Friday, December 28, 2007

Decorating your Christmas Tree with Meaning

Do you remember the fun and excitement every year when decorating the Christmas tree? All the tinsel and silver baubles. What did they mean? Were they just pretty decorations? This year put meaning into your tree decorations. At the same time, teach your children the true meaning of Christmas.

First of all the tree. Normally an evergreen pine tree. The evergreen symbolizing the everlasting life we have in Christ. The green color is a symbol of new life and a fresh start.

Start with a string of white lights. These symbolize how Jesus came into the world to be a light to everyone.

Add a string of colored lights. These symbolize the different people and nations of the world. Also that Christ told us to be a light for the rest of the world.

Gold tinsel indicates that we are royalty. Children of the King of Kings.

Now add candy canes. There is a lot of symbolism hidden in a simple candy cane. The cane is like the Shepard's crooks. Christ came as the Shepard for his flock. He was also the lamb led to the cross for us. Then the colors red and white. Christ shed his blood (red) to wash us as white as snow (white). If there are green stripes in the cane this symbolizes the everlasting life we have in Jesus.

Get small sheep and tie fishing gut on them to hang them in the tree. We are all Christ's sheep whom he came to save. Also he was the lamb led to the cross for us. Jesus shared his first home with cattle and possibly goats. Why not hang a few of these too?
Tip! If you are decorating a christmas tree that is real make sure it is fresh. You can tell if a tree is fresh or not by bending the branches.

Angels were the messengers to Mary, Joseph and the Shepard's. Get your children to make their own angels to hang in the tree?

The star of Bethlehem lead the wise men to baby Jesus. Hang several stars - both big and small - in the tree.

Gifts were brought to the baby. Wrap small boxes in gay wrapping paper to add color and variety to your tree.

Christ came to earth to die for us so we could have eternal life. Make a few crosses from twigs of wood and add them to your tree.

To top it all - place a star, angel or gold crown at the top of your tree.

Still have space? Then think of other items like a small bible, manger, camels, donkey, purple streamers indicating royalty, etc. Ask your children for their ideas too. They may just surprise you with their insight.

Blessings from Africa MissTy (Tania Collins) Tania is a single mom to 2 special red-heads (8 & 5 yrs). To support them she has 2 infant websites growing and developing at Total Baby Guide and at TotalBabyGuide. Why 2 sites? Check her blog for her story.

Christmas Tree Decorating - 4 Steps to the Perfect Christmas Tree

You have your Christmas tree in place, be it real or artificial, and now you need to decorate it. Follow the four steps below and achieve a beautifully decorated Christmas tree this year.

Step One: Lights. Place the lights on the Christmas tree first. Wind and secure the strands of lights to the branches in the centre of the tree coming out no further than mid way along the branches. The exception to this rule is when the lights are novelty lights such as lanterns or candles, which need to be displayed at the ends of the branches for best effect. Be generous with your lights as they give the tree an opulent effect and give it impact when viewed at night. I often use 2 to 3 strands of lights on a 6-foot Christmas tree.

Step two: Garlands. Next come the garlands. Drape them over the branches in a horizontal, looping fashion towards the centre of the tree. Placing garlands midway along the branches can make the tree appear fuller, while leaving space for hanging ornaments.

Step Three: Ornaments. Place the ornaments on the branches, both on the ends and towards midway to fill any gaps. Graduate the size of ornaments from small at the top to larger at the base. Working with one style of ornament at a time (eg gold balls), distribute them evenly over the tree. Follow with the next style of ornament such as bells and distribute them evenly. By working with one style at a time the ornaments are evenly mixed over the entire tree. Continue until the tree looks adequately "dressed". Stand back and view the tree from different viewpoints, identifying gaps and filling with additional ornaments. For an elegant tree keep the decorations simple. Limit the number of styles of ornament to two or three; or work with a particular color scheme to suit your d├ęcor.

Step Four: Final touches. A tree decorated to step three will look well decorated. However sometimes a final touch can make a difference and provide that extra "pizzazz". Finish the tree with final touches by attaching bows, candles (artificial for safety reasons) or flowers to the very ends of branches. What makes them a final touch? They are significantly different from the other ornaments to stand out and as such you do not need many but ensure they are distributed evenly over the tree. Another touch could be the draping of tinsel from each branch (individual strands not bunches) to imitate the effect of icicles. This can be tedious but worth the effort. Of course we cannot forget the Christmas tree topper in what ever shape or form - star, angel, etc.

All that is now required is to place the gifts beneath the branches, breakout the eggnog, sit back and enjoy the festive season. Merry Christmas everyone. May this year's Christmas tree be the best one ever.

Lee-Ann Raddatz comes from a family that has always celebrated Christmas in a big way. She now continues the tradition with her young family. Decorating the Christmas tree has been elevated to an artform in the family and is a source of greatly enjoyed, family rivalry. Visit her site and for more Christmas ideas.