O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

*Post in collaboration with Pines and Needles

On the 1st day of Advent my true love sent to me… in a rather confusing mix of Christmas carols, I am delighted that December is here. Our first Cornish country Christmas in on the way – something I have been dreaming about for a long time.

Those that follow me on Instagram, specifically IG stories will have seen that I have been trying to get super organised this year – for a couple of reasons. (1) less stress so I can enjoy having a house full for 10 straight days once our guests arrive, and (2), spreading the cost over several pay checks!

Last year we decided to get our tree at the beginning of December so we could enjoy it for as long as possible. You can read my tips for looking after your real tree and reasons a real tree is actually a sustainable option, on that post if you like.

So here’s a question for you. What do Meghan Markle and I have in common (aside from roughly our age)? Yes, you guessed it – we have the same excellent taste in Christmas trees. We were super pleased with the tree that we got last year, so we were very happy to work again with Pines and Needles this year.

After years of dragging home a tree from a corner shop, or latterly the Pines and Needles stand at a pub in Highgate, we felt rather spoilt having the tree delivered last year. A friend asked us whether we minded not being able to choose it, and, horses for courses, felt what we lacked in choice we made up ten fold by not having to drag it home. Of course, now we have a car, things are simpler, but it is still a treat to not have to go out. Also, I am doing what I can to reduce choice – so working with what was delivered was somehow quite nice.

Pip of course thought it wonderful that a tree appeared inside overnight. We kept it in the garage on the day of delivery where it was nice and cold, then after the kids were in bed opened it up, gave it a good shake and then popped it in the stand with a good drink of water overnight. By the morning, the branches had unfurled and the room smelt amazing. Pip actually gave the tree a hug she was so delighted, and declared the tree to be called ‘shine’.

In preparation for the tree’s arrival, on Stir Up Sunday, along with cake and pudding, we also dehydrated a bag of oranges that we cut into slices, so we could then string these onto butchers twine and use as decorations. Really easy to do, and I think makes a lovely effect:

  • Put oven onto about 80C.
  • Slice oranges to about 5mm
  • Lay directly on oven rack (place a tray on next rack down to catch any)
  • Pop into oven and leave for a good few hours
  • Turn occasionally
  • Don’t forget about them, as they do go burnt eventually!

Somehow the mix of decorations we have has evolved into a mix of vintage, a series of Scandi Tomte/Nisse that I have brought back from visiting Nordic friends, and quite natural looking gold/burnished metal baubles, with a few more sentimental ones in there too. I have started a collection for each of the children, they get a new one each year of their choice, so when they leave home, they will have 18 (or maybe 30) each as a start for their own trees.

Pip and I decorated the tree the next evening – listening to Christmas music and only marginally falling out over the placement of a robin. The fairy that she made at nursery went on the top – we saved some of her homemade decorations for a smaller tree for the landing that I am going to let her decorate and I saved my most precious glass vintage baubles for our counter top vintage tree I inherited from my grandparents – which I put up just for the actual Christmas period on the dresser. Buster was very interested in the main tree the next day when he woke up to find it decorated, and spent ages lifting off the smaller birds from the bottom, declaring “bird”, very pleased with his efforts…

If we don’t forget to water every day, it should last up to Christmas! My next job is to re-arrange some of the decorations where Pip enthusiastically hung them within her reach, and to figure out a solution to make the base look a little less bare.

What’s everyone else doing this year? Tree? No tree? Inverted one? Minimilist scandi on the wall affair? Do tell!

Thanks to Pines and Needles for sending us a 6ft Nordmann Fir.



  1. Lori December 9, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    Ooh I love a good Nordmann Fir! That’s what we have this year and it looks to be going steady so far! Also love the organge decorations and the Pines & Needles service sounds ace too! x

  2. Alice December 11, 2017 / 1:15 pm

    What a gorgeous tree Rachel! I love your approach to decorating it – and not just because I have the same father Christmas decs as you 😉 Can’t wait to read more about your Cornish Christmas xx

  3. Katie Albury December 13, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    Oh, how amazing! This looks gorgeous! I absolutely love the effort you put into it and it’s a real family effort too. I think I need to relax a bit…I sort of considered fencing mine off and actually decorated it at midnight once the babies were finally all asleep! x

  4. Laura December 16, 2017 / 10:21 am

    We have always had real trees, even growing up we never had a fake one so it only seems natural to continue this – this year however we have gone for a smaller potted tree with the idea of replanting it, it seems weird having a much smaller one but the kids love it and love the idea it can live on in our garden afterwards

    Laura x

  5. Lottie :: Oyster and Pearl December 17, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    I really love that your tree is called Shine! We’ve only ever had real trees so I always forget that people like fake ones too. It’s the smell I love really. As a kid, I was always so enchanted by the tree and I’m not sure it’s ever going to be something we don’t go with.

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