Decorating our 2020 Christmas Tree

by | Dec 8, 2020 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday | 62 comments

Our 2020 Christmas tree is finally decorated!  And, I realize that I’m saying “finally” like it’s December 24!  My tree was decorated on December 7 and that’s not late.  It just feels late when I’m scrolling through Instagram and seeing all of the holiday home tours and my tree is still just wearing lights.  We all need to work on our own schedule, though, and this year, my tree was finished a little later than usual and that’s okay.  It’s up in plenty of time for Christmas!

I haven’t changed my Christmas tree decorations dramatically over the past few years, but I’ll just tweak things here and there.  Some years I’ll use certain ornaments and other years I use different ones.  I always reserve the right to add more or less and I like that I can get different looks without having to buy anything new.

2020 Christmas tree | yarn garland | miss mustard seed

grain sack tree skirt | wool pom garland | milk painted ornaments | Wallace sleigh bells | Christmas Tree (but mine has the incandescent lights)

(You might notice that there is fishing line tied to the top of the tree.  We always tie the tree to the wall in a couple of places, so if it’s bumped, climbed, etc. it won’t fall completely over.)

Here’s a little video showing how the tree came together…

Decorating our Christmas Tree 2020 | Miss Mustards Seed

Isn’t that fun?

The lights were the big bummer of the tree this year.  It’s a beautiful artificial tree, but about half of the lights weren’t working this year.  I took some time to try to figure out which bulb or fuse was causing the problem, but with so many lights out, it was a little overwhelming.  So, we just added more strands.  Before I could even decorate it, though, one more strand went out around the bottom, so I had to add one more string of lights to fill it in.  I’m planning to try to fix them when we take the tree down.

If I had to do it all over again, I would just get an unlit tree.  I love the idea of a prelit tree, but only when they all work!

Everything else was easy and fun, though.  I put on some music and just played and tinkered.  Instead of using the wide blue/gray velvet ribbon as a garland this year, I decided to use a finger knit garland (I bought it from Crate & Barrel a few years ago and it’s retired) mixed with a wool pom garland.  I’m just really feeling yarn and wool this year!  I always use yarn and wool, but I wanted to make it a highlight this year and I love how it turned out.

2020 Christmas tree | yarn garland | miss mustard seed

The ornaments are a mix of materials, textures, and finishes.  I don’t have a lot of color on my tree, so I like to compensate for that by using a wide variety of ornaments.  I have metal, glass, wood, metal, yarn, wool, fabric, clay, papier-mache, bottle brush, and more.  I also have some that are small, larger, ones that hang, and ones that clip on top of the brances.   There are store-bought mixed with homemade and ones that people have given to us as gifts.  And yes, I even include ornaments my kids made.  I only use the ones that are most special, though.  I don’t feel obligated to put everything on the tree every year.

2020 Christmas tree | yarn garland | miss mustard seed

Under the Christmas tree, I used the grain sack tree skirt I made a few years ago and surrounded the base with a set of vintage hat boxes I bought at a local consignment shop.  I thought they were perfect for Christmas!  The Christmas village collar I’ve used under the tree the past few years isn’t making an appearance this year.  I had to put it away last year because the cats kept chewing on it and wrestling around it, so I had to put it away.  I really love and don’t want it to get broken, so I’ll keep it packed away this year and will try to bring it out next year when they are a little older.

2020 Christmas tree | vintage hat boxes | miss mustard seed

Decorating the Christmas tree has put me in the mood to get even more decorating done!  I also have quite a few Christmas crafts and gift-wrapping ideas I’m working on to share over the next couple of weeks.

2020 Christmas tree | yarn garland | miss mustard seed

62 Comments

  1. Michelle

    This years tree and last years tree are the prettiest trees out there. You are talented Girlie!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Sharon

    Is this the Balsam Hill tree you got a few years ago??

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes. I wish I was having a better experience with the lights! It’s such a beautiful high-quality tree and I think this is just the nature of incandescent light strands. They don’t even offer them anymore and I think that’s the reason. I don’t regret the tree, though. It looks so real and is so well made.

      Reply
      • TAG

        Beautiful tree! We purchased a Balsam Hill tree three years ago and decided to choose an unlit tree and add our own incandescent lights. Since their trees are pricey we wanted to make sure it lasted for many years. Also, the unlit trees do cost significantly less. I highly recommend purchasing a Balsam Hill tree because of the quality and stringing lights. Merry Christmas!

        Reply
      • Kim

        Okay, that is good to know, if I ever get a Balsam Hill tree, I’ll get it unlit, even though I don’t exactly enjoy putting lights on a tree.

        Reply
  3. Paula

    Do you decorate a second tree in your basement?

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      No, I love the idea of putting one down there, but I don’t want to store another tree. I’ll probably get a live tree for down there one of these years and just get it a week or so before Christmas.

      Reply
      • Rachel Wood

        Hi Marian! Long time follower here! I love your tree! So cozy! Do you use the clip on candles on a different tree, or did you just choose not to use them this year? I really want candles for my tree but I already feel guilty about the number of batteries we burn through in a Christmas season just on the twinkle lights we use around. I wish someone sold a wired strand of candles! That would be the best!

        Reply
        • Marian Parsons

          I actually started to clip them on and decided not to use them this year. The tree felt done and those felt like too much. They do take batteries, but I used the same batteries for three years. I just remove the batteries from the candles when I pack them away and store them in a baggie with the candles. The next year, I’ll put the batteries back in. This was the first year that I had to replace them, so the batter situation isn’t too bad and it’s nice not having to mess with cords.

          Reply
  4. Jennie

    Your tree is beautiful!
    I had a similar experience with lights on my tree a few years ago. Before taking it down for the season I cut off the light strands that came with it (several strands of which were no longer working). I restrung it with more lights than it originally had and loved the result. It was like giving myself a Christmas gift a year early!
    Merry Christmas to you!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I’ve thought about just cutting the lights off and I might do that if I can’t get enough of the strands to work.

      Reply
      • JENNIFER DANKWORTH

        I did that two years ago. I loved my tree but I couldn’t get all of the lights to work, so we took the time to just unclip all the lights. It got to the point where we started just cutting them off to make it quicker. Now it’s a breeze with the two of us stringing lights and I still have my beautiful tree.

        Reply
  5. Lisa

    Lovely.

    I love the trees on your mantle — what is their story?

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I bought them from HomeGoods a few years ago and like how they reminded me of concrete fruit topiaries. These are made of resin, though, so they are lightweight and easy to store/bring out for the holidays to add a little shine.

      Reply
  6. Betsy

    Pre-lit trees are a hit or miss thing. I decorate trees for my job and over the past few years my group had to unassembled trees that were already decorated because half the lights would go out. Talk about frustrating! Needless to say it’s not all pre-lit trees but I made the decision to not buy a pre-lit tree for myself. Your tree is beautiful. I especially love the blue bird ornaments.

    Reply
  7. Bea

    My daughter had the same issue with their expensive large artificial tree lights. Since then they have had real trees. Your tree is beautiful. I’ve been so busy with the Christmas inventory for my business that I haven’t started to decorate yet even though I bought a very small tree to try this year. Maybe I’ll get to my decorating soon. My fall items are still up. 😳

    Reply
  8. Sandi Ownby

    I think we are living parallel lives. I had the same lighting issues with my 2 trees. We just got ours up on the 6th, and like you, I felt very behind in my decorating.
    We also share the same mentality on decorating our trees, some years it’s silver and gold, another, purple and teal. This year it’s traditional red, green and gold. – all using ornaments I’ve had for years- picked up on travels, been gifted or from ornament exchanges. Everyone has a story, down to the hand blown glass crawfish. Thank you for sharing your journey. I love your posts!

    Reply
  9. Mae

    Your tree spectacular! I love how full it is and the beautiful ornaments !

    Reply
  10. Teri

    Our Christmas tree fell over TWICE one year smashing the hand painted ornament with thumb prints of my grandchildren. Fortunately my daughter in law, the artist, remade it for me-twice. We finally got smart and tied the tree to the shutters with fishing line.

    Reply
  11. Maribeth

    I love your painting on the mantel.

    Reply
  12. Jeannie

    Your tree is beautiful! (would expect nothing less from your talented self!) My tree is up & lit but not decorated. I was thinking that I might not get the other bins out this year but…I have more out than I normally do! But I’m kinda stuck. I think I might have to follow your example & decorate the tree first & then just putter with the rest. I have lots of ideas…not so much energy!
    We used to tie our tree up because it was older & had developed a slight tilt on the top. So we straightened it out & stabilized it by tying it up. It has been retired for several years now! 🙂
    I have several boxes of ornaments from my grandparents …late 40s. And dozens that I’ve bought over the years. I don’t used them all every year so each tree is different. Sometimes angels or santas or specific colors. Whatever urge hits me.
    I feel so far behind this year…probably because I’m watching all the glorious home tours!
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  13. Kelli Cornwell

    I Love your Tree! I also love your french chair nest to the fireplace. What fabric did you use on it? I have two french chairs I inherited and they need a makeover. I find everything you do inspiring as I love home decorating and I oil paint.
    Thank you for all you share with us.
    Your site makes me happy
    Sincerely
    Kelli Cornwell

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I used an antique grain sack and some vintage checked fabric I bought second-hand.

      Reply
  14. cate smart

    Oh my the room looks lovely, absolutely lovely!! The tree of course is super, love the little video clip.. that’s cute.. of how you did it. AND you changed the fireplace tile!!! I must have missed that post. Lovely lovely 🙂

    Reply
  15. Kris

    This must be the year of lights not working. We, too, had that problem. Your tree is so pretty AND I love it that you don’t buy a whole new bunch of ornaments but instead change things up slightly from year to year. And hooray for using your children’s handmade ornaments.

    Reply
  16. Rebecca M

    Pre-lit trees are a nightmare because when the lights don’t work you’re in a pickle. I had a light problem with my tall skinny tree. I chose to just add lights. I will be cutting the lights off after Christmas. 🤦‍♀️ I will never ever buy a pre lit tree again.
    The really frustrating thing is that they always say if one light burns out the rest will stay lit. WRONG! The whole string goes out.
    Merry Christmas AND I HOPE the New Year is better for the whole 🌎 world!

    Reply
  17. CarlaS

    So pretty! I love the wool pompom and braided garland.

    Reply
  18. Susie

    Your tree looks beautiful. Love the painting over the mantle.

    Reply
  19. Meredith MacRitchie

    I’ve been waiting to see how your tree worked out… we have the exact same tree, but I got mine a couple of years ahead of yours, and 3 Christmases ago, the lights started. My BIL and MIL also have Balsam Hill trees, same problem. BH was far less than helpful when we called, which was disheartening, considering what these trees cost (and I’m in Canada, so there was an exchange and duties)… anyway… this year, not even a quarter of the lights lit. BIL had the same issue. We both ended up spending HOURS fixing them. I love the tree itself, but this was beyond disappointing. When we did further digging, we found lots and lots of reviews with the same issue…….. and accusations of negative reviews being removed from the BH website. Beautiful tree, but such a letdown.

    I LOVE how you’ve decorated yours, and am tempted to try something different on my own next year……..

    Reply
    • Kim

      REALLY good to know, thanks.

      Reply
    • Vanessa

      We purchased our first artificial tree from BH this year, I was so excited, just wanted an early start to a sparkling tree. Sadly, it was very poor quality and after nearly two weeks of wrangling with BH’s customer service, which was beyond terrible, my tree is heading back to them and I will not be purchasing from them again. I say this not to gripe about this much loved brand, but as a warning to others who might be considering purchasing. After doing a good deal of research since encountering our problem it seems there is some issue with the newly redesigned BH Frasier Fir trees, which is what I ordered. So for anyone hoping to purchase a tree when they are discounted after Christmas, beware of the Frasiers.

      Reply
  20. JC

    Charming and cozy in every way! I love all the ornaments, homemade, vintage, blue grey balls ( of which color has been sold out for months now, at least online) and that garland…. LOVE. Enjoy this season and thanks for inviting us into your home and life!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I actually made those blue/gray balls with German glass glitter a few years ago! They are just cheap, shatterproof ornaments. I also painted the blue/gray wooden ones.

      Reply
  21. Debra Schwicht

    My heart goes out to those whose tree lights aren’t working—especially if you’ve paid tons for the tree! I got a pre-lit from Costco last year (LED, white or colored, steady or flashing, bright or dim). So far it’s been wonderful and gives off lots of light in my darkish living room. It’s been up and lighted every evening for a couple of weeks but is still waiting for ornaments. With the lights, it’s beautiful and warm on its own! Even our dogs like to sit and look at it—just soakin’ up the Christmas Spirit! 😀

    Reply
  22. Rene Day

    Marian, I don’t know how you do it – but you always seem to voice my thoughts and feelings perfectly! I always read your blog – as I have for many years now – but I rarely comment because you get so many remarks. However, this time I just had to chime in! Your comment about “feeling” like December 7th was late is SO on target! I actually got two of my trees up, fluffed, lighted, and one decorated before Thanksgiving and felt like I was on cloud nine because it’s the earliest I have managed it in probably 10 years. And, then, with the click of a finger on IG, I experienced a bit of anxiety because I felt so far behind. I do love IG and all of the wonderful ideas I find there – but sometimes, I do think it adds to the rush and frenzy of the holidays. I keep trying to breath and, like you, remember that it’s “only” early December. Your tree is just beautiful, as always! I discovered the Crate and Barrel knitted garland a couple of years ago and scored several lengths before it was gone. How I wish I had bought twice as much as the time! I think it looks fabulous with the pom garland. You have such a GOOD eye!

    Thanks for being such a voice of calm and reason! Also, I can’t tell you how my chest swells with pride each time I see a few small purchases you made from me grace your home. It is the ultimate delight! Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  23. Chris

    Your tree is lovely! I had the same problem with a prelit tree many years ago. I spent countless hours cutting the strands off and putting on new lights. For several years after that we just bought a real tree. With the pandemic I decided to pull out the old artificial tree so we could enjoy it from Thanksgiving to New Years and it is still a great tree. I usually take the ornaments off and just store it with the lights on. I will never waste my time with changing fuses and individual lights again. It never works for me so if a strand is not working or only partially works it goes in the trash.! Nobody’s got time for that!Happy holidays to you and yours!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      That’s how I feel about lights! I buy them on clearance at the end of the season each year and if a strand isn’t working after a couple of years of use (and there isn’t an obvious reason), I’ll just pitch them.

      Reply
  24. Cabrini Rudnick

    If you cut the lights off be ready for hours of work. I did that last year and it was alot of work and this year I found tons of lights still attached to the tree so another 2 hours of work continued. How did I miss them? I think I got delirious toward the end.
    It is worth it if you love the tree but just be ready for work….may be a great project during this covid winter!!! Good time to do things you wouldn’t necessarily be interested in when the world is “normal”. Good luck!!!

    Reply
    • Jeanne

      Same here! Last year I spent hours cutting the light strands off my otherwise beautiful tree. They were so entwined in the branches it was a huge ordeal- 10 hours total I think. The other positive on this is that now our 3 part tree is soooo much lighter and easier to store and manage! No more prelit trees for me.
      And Marian, yours is beautiful!

      Reply
  25. Louise

    It’s absolutely beautiful. Love all your decorating. I love the way you use blues everywhere.

    Reply
  26. Debra Taylor

    This happened to me several years ago. I bought a “Light Keeper Pro” from Amazon. It sends an electric current that identifies the bulbs that are burned out. We saved our tree without having to add lights in about 30 minutes.

    Reply
    • Carolyn I

      I was just going to post the Lightkeeper Pro is the best tool for finding the burned out bulbs. It has several different ways of finding them as is very fast and easy to use.

      Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I just ordered one! Thank you!

      Reply
  27. Rita

    We have had our prelit tree for about 9 years. Last year lights on the bottom section were out. This year a few more out from the middle. After Christmas I plan to cut them all out and buy lights at the after Christmas sales. I like my tree too much and plan to keep it as long as the branches hold up. I agree everyone needs to be on their own schedule when decorating and not try to keep up with the Jones’ (whoever they are). Your tree is always beautiful.

    Reply
  28. Lillian

    I can hardly wait to see Eulalie’s new location. Does this landscape have a more blue grey sky for the fireplace & Christmas tree? The 3 are WELL coordinated!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I painted that painting specifically for that room, so I kept bringing it in there through the process to make sure that the colors were working nicely with the wall color, fireplace surround, fabrics, etc.

      Reply
  29. Donna

    I no longer buy trees with lights on them, after having two expensive trees have their lights go out after two years, then had to cut them off, what a chore. But my favorite is an unlit tree from Balsam, its beautiful, and not up yet. This year has been something. Because we are at home, my husband has been the force behind MAJOR updates to this old house. This week, my tree finally gets put up, as we move furniture back in the house from a storage unit. whew. Tree is beautiful, as usual! Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  30. Nancy

    This must be the Christmas of burned out lights. Two strands on our tabletop tree were dead. A berry and twig garland that goes on our fireplace mantel lost its lights. Then one of the remote control mercury trees we put on the ledge over our front door flickered out. New strands of lights, strategically placed remote lights and a few hours later – it’s Christmas! Have a Blessed Christmas and the Lord bless you and yours .

    Reply
  31. Cheryl

    Beautiful tree and room!! I invested in a tree from Balsam last year and I love it! We live in a small cottage size home and they had the perfect size tree. I opted on unlit and glad I did. I found beautiful star lights that make up most of the decorating.

    Reply
  32. dayle

    I’ve always loved decorating our Christmas trees except for putting on the lights. We’ve always had a live tree but this year decided to splurge on a B.H. artificial tree. I wish this post came before I ordered our tree because I ordered a pre-lit one. Oops!! If I hadn’t thrown out the box and packing materials I would send it back and exchange it for an un-lit one
    ( and save myself some money). The tree is beautiful, and I’m hoping we’ll get a few years out of it before we have issues with the lights. Live and learn.
    Your tree looks beautiful and I love the tree topper ! It’s nice to see something so different.

    Reply
  33. Miche Ortega

    Your tree is STELLAR! I love the knitted garland that matches your stockings. You didn’t miss a detail. Thanks for inviting us in.

    Reply
  34. Omasoozin

    I love everything you do, but that tree is particularly stunning!! I’m going to find a knitter to teach me how to make that yarn garland! Where did you get/make the pompom garland? I have your German glass glitter so I’m heading out today for shatterproof globes! Thank you for the reminder that I have that from your store years ago.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Reply
  35. Angela

    Check with your local garden center to see if someone there repairs trees with lights that don’t work. I just happened to be at mine a couple of years ago and saw someone working on a tree. I took mine in and it’s as good as new now!

    Reply
  36. Susan

    Wow! I Love the story of using the colors in your painting as a sort of template for your Incredible tree. Your room is magnificent!

    Reply
  37. Brenda

    How beautiful! I especially love the picture of the blue bird. I understand having to change up your tree skirt because of your cats. I usually use tinsel but have had to stop because we have two indoor cats now.

    Reply
  38. MaryLisa

    Looks lovely! I look at IG and with so many bloggers needing to decorate early it gets overwhelming to see. I’m not out rushing around like years past and it’s a nice feeling.

    Reply
  39. Jan

    What a lovely tree! Serene yet festive in a natural way. I love the crocheted snowflakes and know you’ve recently started crocheting…did you make them? If so might you share the pattern and the yarn weight you used…thank you. A very blessed ,wonderful holiday to you, your family and furry friends.

    Reply
  40. Janine

    For exactly this reason, I will NEVER get a pre-lit tree!

    Your tree is gorgeous!

    Reply
  41. ornaments

    I especially love the picture of the bluebird. I understand having to change up your tree skirt because of your cats. I usually use tinsel but have had to stop because we have two indoor cats now. I just happened to be at mine a couple of years ago and saw someone working on a tree. I just happened to be at mine a couple of years ago and saw someone working on a tree.

    Reply
  42. Shelagh O’Toole

    Your tree is beautiful and your home is stunning! Thank you for sharing. May I please ask what color you painted your living room? I have been looking for a lighter blue grey for months and my fiancé is becoming impatient! Many thanks and a Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      It is Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.

      Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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