree up, you have to take it down.)

Finally, I’ve learned that if we grant ourselves just a little bit of grace when we need it the most, life is better. I admire all the bloggers out there who put up multiple big trees during the holiday season…but you won’t find any of that here. What you will find is a mom and grandma who does the very best she can…and with a great deal of love. That is enough for now.

Will I ever go back to a big tree? I have no idea…because another thing I’ve learned is to never say never.

christmas tree with red ornaments

Update 2022

I’m glad I wrote that last paragraph, and included the part about “never say never.” In November of 2021, we made the life-changing decision to sell our house on Sutton Place, and downsize to a smaller home. You can read about our first Christmas at the Sugar Maple house HERE.

It was a pleasure to put up a big tree, because so many aspects of the process had changed with the move. Our kids and grandkids loved it. But the 7 years we used mini Christmas trees as the center of our Christmas celebrations were wonderful, and there was no shortage of holiday cheer.

Now I’m going to turn the tables and ask: “Will I ever go back to small Christmas trees?” I have no idea…but if I’ve learned anything from this whole experience, it’s to never say never!

christmas tree with red plaid ribbon

Thank you so much for listening and for your friendship. Happy holidays!

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  1. Ann,
    I said for years I’d never have a faux Christmas tree. That particular change to a pre-lit faux tree was the best thing I’ve ever done. I did it after both boys left the nest. But all the years prior I put the lights on and hung the ornaments while my husband and two sons cheered me on from the side lines.
    Good for you on both making the tabletop trees look fabulous and for now being able to enjoy a larger tree.
    Karen B.

  2. Merry, Merry Christmas to you and your family! Thank you so much for this post. I have been using 2 table top trees since we downsized 10 years ago but I’ve been contemplating a narrow, 5 or 6 foot tree for next year. I first need to go through all of the ornaments and dispose of most! A fresh, new look will be in our home next year, I do believe. Yes, never say never! I love the baskets and tubs you’ve used to house the trunk and stand. That will be on my list for next year too. Thank you for your blog!

  3. Gail L Martin says:

    I bought a white tree a few years back and decorated it and the main tree all big of course. Last year and this year as well, I slapped some red vintage balls that I found at my mom and dads house, a red M and called it a day. It is very retro looking. My friends love it. Next year I may just put up this tree only and not fool with my big tree. I am getting to where I hate the mess and the Christmas boxes that my son does not want to put back in the storeroom. What an idea !!!!

  4. We down-sized to a 7’ pre-lighted pencil tree last year and it was a good decision. It is light weight, gives the impression of a much larger tree, but is so easy to decorate—last year it was red, this year it is silver. Very easy and very pretty!

  5. Debra Matcovich says:

    Hello, I agree you have to do what’s easier less stressful to enjoy the holiday. For me I’m not ready for a table top tree, but looking for a new tree. I do things in other ways to make it easier. I see I’m using less Christmas decor then winter decor which I can leave up. I don’t decorate my dining room with the exception of my table. I don’t use the room for the holidays so why put everything out that no one sees it. I also don’t put my original Department 56 village up and now you Putz houses. I enjoy my decor even more not being exhausted decorating.

  6. Kathy Scheibel says:

    I am right there with you! You said it perfectly! I’m ready for tabletop this year. It has just seemed like last these last few years and that doesn’t feel right. Your home is beautiful as well as your trees. Thank you so much for your inspiration🎄

  7. Having read your wonderful posts through the years, I must say that this is one of my all-time favorites! The smaller tree enhances the work to fun ratio involved at Christmastime, and your words of wisdom are simply priceless. Thank you!

  8. Since I have become a pack rat, there is no room for my big Christmas tree. Last year we put up a small 4′ tree on our coffee table with the Nativity set under it. It was beautiful. My SO does help some and it’s a nice together activity. I would like a themed tree using my souvenir doll collection, too. I am still looking for an affordable, slimmer tree with colored lights. The old tree is tired!

    1. Try a pencil tree. I am sure it would showcase your doll collection perfectly. Tucking decor into the branches is easy and holds up well!

  9. I like all the holidays and when I decorate it is I by the “tried and true rule of whatever goes up will have to be put back up.” Every holiday is only putting out what we truly enjoy or find useful. Gets less and less each year. The six kids all have their own traditions, so we are lucky if we get to talk with them. We gave them most of the decorations.
    Love your blog and enjoyed the small trees.

  10. Dear Ann,
    I love your transparency- and your blog. What did you do in 2019?

    I’ve done a 4’ table top tree the past 7 years because our kids are adults and don’t live in our region. So we travel to our kids homes for the holiday because we have a more flexible work schedule. It alleviates the stress of holiday travel in their busy work schedules too. We have local friends and extended family who we enjoy entertaining throughout the holidays so we do decorate our home. But my husband and I have found we enjoy the process of decorating AND undecorating more as a new “together” holiday time project. A small tree is easy to keep updated and fun to decorate together. It’s reminiscent of when we were first married 35 years ago before our kids were born. Though we deeply cherish the memories of a big holiday tree and decorating it with our kids when they were living at home, we have found joy in this change to a small tree. The big tree and decorating it for just my husband and I and our entertaining times was just empty after our kids moved. We have found new joy in this season making our new simpler traditions. I won’t say we won’t ever go back to a big tree, but like I see with my mother and her tabletop tree, priorities in how we spend holiday time has changed.

  11. I love my little tree! I put it on a vintage draftsman’s stool so the end height and shape still mimic a standard tree. It’s really fun and manageable to create a new theme every year and, as you said, the set up and take down is hugely improved with a wee tree.

  12. Jan Fusco says:

    Oh how I wish I could get this tree from Balsam Hill. They no longer have it.

  13. Dear Ann,
    I am hoping to downsize this year and really loved your thoughts about such a drastic change. I expect to see the same reaction from my family! But it’s time! Love your Christmas in July…..and really enjoyed the review of your Tabletop Trees….very inspiring!
    Thank you as always for sharing ❤️ Carol

  14. JANET LANGE says:

    Ann, I read your blog faithfully and very much enjoy your ideas and your common sense approach to making a home. We get a fresh tree every year. My husband and I choose it, then he puts it in the stand and takes it to the curb after Christmas. He says he loves a fresh tree. I tell him that’s because he doesn’t do much of the work! We will retire at the end of 2019, so I plan to see if I enjoy it more when I am retired. If I don’t, your post has given me the confidence to switch to a small tree. Thank you!

  15. Ellen Sorce says:

    I have a very small artificial tree on my kitchen table. White lights, pearl garland and my granny’s antique ornaments.

  16. Suzanne Vaughan says:

    Plates should be taken down. They are way to distracting and take away from the focus of the pretty trees. 😊

  17. I LOVE it!! Plus, having a smaller tree gives you a lot more options to change it up each year without breaking the bank. Fantastic.
    It is hard, and I think a lot of us “Christmas fanatics” (Myself included) struggle, but I think it’s worth it.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  18. Good for you! It’s Christmas, supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year not the most stressful time of the year. We didn’t give gifts for several years then last year we did. You have to adjust with the changing seasons of the year as well as the changing seasons of life.

  19. Dear Ann,
    I’m at the place of giving up on the big tree and plethora of Christmas decor. I know it will be stress relieving and make life easier. Like yours, I’m sure my family will have objections and negative comments….but they are not the ones doing the decorating.

    I am interested in how you anchor your trees in the containers.


  20. Last year I did try to not decorate as many areas. But I love Christmas! It’s hard for me to not go overboard.
    My granddaughter started putting up my Village for me a few years ago. She got engaged this summer. I’ve already told her she canhVe the village as soon as she has a place for it. Knowing me I’ll probably find something to replace in that big area.😁
    But I agree.. We should only do what we want since we do most or all of the work.

  21. Thanks so much for posting this.

  22. I love that you’ve downsized your Christmas Tree. I’ve done the same since we moved to a smaller home 6 years ago. It’s a work in progress each year! I put up 2 small trees and one is in our Master Bedroom. That one is our ‘Travel Tree’. I’ve purchased key chains in various locations we’ve traveled to and attach them to the tree with red ribbon. It’s the most fun to put up each year because it’s a reminder of special places we’ve visited. Key chains are a great souvenir! They are inexpensive, small and easy to pack when coming home. The other one is more traditional in the living room but is also a small 3 ” pre-lit tree. Thanks always for your wonderful tips that are down to earth and so timely for me.

  23. Sandi Magle says:

    I poked in on this, because we are getting up and age and 4-5 Christmas trees in the house are getting to be an issue. This year I may be facing a knee replacement as late as Thanksgiving or goodness—in December.

    I have to ask, How could you give up years of collecting special family ornaments. Themed trees can be lovely, but….just a thought?

  24. Nancy Walden says:

    For the last 12-15 years, we’ve celebrated our family Christmas at one of my kids’ houses. After a year or two, I gave up buying a fresh tree every year and bought a small tabletop tree. I used it for 3 or 4 years before I noticed a “Walden Pine” when I was shopping at Home Depot. It was a great price, pre-lite, only 7 feet tall and combined with the name (our last name is Walden), I couldn’t resist! The big plus for me is that I have room for a combination of beautiful glass ornaments and all the handmade ornaments made by my kids, mother or sister-in-law. I store the tree in a tree bag in the garage so it’s fairly easy for me to bring it in and set it up by myself. Some years I’m the only one who even sees my tree but it makes me happy and that’s what is important!

  25. I hear ya Ann. In my almost 40 years of marriage I believe hubby decorated our first tree together and then one other year (I should have made note! ha), yet otherwise it’s me. We currently have three 9′ slims (one in dining room, living room and family room), and I have the tree and respective box of ornament labeled for each. My organization skills at work! ha Yet he does not get involved nor really says anything about it all either. Yes I can find this disheartening, and yet I’m figuring this year will be different because I’m on a town holiday walk this year! So excited! Meanwhile, I’m figuring will continue to decorate until some point in time it’s no longer feasible because everything is in the basement. Another thing is no one sees the decorations because Christmas is celebrated at my inlaws. Yet last year I invited two friends over for lunch so at least someone saw all my effort. Yep, got to do it for you and that’s where it’s at right now………. hugs

  26. I too have a table size tree. It is prelighted and trimmed with my bunny ornaments and a silver Colonial Williamsburg star on the top. I love it and it means I am ready for the fun to begin.

  27. Terri Barton says:

    Oh Ann, great sentiment and I appreciate you voicing it! It’s not the size of the tree that makes Christmas, it’s the heart that goes into making Christmas such a special time!❤️

  28. Linda Charlton says:

    Last year we downsized our tree from a 7 ft. twig tree to a 5 ft, white one. One complaint from my daughter and I told her it was my tree and I like it. Yes, if I were younger I would have at least two big trees but I am 70 and I just can’t do that mess anymore. I do other decorating but much less than in earlier years. We have dinner at my younger daughter’s house so that isn’t even an issue anymore. Her house is larger than ours plus she has twins and a 5yo. We all do what we can do.

  29. Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts on doing away with the big tree. You’ve given me such hope that doing the same will not “ruin everyone’s holiday.” I live alone and have visits at Christmas time from family and friends, who still expect me (at 77) to still have a big tree that is beautifully decorated. It’s been a tradition that grandma Pat will have the prettiest tree in the family and they usually aren’t disappointed. However, it’s become such a chore, both to get it out, decorate, then store everything away again that I’ve dreaded the holidays for the past several years. I will be moving to a much smaller home in two years and will not have the space for either a big tree, or the storage space required to maintain it. Truthfully, I’ve been looking forward to that day and downsizing from a big tree to a smaller one is on my list of positive things about leaving my long-time home. You’ve let me know that it can be done and that I’ll be better for it. Thank you.

  30. Ann, thank you for the inspiration !

  31. I love the sentiment, Ann, as well as the various ways you’ve changed your tree to look different every year. That little bit of grace left you free to be creative without worry!! Beautiful! Looking forward to seeing what you do this year… :-)

  32. Love your table top tree! As we get older, it gets harder to do everything we used to do. I made the decision a couple of years ago to give up our fresh cut tree. It was a lot of work to go to the farm, cut the tree, haul it home, get it in the stand and into the house. Then the decorating, the lights the ornaments etc. I loved it but it just became more work. I now have a smaller, artificial tree that I put on the cedar chest in front of the window. It is less work, pre-lit and takes 1/2 the ornaments and I can put it up and take if down when I want without having to worry about a fire hazard. It was hard giving up the tradition of going to cut the tree but our son and his wife don’t seem to mind. :-)

  33. Love this! I gave up a full size tree years ago. I am the only one who decorated it, admired it and took it down. Too much work! When (if) I have grandchildren I will do the full size for them.

  34. We gave away all our big trees, which were lovely, but became a separate holiday event in themselves, setting up, getting the ornaments from the attic, decorating, taking down everything(ugh). I started using the tabletop trees and decorating each one in a different theme. What I love about them is that they are cute, easy to decorate, EASY to move, a biggie and allow for more creativity when you are decorating each tree. Now I just have to cut down on the number of tabletop trees I have!!! I think they probably add up to one big one, haha!!

  35. Patti Painter says:

    Ann, I have enjoyed each of your trees during the time I have been reading your blog. I too have gone to a smaller tree. I have a 5′ alpine tree that sometimes is very rustic and sometimes has a bit of glam to it. I still love to use my other Christmas decor pieces but I agree that using the smaller tree still gives me the festive feel without all of the work. I haven’t pulled the trigger and donated my large tree but who knows, this may be the year. Thanks for sharing.

  36. I was so excited to see this post! Putting up a big tree has been such a chore for me the past few years; so much that many years I did not put up a tree at all. This year I felt that I “needed” to put up a tree so found a smaller, thin tree in the basement and put it up and decorated it. I actually enjoyed it! After reading this, I am excited about decorating the tree differently each year, using items I already have! Thank you for this post, and for saying it’s ok to not have a big tree! This just makes me happy!

  37. Marie Batson says:

    I so agree with you! It just is not worth the time and effort to drag out the bigger tree when I must do it myself and then a couple of weeks later undo it myself. I live alone with children and grandchildren out of town that seldom visit. I love decorating and enjoy the festive look but I now do it with two small trees. This year I really went simple with just the pretty lights (mine are fiber optic) and no other ornaments. I have a lovely mantel decor and dining table center piece and candles everywhere! Of course the front porch is decorated as well to greet my visitors. I have my memories when it took me a week to do the decorating and another week to bake etc. This will be my final year to send so many pkgs also as the grand kids just want gift cards and shopping, postage etc. too much as I approach 80.

  38. Beverly O says:

    Beautiful trees and a beautiful post! I think sometimes we don’t give ourselves permission to do something that seems like less – when, really, it is not! I, too, have had a couple of years where I only used a small table-top tree and we still enjoyed Christmas. (I even had a couple of years with no tree at all! Again, we still enjoyed Christmas.) Christmas memories are about the things shared and time spent together. When we are doing all the traditional things alone, it just doesn’t add up to warm, fond memories and becomes more of a burden. Good for you in making a table-top tree a new tradition and I hope you and your family enjoy time together making warm, fond memories for later!

  39. Last year we didn’t put up our pre lit tree. The entire middle section wasn’t lit anymore. The grandkids were so disappointed. But at age 68 we are tired of hauling thst big tree upstairs for 1 day. So, this year we bought a pre lit , skinny tree. When the lights die…it will be the last one!
    Your table top tree is the best! It’s beautiful and it’s only a fraction of what’s most important at Christmas. Have a beautiful Christmas with your family.

  40. Thank YOU ❣️
    Another mom / Grandma that switched to small trees. The Grandboys decorate the front porch tree in 15 minutes and the cabin tree takes a bit longer ~ but now it doesn’t feel like work !
    Enjoy 💕

    1. Ann Drake says:

      That’s the secret. It should never feel like work. Merry Christmas!

  41. Kristine Dixon says:

    You’re tabletop tree is beautiful! Thank you for sharing several years of decorating it. This is the first year for me to have a small tree, and it was a huge change!

  42. I 100%, totally agree with you!! We moved, tried to downsize all round, but were guilt tripped the 1st year into a big tree for the grandkids (for the 1 day they visited!!)…gave the tree away when we took it down. Now we have a tree shorter than me that works tabletop or floor AND it’s prelit!!👏👏👏 I like using my old ornaments around in baskets or glass containers. Boom!!

  43. I love this. If I don’t get a tree up the weekend of Thanksgiving it doesn’t get put up. Half of the tree doesn’t ‘t light up and I really didn’t want to invest in another one. So I think I will try this next year. Thank you for this post. I am inspired.

  44. Hi Ann, I too have been thinking about going with a smaller tree. We live in Texas & don’t have basements here so our tree & ornaments are stored in the attic. As we are getting older, it worries me when my husband has to bring the tree & heavy boxes down those steep stairs. I put up 3 trees – a 7-1/2 footer in the living room, smaller 6 footer (nostalgia tree decorated with ornaments made by our children, grandchildren & ornaments from special trips, occasions, etc) in the breakfast room & a 4’ tree in the dining room. The 7-1/2’ is beautiful & we love it, but it’s big & so heavy! Even though it is a lighted tree, it still it takes such a long time to decorate & take down. The 4’ tree in the dining room is really pretty. We put it on a pedestal plant stand, so it ends up about 6 feet tall. It turned out so pretty that I’m seriously thinking about getting rid of the 7-1/2’ tree, putting the 4’ tree in the living room next year & doing something different in the dining room. The 4’ tree takes less than half the time to decorate & it’s every bit as pretty as the larger tree. Thanks for your post. It has made me realize that what I’ve been considering is what you & others are already doing because it just makes life easier. I wish you a Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year. I look forward to all your posts.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Cindy…three trees! Even if you downsized to just one it would be easier for you and your husband. Hoping you have a Merry Christmas!

  45. Julie Briones says:

    I love that last lesson you’ve learned, Ann… “never say never”. I agree! Love my small tree, however, I’m thinking of going a wee bit bigger next year! We’ll see if I can get sponsored for that! LOL! ;-) Pinning!

  46. Marjory Woodburn says:

    Ann I love your blog and look forward each day to seeing what you are bringing to the table! Although I still decorate a large tree, I loved your ideas for a small one. Each year it gets harder to haul up from the basement, so I plan on saving this one for the future. Thanks so much for blogging and keep up the great ideas!

  47. Sheila DelCharco says:

    My parents in the last few years have started using a smaller (live) tree that mom puts on a plant stand. We aren’t ready for that yet but I did simplify the amount of lights and ornaments we put on our tree this year. I don’t change my theme from year to year. I just like to enjoy our favorite ornaments and I declutter those that don’t bring me joy. I love the way you decorate your little tree and I love your handmade ornaments!

  48. Jenifer Scherlin says:

    This year we are going to be out of town for Christmas and I decided no tree at all!
    I’m 10 weeks out from a complete knee replacement and couldn’t begin to think about all the decorating I normally do every year. Next year will be a different story !!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Good luck with your knee operation and Merry Christmas!

  49. Karen K from Buffalo says:

    I LOVE the idea of downsizing that green furry beast that I can no longer reach the top of! I, too, have all my kids out of the area & it’s really silly to put up such a big tree that takes up so much room. I will definitely share this idea with the “other half’ as we both hesitated in putting one up in the first place. And the dogs will no longer be able to eat my popcorn & cranberries strings!! Thanks Ann!!

  50. I’m so happy I now have permission to have a little tree next year. Can’t wait to see how I decide to decorate it. Possibly bulbs from when the kids were litte???? A “Simply Nostagic Tree”!
    You are such an inspiration!

  51. Ann
    I couldn’t agree more. We have a big tree and bringing it up from the basement and taking it down are 2 chores I dread.
    Removing as much stress from our lives and adding more joy is the way to go.
    Merry Christmas

  52. All five of the trees are beautiful. I like the changes and additions you made each year. While I don’t have a tabletop tree, we did downsize to one where I can reach the top. I miss having a large real tree, but it’s so much work. I’m much more relaxed before and after the holidays this way.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Merry Christmas Patricia and best wishes for a lovely New Year!

  53. Hello Ann,
    I have had a small tree for some years now due to lack of floor space. My living area is open plan and there just isn’t the room to have the 3 metre beauty my heart desires. Our Christmas in Australia is far more casual that yours. Being the middle of summer real trees sadly do not survive very long so fake rules. My very realistic looking tree is only ever decorated in white and silver but this year I am adding a touch of blue in keeping with the new rug. I am going to put it up today!

  54. This is absolutely the best advice. 🎄. We’re retirees. Children and grands live out of state. Hardly any guests during Christmas holidays. We travel to see family most years. When it becomes mostly a chore without a lot of pleasure, it’s time to downscale the holiday decor. When my parents and in-laws began to feel the same, I vowed to never feel this way, but now I wholeheartedly and unapologetically agree. 🎄

    1. Ann Drake says:

      The most important thing is the “unapologetically” part. Merry Christmas!

  55. Lovely post Ann, I appreciate the ideas, life does get better with simplification!

  56. Great post! You have a beautiful tree every year and don’t have to stress about it. Merry Christmas to you and best wishes for a delightful New Year!

  57. I’ve been moving away from the big tree for a few years since my storage is in the attic and it was just getting dangerous moving the big boxes up and down by myself. I have fun with lots of little trees. Some are metallic and collapsible, some have lights and others don’t. Some are fir trees and others are birch and leafless. The real small ones (6″-12″) spend most of their time on the top of bookshelves – a mini pine forest during the summer and I don’t have to worry about watering them. The birch ones are in my bedroom and I use the timer function during the winter so there is always a soft welcoming light when I go to bed. I decorate it, or not, depending on my mood. One year I bought a bunch of small plastic boxes (shoe box size) and divided my decorations by type so it is easy to do a Santa tree or a vintage tree. The boxes are stored on an upper closet shelf which was not being used efficiently. Easy to get & put back. I need to put notes in certain boxes to indicate the family history of some of them.

    A favorite one of mine is the kitchen tree -green, metallic, collapsible. I use tiny kitchen ornaments. I restock my tea supply by getting tea bags which are in different colored packets and use them as ornaments. Cookie cutters are piled high in bowls.

    That collection of colored balls – they go into one large box. During Christmas, I put them in my glass bowls around the house. It is a touch of color. Sometimes, I am slow to put them away, leaving a few around the house during the winter months. All colors work for now, blue & silver for January, red for February and green for March. Since the dogwood tree finally dropped its leaves this week, some of those balls will be put up on them.

    By the way, my parents did not put up a tree until we were in bed on Christmas Eve. Coming down the stairs to a lit, decorated, and lots of presents was a joy! Not so much for the parents who had just gotten into bed! I am still “late” in decorating and keep it all up to the Feast of the Magi.

  58. This is exactly how I’m feeling. My big tree is so heavy to lug up the basement stairs; here it is December 13th and I still don’t have any decorations up this year! Thanks for sharing some great ideas and encouraging us to let the stress go and just enjoy the season!

  59. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    You are one smart woman, but I already knew this! You can do whatever you want.
    Just have happy holidays. Thanks for sharing.
    I don’t have a Christmas tree as such. I have many fresh trees around our home that will be planted in the spring in our backyard wildlife habitat for ALL to enjoy. Some are trimmed, some are in silver champagne buckets, some are on the hot chocolate station, you get the ideal. Just add a star to the top of one and give thanks for the Christ child and family!

  60. Sandy K Park says:

    Oh Ann, welcome to the wonderful world of small trees. I have 3 in my home and leave 2 of them up all year long. Yes I know that’s crazy, but I love my trees and want to enjoy them for more than a month. My trees are: one southwest ornaments tree, one travel tree with ornaments that I’ve corrected from our travels and one pink flamingo ornaments tree. Yes my trees are all over the place – but that’s just me. I’m wishing you and your family a safe and Merry Christmas.

  61. Sandra Gumm says:

    OHHHHH! I so agree with every word! As I have gotten older, I enjoy less, the ‘work’ involved in decorating for the holidays, yet I still want a festive home. It’s my home, and I feel that I have the right to decorate it in any way I want. Big tree, little tree, whatever. BTW, I love all the trees!💖

  62. I enjoyed looking at each one of your trees but enjoyed most your thoughts at the end of the post. Heartfelt and spot on. Happy Holidays!

  63. Sandi Magle says:

    This is a lovely post—we gave up our huge tree and donated it. I found a 15$ tree(sparse and vintage looking) to go in my antique tree stand. It takes up less room and only can handle 6 boxes of ornaments instead of 12…LOL. We love it…though I know I have to cull 6 boxes. But, I think it is time to pass those ornaments on to my kids. IF they want them.

  64. Thank you so much for this – I needed the encouragement to not have to do decorate just like everyone else does – if I do it my way I’m not a failure, I’m just me!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Well said…and you are definitely NOT a failure. Merry Christmas!

  65. I used to have 2 trees, then went to a 9′ tree many years ago.Last year we took one of the sections out of the tree and made it a 7′ tree, more manageable since I also do all the decorating.I agree with all your points, simplifying the decorating each year is still festive.Love your tree and looking forward to the house tour.

  66. Thank you, my mom is thinking of a table top tree…now I have ideas!

  67. Shirley Graham says:

    I have a small tree too! One I use to use near the kitchen & I have tiny ornaments that my husband & I always enjoyed. I have down sized so enjoy the “littler tree”! It has tiny lights too. Have a glorious Christmas! Always enjoy your blog. Thanks!

  68. Barbara Williams says:

    Merry Christmas,
    I love the idea of a smaller tree and this year did the same. I put my small tree that was my mom and dad’s on a table that was my grandparents with ornaments made by children, family, gifts from other special people! So many memories come flowing back to me… Thank You for your many great ideas and all your sharing, Barbara

  69. I cut back from two trees to one this year Ann. Pretty sure that the table top tree will be my next move. I think there is so much you can do to make the house look festive with some twinkling lights in the right places. I enjoy your blog for your beautiful, but PRACTICAL, decorating and recipe ideas. Thank you for the inspiration. Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends!🎄

  70. Linda Charlton says:

    We have been downsizing our Christmas decor slowly over the last few years. My husband does not like all the fuss and muss. The ghost of Christmas past is alive and well in his mind. He would like to skip it entirely. Since my younger daughter has been hosting , we keep it much simpler.It’s the companionship, not the decorations or the food.

  71. Susan Barr says:

    I love each of the trees you’ve decorated. But what caught me was your comment “That is enough for now.” This is what I;m learning these senior days—that “good enough” is pretty darn good! It’s all in my attitude. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  72. Your tree is beautiful. There are definitely advantages to a tabletop tree. You don’t have to rearrange furniture to make room for it and it is not expensive to change the look from year to year. We have a huge artificial tree that my husband sets up and lights. I do the decorating and it doesn’t get done in one day by any means. I don’t change the look too often because of the expense involved for such a big tree. If I had to do it alone I would definitely have to downsize, at least to a smaller prelit tree.

  73. I don’t mind dealing with the tree, and fortunately my son is around to haul it out for me. What I do mind, it’s a chore, is unpacking and putting out the collection of Santas and other knick knack Christmas things….because it’s an even bigger chore to rewrap and store. My decorating is very simple now with just a few touches to enhance my evedyday decor. It is sooooo much less stressful. You always do such a beautiful job and always give me good ideas to use in my home. Thank you!

  74. Your post today was meant to be. I started with tabletop trees years ago. I don’t have any help decorating for Christmas so I went a step further. I put away the little trees with all the decorations still on it ( in a big plastic bag). I love all the different ways you decorate your tree but I am a traditionalist and leave it the same every year. I am alone for Christmas but decorate all over just for me but it’s getting to be a chore so I think this will be the last year that I will decorate… health issues and death in the family this year… not in the Christmas spirit at all. It was so refreshing reading all the comments about women needing a break and putting emphasis on family and friends.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Blessings to you Yvonne…and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

  75. I learned to never say never a long time ago too. I did size down a little last year. I went from 9ft. To 6.5ft.. At 72, my husband is still able to bring it in from the garage. (He is in much better shape than me. 😀)My children and grandchildren who are all grown (youngest grandchild is 17), decorate it after Thanksgiving Dinner. Right now that part is easy. Where I have to give myself a break is everything else. This year was the hardest. I just don’t have the strength anymore. So I am on the road to SIMPLIFY! Sorry about the long comment.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Never apologize for a long comment…I love them. I hope you get to feeling better and Merry Christmas!

  76. First let me say your tree is beautiful. I totally agree that we must adjust our decorating plan to our preference and situation. There was a time that I had a tree in every downstairs room. I liked doing it, never did like the take-down! Now, touches of Christmas here and there are all I want and need. Of course, now with a puppy, a big-dog puppy, decor has to be a little more thoughtful. She thinks everything is for her. You have given me another idea, an idea that will please my husband (Mr. Christmas….) and keep our sanity. Thanks for sharing.

  77. I think this is my last big tree. Wouldn’t have done it this year except I have a two and a half year old grand child (I am 75!). I, too, do it all by myself and have since the kids left home. I love the tree, but all the decorating has taken me two weeks – don’t have the energy and stamina i used to have. My question is what to do with all the ornaments I have collected. Most have sentimental value, and no, the children don’t want them. They have their own style. I may just put them in the attic and let them deal with them “someday”! Looking forward to two weeks of enjoying the holiday next year!!!

    1. Definitely put the ornaments in the attic and let the kids deal with them ‘whenever.’ Styles come and go and one day perhaps the kids will appreciate them along with the memories they represent.

    2. Ann Drake says:

      I still have all my ornaments in the attic. I haven’t offered them to my children yet…but I doubt they will want them anyway, so they are in the attic until I decide something different. Merry Christmas!

  78. I love your ideas for a tabletop tree. Each one is decorated beautifully. Silksareforever.com has willow pot planters. They’re darker in color for their single pots., but they’re really nice. The gray ones have to be purchased in packs of 2 or 4.
    Merry Christmas!

  79. I love this post Ann! It’s not just about using a smaller tree…it’s about giving us grace to do what feels right, given our circumstances, whether it’s age related or not. Your trees….all of them, are beautiful. We just got done decorating ours…it’s full-size, but my hubby and I did it together. If I didn’t have his help…I would have a tabletop tree, too, I’m sure. We discussed, just yesterday what would we do with all the family ornaments, if we had a tabletop tree. For now…I’m going to enjoy mine…I’ll ponder that question next year! Hope you enjoy your tree, too. It’s lovely! ;)

  80. Teddee Grace says:

    I have even taken it one step further! I enjoy making large, high-end faux flower arrangements and often do not want to take these expensive displays apart just for the holidays, so I simply add in a few branches of varied-textured faux greenery (seek out and buy the best quality you can find and afford) and hang ornaments on these arrangements. I’m retired, single and living in a one-bedroom apartment so can decorate as I please and this suits me and means I don’t have to deal with a tree at all.

    1. I love this idea. Can we have a photo of ehat you do or maybe Ann could followup with a way to do this with her fabulous creative thoughts.

  81. You wrote exactly what I’ve been feeling. I am also a mom and grandma who does all the decorating solo and is tired. Decorating has become more work than joy, something I used to love to do. This year, also in an effort to downsize, I bought a 7′ slim flocked artificial tree. We have always been a large real tree kind of family. I really wasn’t sure going in to this is I could handle not having a fresh real tree but I am loving the simplicity of the smaller tree which was pre-lit as an added bonus!

  82. Martha Hansen says:

    I love this post. Doing a big tree is getting to feel like more and more of a burden each year. So maybe some changes are in order. Great post and thoughts, Ann.

  83. I’m struggling with this issue. I have always had a big tree and love it. This year however I had a shoulder replacement and was unable to put the tree up. It’s just not the same but I am considering buying a small tree for next year and forgo having to ask my daughter and her husband to bring up all the stuff from the basement. I may wait till next year to make my decision. I really love my big tree and I think I am just not ready to admit I’m to old to do all the work anymore.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I agree it’s not the same…and it may take a few years to get used to a smaller tree. My kids were full of comments the first two years but after that, they just accepted it and now they don’t seem to care one way or the other. You don’t have to admit you are too old…just admit that you want things to be easier. Merry Christmas!

  84. Sheran Steading says:

    Your tree is lovely but I truly don’t understand how you did it. What did you do with all those precious ornaments your kids made in school? I have been married over fifty years and many of our ornaments have been collected from trips. Two of my favorites are from the early days when money for decorating was nonexistent. I took cotton string and glue and made shapes on waxed paper, then painted when dry. The only two left are our names, but I cherish them, along with other “masterpieces “ made by tiny hands long ago. It’s been especially bittersweet this year as I placed our daughter’s creations on the tree. I suppose my tree is junky. But it tells a story that is ours alone. Merry Christmas, Ann. I look forward to reading your email every day!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      All of those ornaments are still in the attic. I’m not sure what will happen to them but for now, that’s where they will stay. I agree they are precious, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. Merry Christmas!

      1. Sheran Steading says:

        Perhaps you could share the old ornaments with your children. I completely understand your need to simplify, but if I could have only one thing at Christmas, it would be my tree with all those saved treasures. Then again, I don’t write a blog and I don’t need to have my home tour ready, although my son says the house looks like a magazine article. I’m not sure that’s a good thing! Sheran

  85. Ann, I’m with you! I made the change as well and have enjoyed it so much more over the past few years. Your trees are all beautiful!

  86. Marty Cotton says:

    I have put up a tabletop tree for the last couple of years and I am very happy with it -they make such beautiful ones nowadays!! It is very freeing, and I don’t dread the “taking the tree down” syndrome nearly as much because I can take it down and put it away so much faster and easier! Yours are just beautiful!!

  87. Charlotte says:

    It is my belief that everything in “miniature” is more charming! The beauty of a small, lovingly decorated Christmas tree like yours takes my breath away.
    Merry Christmas!

  88. Kathleen G says:

    I love them all Ann, especially your first one with your homemade decorations:).
    My little tree has a mix of homemade and little Christmas balls ornaments.
    I’ve read your blog for years and enjoy reading your updates of your home, but especially when you became a Grandma:)!.
    Merry Christmas Ann,
    Kathleen in Az

    1. Ann Drake says:

      You are the best Kathleen…I appreciate your friendship so much. Merry Christmas!

  89. I actually switched to a vintage table top aluminum tree this year. My husband and I are getting older and we also didn’t want to move furniture. I put it on an old school desk in front of my old door. I love it, so much easier and it all looks very festive. I love your blog, look forward to reading it every morning. My grandson helped decorate a five foot in another room, he still reminds me of his other grandmother’s bigger tree, but I’m sticking with my decision. He can have the best of both worlds, right? Merry Christmas and a Happy New Yesr, and long live the tiny trees, wink, wink!!!!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh that competition with the other grandmother!!! You have the right attitude though. Two grandmothers is definitely the best. Merry Christmas!

  90. Keela Hess says:

    Good Morning Ann,
    I have to agree with you that sometimes a lady has to decide what works best with her when it comes to decorating for Christmas. I had the same problem when it comes to putting up a tree. This year decided to do something different. Went and bought 24″ pre-lit trees but also added 100 more mini white lights to the tree. (Bought 4) Put each tree in a beautiful white planter and placed them around my home. Also used beautiful garland on the fire place mantel and put 100 mini white lights on the garland and decorated the mantel as a beautiful center piece for our informal dining room. I turn off the overhead lights and have the fire place going , the lights from the mantel on, and placed the trees in the two alcove areas. Have garland lite up with my open china side board.
    When my husband comes home I always make sure to have everything lite up. No over head lights on. Beautiful Christmas feeling.
    Early in the mornings have noticed that my husband will go in and turn on all the Christmas lights with the fire place . I truly believes that he has enjoyed this as much as I have.
    Wishing you and your family a Wonderful Christmas!
    Keela Hess

    1. Ann Drake says:

      This sounds lovely…I do the same with my little tree and stairway garland. It’s the perfect Christmas feeling. Thank you and happy holidays!

  91. I really appreciate your comment about granting ourselves grace once in a while. I have really tried to do that this year, even taking a couple of days off work to go shopping and bake, just because I was feeling stressed. It’s hard to do! There are some things I really care about–like Christmas cards–and some I can definitely live without (like putting lights on the bushes outside–ugh). The holidays are definitely better when you put the focus on family and friends.

  92. Carey Dahlstrom says:

    Thank you for this. I bought a smaller tree this year and you are correct my kids had a fit. After 2 years of health issues and multiple close family deaths I just didn’t have it in me (besides I wasn’t in the holiday spirit), so I told the kids if they wanted the big tree they could put it up in their space. Guess what, they did it, they actually do it!! My 3 teenage and 20 something boys did it all by themselves. They got the tree down from the attic and pulled out all the ornaments and at the end of the night the big tree was decorated with the ornaments that were important to them. It’s fun for me to see what they chose and it was so wonderful to sit in the shadows and listen to them talk and laugh over the memories the different ornaments brought to mind. The little tree is downstairs in the kitchen area and I have slowly decorated it with ideas I have seen on blogs etc over the last few weeks. Next year I will go all out on my little tree, and hopefully the boys will lead the charge on the big tree, but this time I will be a helpful elf.

    1. Martha Hansen says:

      How wonderful!

  93. Debra Matcovich says:

    All the different trees are beautiful. I’m not there yet, because I don’t drag the tree out of the garage. I have two helpers. I did add two other trees. One in my bedroom and kitchen. The three foot flocked sparse ones with the burlap on the bottom. No lights, just simple and easy. Merry Christmas.

  94. I set up Christmas trees around my place of employment but while I do enjoy it, it’s still work. When I get home I enjoy my little 4′ tree decorated with my kids school pictures throughout the years in various frames. They get a kick out of seeing themselves and since its only me that sets it up, a small tree is all I have to take down. Bigger isn’t always better…

  95. Shelly Guthrie says:

    Oh Ann, there are so many of us who are right where you are! I too downsized to a smaller tree (and home) a few years ago. It took some getting used to, breaking old traditions, but, my Christmases have held more JOY and less STRESS since doing so. Love all of your trees! I decorated mine with handmade paper ornaments, jingle bells with bows and white lights. As always, thanks for your honesty and open heart posts! Merry Christmas to you & yours! However you celebrate, it’s the people who count :-)

  96. Ann,
    This year I put up the regular big tree but put it in the more formal living room and had no ornaments but just a silver star and lots of little white lights. After 50 plus years I decided to take a break. Have been doing stylized trees since my children moved out to homes of their own but this year just wanted to have everything simpler. My family room and kitchen have plenty of Christmas decor but I used my less is more in those rooms too and Love it. Thank you for your blog and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  97. Thank you Ann!! Loved all the ideas and options! I too am contemplating a smaller tree, but have commitment issues (eye wink). So love your classic designing style.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, and fur baby too!
    God bless,

  98. Love your smaller tree and the different ways you decorated it. Used to decorate the house and the dental office we had. Of course I was much younger. Now do a ‘forest’ of several sizes of small trees, lights Santa elves and small ornaments. Much easier and much, much more fun.

  99. Lorrie Sperling says:

    Thanks for the thoughts. We have gone from a real tree to a artificial tree and that was a big change from taking the kids to pick out and cut down our tree. I remember when my parents went from a tabletop tree to decorating the fireplace. It was just easier. Still festive though and at the end of the day what matters is that we enjoy the Season.

  100. Wow! I plan to post my Christmas living room soon and I have never had a big tree bc of lack of space among other things. I’m so glad that you are content with a small tree. Every version looks fabulous!

  101. I like your smaller tree. I have a cat and have not put up a tree for 2 years because after multiple emergency vet bill (he eats the tree, fake or real doesn’t matter) it is not worth the pain. However, we do decorate with other Christmas touches. It’s good it is about Jesus and the time spent with family and friends.

  102. I love how you are so real! Your trees are beautiful and affordable. I think you are the best!

  103. Botanic Bleu says:

    I love all the variations of your tabletop tree. This year’s is especially pretty with the red-checked bucket and toy truck.


  104. A few years ago I went with just a tabletop tree (ours is 36″ tall) and it was also a relief. We have a tiny house with no good place for a Christmas tree. Every year I either had to block a doorway or closet, or get furniture moved down to the basement, or something that stressed me out. When the kids were grown I finally gave myself permission to stop fighting to put up the full-sized tree (and even that was only 6′ tall!). I do something a little different with it each year, and have even had most of my favorite vintage ornaments on it one year! I also put out Christmas houses, candle, switch out my hutch to Christmas china, bake cookies, send a few cards out, decorate the front porch, back porch and deck (including my potting bench), switch pillowcovers and linens to reds and plaids… I do plenty to make our home festive. I’d love to have a full-sized tree with plenty of room around it, but it’s just not happening here. Loved this post!

    1. It is lovely. I would miss the big tree but can see this will just get to be too much the older I get. I wanted to mention one that I saw that was easy. We live in the PNW where the outdoors and rustic look surround us. It was just three small trees that were rather like little pine trees and some “snow” all over them. No decorations! It was actually lovely and simple and so reflected our region. I’ve thought of switching to that when I get older.

      1. Ann Drake says:

        I have seen this look and love it too. I may be doing it next year!