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What You Should Trim Besides a Big, Messy Tree

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The fact that so many otherwise intelligent humans drag a sticky, sappy, too-tall, needle-dropping conifer into their living room is actually quite weird—nay, absurd—no matter how you look at it. Even I can even see the reasoning here, and I'm one of those people who gets the happy jitters when pop-up tree stores start appearing on the sidewalk (I use fir-scented candles all year 'round, in case you were wondering).

But to be clear, the delightful and wholly unnecessary activity of "trimming" is not dependent on having Douglas fir or a blue spruce or a plastic replica of a pine in your home. I repeat: You do not need a tree to make things twinkly and festive and otherwise positive during this dreary time of year!

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Lavender, houseplant, succulent, and dried hydrangeas get all dressed up.
Lavender, houseplant, succulent, and dried hydrangeas get all dressed up. Photo by Rocky Luten

What to else trim and how:

  • The stairs! A bannister takes nicely to a string of lights, as would a fire escape if that's what you're working with.
  • Houseplants! If you're not a sparkle person, take some pom fringe and drape it all over the houseplants—it's an instant garland that doesn't feel too red-and-green.
  • The mantle! Want some greenery but so not interested in pine needles? Use flower wire to twist up a garland of magnolia leaves using this method and put it above the fireplace (or down the center of the table).
  • Flower arrangements! Tie thick satin ribbon in your favorite color—in no way does it need to be red!—around any vase (or canning jar) of fresh flowers for a touch of lushness. Should you go this route, here are some tips for tying perkier bows.
  • The ceiling! Suspended from threads of fishing wire at a variety of heights, pine cones and cut-out snowflakes and glass baubles (or, for safety, plastic ones) are instantly jolly.
  • Indoor herbs! Some of the best ornaments, in my opinion, are little birdies with clips where their feet should be. Nestle a few in your herbs and let them bring happy thoughts. And if you can get a cone-shaped rosemary bush, it can look quite a lot like a mini tree.
Photo by Alpha Smoot

Finishing touches:

Now that you're covered your house with ribbons and ornaments and fake snow despite your better inclinations), there are just a few boxes to check off. You need some good smellies to replace the evergreen scent and might consider simmering some woodsy barks or plants to fill the air. The only thing missing beyond that is a little more twinkle, and—even if your fireplace is roaring all season (lucky)—a candle that smells like a campfire, or the woods, or an evergreen is a welcome thing.

No matter how you deck out your home this winter, or what you're celebrating, or whether you love or hate—Bah Humbug!—the glitter that's going to get everywhere, a bit of good cheer will go a long way during short days.

Do you decorate your home for winter? How do you feel about sparkles? Share your favorite ways make a wintry home a happy one in the comments.


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Tags: trimming, tree trimming, decorating, holiday decor, christmas lights, greenery