Less is more.

Even though neither of us is Christian, for the last few years I’ve been putting up a Christmas tree. I got a really beautiful fake one with hundreds of white lights, and added several strings of randomly blinking white ones. And a ton of ornaments. It was a wonder to behold.

This year I just didn’t feel up to it, so I put the tree up without all the blinking lights, and with only the nicest ornaments, maybe 25% as many.

Ya know what? I like it better this way. Christmas trees don’t have to do tricks to draw attention to themselves. This one gets enough attention just by being pretty.

Well I agree with you. A tree is much nicer looking than a cone of layered decorations. Even a fake one. But I have a feeling other people see it differently, like my wife. This dichotomy led to one of our Christmas traditions, throwing the ornaments at the tree. It’s sort of a game and decorative technique combined.

Since I’ve been single and living alone the last few years, I haven’t bothered with a tree. A couple of years ago, though, I had a potted scotch bonnet pepper bush that I brought in for winter. It was heavy with brilliant red and orange peppers, so I added some white lights and a couple of sparkly ornaments and viola - an edible, and very pretty Christmas “tree.”

Some of my clients are the type that hire professional decorators to come in and do the tree and the inside of the house. All very themed and matchy-matchy and impressive (I suppose) but I think meh. When I was a kid, one of the nice annual family traditions was making ornaments, unwrapping the carefully-stored ones from years past, stringing popcorn and cranberries, and decorating the tree.

I still remember the loveliest display I ever saw, in New Jersey of all places, back in the early ‘80s. The house had several smallish bushes (about 3’ high) in the front yard, and each was done in a single color of non-blinking lights: one in white, one in green, one in blue, etc.

Simple, and breath-taking!

I went crazy with decorating the tree a few years ago. Hand blown ornaments like Radko, covered every very carefully chosen spot. I even made a garland of little 24-carrot gold-leafed stars. Martha Stewart would have wept with joy at the sight.

Two years ago I stopped, just taking a break, after putting on the lights. Martin Luther would have approved and so did I. I’ve got half a year’s salary worth of ornaments sitting in boxes, but my tree is beautiful. It looks like a tree, no extra improvements needed.

Did you nail theses to your door?

“This is as fancy as the tree is getting, and the rest of you can go puff.”