Dining Room Christmas Tree 2018

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, Holiday47 Comments

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Balsam Hill.  As always, all opinions shared are honest and my own.

Several years ago, I pitched my artificial Christmas tree, purchased at a 75% off after-Christmas discount.  It clearly looked artificial and shed worse than a long-haired cat.  I was tired of storing it and wanted to give live trees a try.  I hadn’t had a live tree since I was a child.  We adopted two Siamese cats when I was in 2nd grade and their first Christmas in our home, they climbed the live tree and drank the water in the stand, resulting in two kittens with belly aches from the sap.  From that point on, we had a fake tree and I carried that tradition into adulthood.

I love live trees, but I have learned the downsides.  I had a few trees dry out before Christmas, so I had to take it down and get a second tree and go through all of the light-stringing and tree-trimming again.  The investment of a live tree and live greens each year wasn’t anything to sneeze at.  I also learned the royal pain of belly-crawling under the tree in order to add water to the stand.  My curiosity about having a live tree had been satisfied and I was ready to head back into the world of artificial trees.  Only, now they are so realistic, they can stand up to close inspection, photoshoots, and even a needle pet.

MISS MUSTARD SEED TV

The one I got last year was the 8′ Noble Fir with Clear Incandescent Lights from Balsam Hill.  It is a gorgeous tree and we just finished setting it up for the second year yesterday.  We’re trying it in a new spot…

I can’t wait to get it all decked out.  But in this post, I’m sharing about the tree that went up in my dining room.  Last year, I had a live tree in there, but I ended up having to pitch it before Christmas, sadly.  So, this year I was excited to partner with Balsam Hill again to get one of their trees for the dining room.

I wanted to put it in the corner like I did last year and in the goat cart again.

Since I was going to be putting it in the cart, I knew I needed a smaller tree.  I also wanted one that had some character and personality – both things that you get when you select a live tree.  So, I selected the 6′ Yukon Spruce with micro-LED lights.

I loved that it’s not a perfect triangle “Christmas tree” shape.  It’s a little wonky, just like some of my favorite live trees have been.

The stand fit perfectly inside the goat cart, so I just set it in there…

Since this is a smaller tree, it came in just three pieces, so it was very easy to assemble by myself.  Our 8′ Noble Fir is a larger tree and I definitely need help getting it up, so it was nice to see that the 6′ tree would be a great option for someone who wants a full-sized tree, but is nervous about their ability to set it up.  This one was no problem.

As with our other pre-lit tree, the lights are wired through the center “trunk” of the tree, so you can pop the pieces in place and the lights come on.  There is no fumbling with plugs, trying to guess which string plugs into which outlet.

I can’t get over how realistic this tree looks!  Our Noble Fir looks real, but it looks like the most perfect live tree on the lot.  This one looks like you found a tree with just the right amount of gaps to fill with your garland and ornaments.

Balsam Hill pays attention to every detail and even the trunk, which is more exposed in this style of tree, looks mossy and textured.

I wanted to keep the decorations on this tree simple since it isn’t a grand tree.  I didn’t want the ornaments to overwhelm it.

I started with the Winter Pinecone Pick Set of 12

The picks are very generous in size, so I had to trim them down a bit for this tree.

I wrapped the wire ends around some of the branches and they added just the right amount of texture and interest but played nicely with the style of the tree…

For a little sparkle, I added the Antiqued Snowflake Ornament Set of 12.   They were hung on gold cording, but I swapped that out for some cream wool yarn.

These ornaments are so beautiful and the mix of sizes proved to be ideal for this tree.  The larger ones could hang in the “gaps” and the smaller ones could fit where the spacing of the branches was tighter.

Lastly, I added some LED Christmas Tree Candles that I got last year from Balsam Hill.

I topped it all off with the Antiqued Snowflake Tree Topper and some felt star garland I bought a few years ago.

I also tucked some pinecones in around the tree stand, so it wouldn’t be visible in the goat cart.  And I’m so happy with how the tree turned out!  I feel like I can have the quirkiness of a real tree without the hassle of it drying out before I’m done with it!

Here is a GIF showing how the tree came together…

The only negative thing I can say is that I learned that I am not fond of the glow cast by LED lights, even the warm ones.  It just isn’t the same as incandescent bulbs.  I am really picky about light, though, and I am overly sensitive to color!  I shared this on Instagram and one of my followers suggested adding a string of incandescent clear bulbs, the large, vintage-style bulbs, to create that warm glow.  I added a couple of strands today and that did the trick!

I ordered a couple of other things from Balsam Hill, but I’m going to use them on my larger tree, so I’ll share about them in another post.

Balsam Hill teamed up with eleven other bloggers, so if you’d like to see more of their trees and ornament styles you can click on the links below…

Balsam Hill’s 12 Bloggers of Christmas
 
November 24th
November 25th
Dining Room Christmas Tree 2018

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47 Comments on “Dining Room Christmas Tree 2018”

  1. How lovely. We have a look alike artificial tree as well – however I am yearning for a real tree again. Love it in the goat cart. Here in the Uk you can get like basket weave covers to cover up the base of the stand to make it look as though the tree is in a wicker basket. Looks smashing in your dining room.

    Tricia

  2. I read on another beautiful blog of an unfortunate experience with live greenery. This woman is an expert in decorating and her selection of greens is always high end and top notch……except her live greenery was loaded with fleas of some sort! She didn’t go into detail except to say it was a nightmare and probably extremely expensive as she has a huge house and decorates throughout every room.

    Just a caution for those buying live greenery.

    1. Yes, this happens. You can also have mice or birds or even a giant wasps nest in your tree. A few times we had a live tree think it was spring and open up all of its fresh pollen cones on the tips of the tree and FILL the house with pollen, all over every surface, which was a nightmare to clean up.

      1. Oh my gosh!! I haven’t heard of the pollen, but we have found a bird’s nest in a tree and I have heard of mice hitchhiking in trees as well, although I’ve never had that happen.

    2. Oh my! I have had some bugs crawl out of my live greens before, but I never thought of fleas. What a mess.

  3. Though I’ve been tempted to get a natural looking artificial tree and have toyed with using one of my vintage aluminum trees I just can’t bring myself to forego a live tree. There’s just something about walking into my living room and smelling that wonderful piney scent…..I have only vintage ornaments (many belonging to my grandparents, parents, ornaments I made in grade school in the 50’s and even one made by my dad in 1936❤️), still use icicles and only c-7 lights. I guess I’m just sentimental about recreating the same holiday experiences of my childhood. On the other hand, when I was in high school one set of my grandparents succumbed to an artificial tree. No piney scent? No problem. Grandma simply sprayed pine room freshener when the mood struck her. When they sold their home and moved to a place with shorter ceilings that tree moved with them. They simply didn’t put the top on. Don’t ask why they did not eliminate the bottom section-that will forever remain a mystery. I’ve not had an issue with my trees drying out. Enjoy your trees! They look beautiful!

    1. Yes, it looks real, but it doesn’t smell real. I’ve been burning a pine candle and that helps, but it’s definitely not the same.

  4. Living in New England where many Christmas trees are grown it is a temptation to buy a fake tree. I have several reason that stop me. I still remember being young and waking up on Christmas morning to a live tree. I doubt if anyone does that anymore. Then there was a snow storm (Subburbs of NYC) and people were told to take down their live trees. The following year my mother bought probaby the first fake tree known to man. Looked like a bunch of toilet brushes. Later found out that the man who invented them owned a toilet brush factory. But the last and the most important reason is that my husband and I had our first date buying a live Christmas together. Kind of a tradition 45 years later………….. I have seen those Balsam trees in person and they are everything that Marion says about them. We aren’t there yet! Merry Christmas everyone.-

    1. Oh, I know exactly what you are talking about with those “toilet brush” trees. I found one once at a Salvation Army. Thankfully trees have come a LONG way since those.

    2. Well, that is a sweet tradition! Yes, I will miss the tradition of buying a live tree. I’m tempted to buy one for my porch, but I’m afraid it will blow over!

  5. I think your trees are beautiful and because of sinus problems i prefer a artificial tree, use to put up with all my sinus problems cause i loved the smell and still do.

  6. These trees are beautiful and do look so real. Your review of the most realistic faux greenery will be so helpful to so many. I live in a 1770 period home called Woodlawn Sandy in Virginia so I just can’t do it…not to mention coming originally from Massachusetts…fresh greens it has to be for this home. My next regular home I will be tempted to change!

    1. Oh, your home sounds beautiful! My preference is definitely for live greens, but I have just had some bum luck over the past few years and it’s really discouraged me from it.

  7. I like that wonky tree. 🙂 We have an artificial tree that I got a few years ago at IKEA and it looks SO REAL because it has the wide spacing between all the scaffold branches and most people are shocked when they find out it is fake. So yeah, you can get a very realistic fake tree these days for not too much money also. The Balsam Hill trees are gorgeous but out of my price range.

    I am TOTALLY WITH YOU on the LED lights. The reason why they probably bother you is precisely because you are an artist and photographer like everyone in my family. We can SEE the differences in light and not everyone has that ability. Specifically with the LED lights, some people can see the color temperature differences as well as the FLICKER that they have due to their frequency transformers but most cannot so are not bothered. We use exclusively incandescents in our house both indoors and out. Yes, those huge C9 bulbs and mini lights. I just got the icicle lights up on the porch and lit this afternoon! SO MUCH BETTER than those migraine-inducing LEDs. It is a real pity that they have switched out all the street lights to LEDs too now as they give off a horrible light. But worse than LEDs are the compact fluorescents that give off the blue-gray light of death. Thankfully they never made Christmas lights of those. 🙂

    1. Oh yeah, I cannot handle fluorescent lights. They were all over our house when we first moved in, so I went around and changed all of the bulbs to incandescent. Halogen is fine for me as well, but LED and fluorescent just don’t look right to me.

  8. I am surprised you have not got an authentic German feather tree. These were a part of my childhood too and I miss them, though I still have all the ornaments. Lots of excellent reproduction ones out there today but they are often far more expensive than a regular artificial tree!

    1. Yes, I would love one, but they are so expensive!! I do have some vintage German ornaments and a couple of the “windmills”, though. I love how the Germans do Christmas!

  9. I long for a Balsam Hill tree. Alas, they are out of my price range…even on sale. Yours are beautiful.

    1. I know…they are definitely an investment. I think it’s the kind of thing you save for a little each year.

  10. Diane-
    Have you ever tried using a table top dimmer to control the amount of light emitted from the tree bulbs-you are able to get a nice range from low to bright!
    I use them on all my Christmas lights and candles (mine are incandescent) but I don’t see why they wouldn’t work with your LED lights.
    Such a pretty (and interesting) room-just enough-carefully curated….

  11. I love this tree Marian! And I love the sweet and charming way you decorated it. It’s absolutely adorable!

    I’m the opposite of you – had a live tree my whole life until I started blogging and it just doesn’t work time-wise, as it was always drying out. These are so realistic though, and I must admit, though I miss the smell I SO don’t miss the needles!

    So thrilled to be doing this tour with you – happy holidays!

    Sheila
    xo

    1. I know, I miss the smell as well. I’ve been burning an evergreen candle, but it’s not the same.

  12. Balsam Hill does make some very realistic and beautiful trees but I got tired of seeing them on so many bloggers sites last year. At least seven or eight bloggers I follow did sponsored posts for them and I see its the same this year. Even on sale, they are pricey but if you look at it as an investment and use it for many years then its worth the spurge.

    1. Yes, Balsam Hill works with a few bloggers each year and we all post during the same few days, so I can understand if you feel like you’re seeing them everywhere! I am working with them for the second time, because they were great to work with last year and make a quality product.

  13. looks lovely. Just purchased a live tree today. I will consider the artificial for next year. I know Balsam Hill is a very good name when choosing to one. Thanks for sharing about the lights. I too do not like the LED lights.

  14. There is nothing like a live tree, and a real wood-burning fire. Some things are well worth the mess. I don’t think $750 for a fake tree is an investment, as it will likely look pretty ratty after 10 years (you can argue that, but I have my doubts)…and after 10 years of live trees I will have spent about the same amount of money, but have always had fresh trees that smell good. And look very real! I’ve had a live tree for every one of my 60 Christmases and never had any problems with bugs or mice. Probably too frigid for them in Minnesota! If you buy a live tree, most places will put it on a “shaker” before you load it into your vehicle. Don’t skip this step!

    1. Yep, I think that’s a valid point. An artificial tree does have a time limit. My mom used the one she bought when we were kids for over 20 years, though, and it still looked nice. I think it has to be quality to begin with and well cared for. I loved using a live tree, but the disappointment of them drying out before Christmas day left me ready for an artificial one again and I have enjoyed knowing I can keep this one up as long as I want. 🙂

  15. It’s just lovely! Our last live one turned out to have been sprayed with dye. We had cream colored carpet. When we took down the tree there was a pristine cream colored circle where the tree skirt had been and lots of green dye all around it where the vacuum cleaner beater bar had pounded it in! Fortunately, the carpet was guaranteed to be stain proof and a professional carpet cleaning got it out. No more live trees but I miss the smell.

  16. Hi..love your site and look forward to your posts. I would like to know if the Balsam Hill tree you got this year for your living room has a name, model number, etc. I really like it and it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
    Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. 💛

    1. Yes, it’s called the Noble Fir. I have the 8′ with Incandescent lights. It is a beautiful tree.

  17. I’m jealous! … The tree in your dining room is so adorable and understated, I covet it for my own house… Beautiful job. I appreciate your telling us about the thought process you go through and some of the little tweaks you made.

    Dorky moment: Realizing the “imperfect” tree you mentioned was not the one in the photo with (as it turns out) just two sections assembled. I thought it was kind of short.

  18. Marion, funny you should mention the LED lights. On Saturday my husband went out and purchased all new white lights to outline our house with. He worked hard hanging them, especially the roof climbing. When it turned dark out we plugged in the lights and went out to look. I didn’t have the heart to tell him how awful they looked and that I was afraid a plane would mistake our property for the airport. He’s good at reading me and yesterday morning he took the whole mess down. I so dislike the LED’s, I miss the warm glow. Your tree selection in the dining room is just beautiful!

    1. Ha! I am with you. I dislike LED lights, but these candles are fine. I think it’s because they put off a soft light.

  19. I love this tree. Just an FYI. Don’t plug regular lights onto a string of LEDs. It will cause the LEDs to blow out. I don’t know if that is even possible on a Balsam Hill tree but I did it with some strings and they blew out. I’ve been so inspired by your simple approach to Christmas. I couldn’t find blue and white checked ribbon so tore strips of fabric like you did last year. I love it! I don’t know if you hear it enough but I do love your blog.

    1. I didn’t know that about the LED lights, but the prelit LED tree outlets aren’t like typical string-light sockets, so I don’t think it’s possible.

      And, thank you for your kind words. I am so glad my blog inspires!

  20. Wonderful blog….if i may, id like to ask a different question. The walls in this dining room are amazing. We are about to renovate our dining room and we are wanting a mural. Is the mural in your dining room hand painted or a wallpaper?

    1. It is hand painted. If you search “dining room mural”, you’ll find the details on it. You might want to look into Susan Harter Mural Papers, though. She creates custom landscape mural wallpapers that are gorgeous.

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