little scandinavian christmas tree

Marian ParsonsHoliday31 Comments

I am always drawn to things that are European, specifically if they are German or Scandinavian.  I am sure that is heavily influenced by my childhood years spent in Germany.  I still remember the wonder I felt when we took field trips to the Christkindlmarkt and that has always stuck with me.

So, over the years, I have found my Christmas decor going more in that direction.  Fresh greenery, handmade gingerbread decorations, white candles clipped to the tree, advent wreaths, etc.  I know those aren’t specific to Germany or Europe, but that’s where I first experienced them.

When I first saw the back staircase in our new house, I immediately pictured a small Christmas tree in front of it.  I was planning on selecting a small live table-top tree, but I came across an artificial one at Target that had just the look I wanted…

HERE is the 35″ tree I bought from Target.  (They have a 24″ one as well and the two look cute paired together.)  It does come in the basket and has a pretty realistic look.  I also like how the branches are situated.

Now, I prefer live trees in general, but all three of my live trees died before Christmas last year.  I ended up having to get a new “family tree” just a couple of days before Christmas, because all of our garland and ornaments were sliding off of the sagging branches.  As much as I love decorating, it was not fun to have to strip down one tree and decorated a second one all over again.

So, I’m embracing artificial trees again.  I’m still going to use live greens and sneak one live tree in somewhere, but if it dies prematurely, then that’s okay.

Back to this little tree…

While the “artificial dirt” around the base looked pretty good, I added some more texture by filling it with a layer of mini hemlock pinecones.

Since this tree is small and fairly sparse, it was perfect for decorating with just a few candles clipped on the branches.

Last year, I bought these holders and twisted candles in a 20 piece set and that is the most economical set I found.  I also like the twisted candles.

If you would prefer to use vintage, you can find some sets HERE on Etsy and buy vigil candles in bulk from Amazon.

I am a bit skittish about fire (really, it took me years to build up the courage to even light birthday candles), so I don’t light the candles, but I enjoy them anyway.  I may light them for one picture close to Christmas, but it will be with Jeff at the ready.  (I think my anxiety comes from a fire that started in our apartment when we were decorating for Christmas one year.  I think I was about eight.  My dad was able to smother it with a blanket, but it was scary to have a full on fire on the coffee table!)

In other Christmas decorating preparations, I made two batches of gingerbread dough.  They are wrapped and patiently waiting to be fashioned into small houses and hearts.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

little scandinavian christmas tree

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31 Comments on “little scandinavian christmas tree”

  1. A few years ago decided to decorate a tree in my front garden instead , so no more pine needles in the carpet and no risk of the dog cocking his leg… it looks super at night with the little with lights and I have a happy healthy natural tree 365 days of the year 🎄

  2. I love your German/Scandinavian look for Christmas. I was looking at these trees in Target the other day and fell in love with the white one, I may go back and buy it. You read about Christmas tree fires in the paper nearly every year, so we’ve stuck with artificial but miss the delicious aroma of the live trees my Dad cut off our land. What magic to help him place the ornaments, and remember silver tinsel? This post has brought back great memories for me.

  3. Your link to the tree isn’t working — I just love the one you picked and would love to get one. Can you check the link or give the name of it. I checked their website, but their pictures aren’t as good as yours and I can’t tell which one it is!

  4. I think for Christmas trees to last indoors longer, the house temperature needs to be more on the cool side to simulate the tree’s natural environment and to keep some humidity in the air. That wasn’t a problem for us in our last house since it was old, drafty and heated only with a wood burning stove. We might have more of a problem in our new house since it has central heating (although my husband is continually turning down the thermostat). Most Americans keep their houses too warm. A British visitor to the U.S. in the 20’s said that Americans keep their houses so warm in the winter that they have to drink iced drinks.

  5. Have you discovered Sweitzer ornaments…. I love their charm and folk art. Very European. A dear cousin passed away and amongst her possesions I found a full box of Sweitzer pewter designs. I will share them with our children and grandchildren. A wonderful memory to cherish.

  6. I’m with you! Recently I saw Rick Steves had a special on PBS that had festivals of Europe. One place he visited was the Nurnberg Christkindlmarkt. We lived near there in the 80’s.
    It made me so homesick to see it again. I love everything that reminds me of my time there.
    Love to see your little touches of Germany, such a beautiful place.

  7. Being of German and Norwegian descent mainly, I have always done Scandinavian decorating/painting/Christmas/etc. One of the problems with today’s Christmas trees is that they are all sheared while being grown, making them full and completely unnatural. A naturally grown tree will have scaffolded branches and lots of space between layers. To achieve this with an artificial tree is difficult, hence why feather trees are more Scandinavian in look. I have actually taken scissors to an artificial tree in the past to make it right! The branches also need to be narrow like your Target tree to be correct also. I’m in Canada so we don’t have Target, but that is one nice little tree!

  8. My mom use to make ginger bread every Christmas, i never acquired a taste for it, but i love Christmas trees.

  9. Lovely, Marian. Are you letting the gingerbread age before rolling out? If so, how long, and in the fridge or freezer?

    Thank you.

  10. I remember as a child in my Oma’s house in the Netherlands she would have those little candles on the Christmas tree… and light them… but only while the adults were in the room, and ALWAYS with a bucket of water standing right by the tree!

  11. O.K., that has to be the cutest tree ever!! Very simple, just perfect. Also, I love seeing each new thing you do
    to make your new house a home, and can I tell you I want very badly for you to paint the top piece of your stair rail black? Now is the an odd feeling that people you don’t know have an opinion about what to do in your home? But I just had to share it ;-))

  12. Is this eatable ginger bread?? Do you not risk ants or other critters being drawn to this treat? Just wondering. Love the tree! How was your first snow fall up there? It’s cold in PA today for sure.

  13. I want to come to YOUR house for Christmas! LOL….and I love the way you put your unique touches on your home. Can hardly wait for the full reveal!

  14. Cute, cute tree! And I’m so glad that you showed the candle clips. I’ve been looking for something like this for a project I’m working on.

  15. I lived in Germany for a decade and learned that, if lighted candles are used on a tree, it is likely that a bucket of sand (covered with something attractive) will be nearby. The tree will be fresh-cut, unlike ours which have often been cut weeks earlier and transported a considerable distance. The tree will, traditionally, not make its appearance indoors until Christmas Eve (when it will be lighted for the first time). Then, on Christmas Day, it may or may not be lighted — but those are the ONLY times the candles will burn. Nor will the tree be left up for days, to dry out. I live in an almost 100% Swedish community and it is traditional here to leave Christmas decorations up until January 13 — King Knut’s Day.

  16. My mother would always burn the wicks on new candles. She said that the candles looked more “homey” that way. I enjoy your style both decorating and writing.

  17. Love the look but several years ago I made the decision to not purchase holiday decor made in China after seeing a documentary about Chinese towns with factories dedicated to producing Christmas decorations for the US market. Better to buy vintage natural or create natural decorations.

    1. I actually visited a Chinese factory earlier this year and they make home & Christmas decor. While I have heard they are not all good, this one was a pleasant surprise. It was a real family atmosphere and I saw how much the workers cared about the quality of the products they were making. While I love antique and hand made items, that experience changed the “made in China” tag for me. I got to spend time with some of the people behind that label.

  18. Please , please share your gingerbread recipe for decorations. I’m starting to get in the holiday decorating spirit. Need as much help as possible. Lol
    Love your new home and look forward to your post everyday. So inspiring!!!

  19. Cute….but none of your links worked, and I see it isnt just me. Yes, I agree with Tammy, can you share your gingerbread recipe?

  20. I have been eyeing those types of trees on Target’s site and other sites as well (Wayfair). They have larger pre-lit ones too!! I just don’t know if the branches are sturdy enough to hold many ornaments. Love everything in your home – can’t wait to start decorating myself!

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