Last year, Americans reportedly purchased approximately 21.6 million live Christmas trees and 12.9 million artificial ones, more than in previous years.
With the indelible TV commercial challenging us to eat more than one potato chip firmly ensconced in the annals of advertising history, the concept of “more” is certainly part of the great American landscape. And while a three-car garage or multi-computer household no longer makes us prick up our ears, the multi-Christmas tree household may do just that. In fact leading retailers report that the trend toward consumers opting to deck their halls (and bedrooms; kitchens; kids’ rooms, etc.) with Christmas trees–vs. the usual wreaths, swags, and garlands– is growing each year.
“The two-plus tree household is evidence that the family Christmas tree has evolved into a design feature…rather than the main traditional decoration,” said American Christmas Tree Association Executive Director Jami Warner. “Because Christmas trees are available in so many different styles that can fit any space or budget, there’s really no obstacle to buying a different tree for every room in the house–as well as for the front and back yards.” (ACTA website)
What’s trending now is how many ways consumers can use traditional and non-traditional trees as design features to complement their décor, lifestyles, and even express their own personalities, much in the same vein great furnishings, wall color or artwork does. While Grandma Martha’s bulging 8-foot tall Blue Spruce with its tinseled boughs and popcorn-laced branches may have once been the hallmark of a traditional season, contemporary Christmas connoisseurs appear to focus more on style than sentiment.
“I actually started with a small tree in my bedroom when I was growing up, in addition to what my parents had in the living room,” said Lewiston, Maine resident Sharon Pomerleau, adding that even then she saw no reason to confine the joy that goes with Christmas tree-gazing to a family space.
Today, the joy in joyeux noel is manifested in Christmas tree styles and shades that trumpet our favorite colors, textures, shapes, and aspirations. Sapphire blue, fuchsia, really red, plum purple, onyx or even rainbow-hued trees in different sizes are available to fill our foyers and brighten our bedrooms, with the trend toward personalizing with items that reflect who we are making for a spectacular season. Available in styles ranging from regular to flatback (to stand flush to a wall), slim, narrow, etc., there is no shortage of festive, fashionable trees to accommodate our every whim and space. Websites like www.balsamhill.com, www.alibaba.com, www.christmascentral.com, www.treetime.com, and many others make it easy to realize our dreams of deciduous–or artificial–decorating!
In the Boston suburb of Wellesley, Massachusetts, interior designer Hillary Thomas turned an entertaining client’s powder room into a gracious holiday space when she trimmed a counter-sized Lucite Christmas tree (available online) with small fragrant soaps, tiny bottles of lotion, lipsticks, packages of moist towelettes, and more. In the open-concept kitchen, a 6-foot Douglas Fir (yes–the real thing) was trimmed with ribbons cut from plaid kitchen towels, cranberries and dried fruit strung together, tiny festive index cards with favorite family holiday recipes, family photos of holiday baking parties, and more.
Last year in Arlington, Virginia, single dad Matt Collins opted for a traditional, natural tree in the living room of his 1,200-square foot townhouse, with a tabletop-sized artificial one in blue, 7-year-old son Ty’s favorite color, on Ty’s bedroom desk.
Dedicated fans of auto racing, father and son scoured dollar stores, toy stores, and sports memorabilia websites, finding items and gear that ranged from model sports cars to miniature plastic helmets, small trophies, toy car parts, small flags and banners, and affordable, even signed mementos from Ty’s racing heroes, turning them into singular ornaments for the personalized bedroom tree.
“At our Christmas party, everyone ended up in Ty’s room and talked about his tree for weeks to come,” dad Matt recalled.
“You can express yourself in your trees the way you would on a canvas or a stage when you think about it,” designer Thomas said. “Christmas trees are another art form, and with the opportunity for a duo or trio of trees (or more!) in the holiday spirit, there’s just no limit.”