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How to Decorate a Meaningful Christmas Tree

Learn how to decorate a meaningful Christmas tree using all those sentimental ornaments you’ve collected over the years.

We’ve both always admired other people’s themed Christmas trees.

You know the ones.

They have a cohesive color scheme and are filled with gorgeous ornaments that together coordinate with the decorating in the rest of the room.

And someday, we’ll have a tree or two like that!

In fact, AnnMarie has a really pretty farmhousey tree in the front room of her house.

But right now?

Our trees tell our families’ stories.

Even though we both fill our trees with family ornaments, we each do it a little differently.

But we both found unique ways to remember 2020 on our trees that we’ve shared at the end of this post!

AnnMarie’s Memory-filled Christmas Tree

decorated christmas tree in front of window next to fireplace

The story of AnnMarie’s family tree actually starts before any decorations are added!

We’ll let her tell you all about it.

My family tree is a real tree and we choose it together every year right after Thanksgiving.

For years we’ve gone to the mountains to cut down a tree, but in the past few years, we’ve ended up getting our tree from a local market.

It’s getting harder to make the trip to the mountains altogether as the kids are getting older.

But we make it a priority to choose our tree together, as a family.

Let’s take a look at how we decorate our tree!

Christmas tree decorated next to stone fireplace with lit candles and garland on mantel. stockings hanging from mantel.

Since my kids were born, I have bought them a new ornament every year.

Their first ornament was usually a “baby’s first Christmas” theme.

babys first christmas ornament in the shape of a moon with a sleeping baby on it

Although Jake, being the firstborn, probably had four ornaments his first Christmas. LOL

I loved buying them from the kiosk in the middle of our local mall where they could be personalized with their name and the year.

As they got older, I loved choosing an ornament based on their hobbies or something they really liked that year.

For instance, Gavin’s ornament when he was seven was a soccer bear.

bear soccer player ornament hanging on tree

When we moved to North Carolina, I started getting more creative with their ornaments!

For a few years, we actually made ornaments together each year.

We bought DIY ornaments from Michael’s.

The kids would decorate them using permanent metallic markers.

close up of stocking shaped christmas tree ornament decorated by child

One year we went to Disney in November and decided to buy the kids’ yearly ornaments while we were there.

They all ended up choosing the same ornament but in a different color!

After all, who doesn’t love Mickey?!

Jake’s favorite color was blue, Gavin loved red, and Emma was all about pink.

mickey mouse glass ornament hanging on decorated Christmas tree

Now that my kids are getting older, we’re starting to commemorate some big milestones with their ornaments.

When Jake graduated from the University of South Carolina last year, we bought him an ornament from his school.

university of south carolina christmas tree ornaments

Recently, in addition to the kids’ ornaments, we’ve been buying family ornaments.

I love making an ornament using the photo from our yearly Christmas card.

close up of personalized photo ornament hanging on Christmas tree

By the way, I love getting Christmas cards each year!

One of my favorite traditions is to make a book from the Christmas cards we’ve received from our family and friends.

We all love looking through these Christmas card books each year when I pull them out of storage.

Now, let’s head across the street and take a look at Anne’s family’s sentimental Christmas tree.

Anne’s Meaningful Christmas Tree

Hey everyone! I love that AnnMarie’s family chooses a tree together each year.

Unfortunately, both me and my son are allergic to pine, so we’ve had a fake tree ever since we found out.

Christmas tree with individual ornaments during the day in family room next to fireplace.

Since my house doesn’t smell like a fresh Christmas tree, I rely on this candle to make my house smell Christmasy!

But I’m getting off track.

Just like AnnMarie, my tree is filled with ornaments that bring back memories.

In fact, some of my ornaments are from my childhood tree!

vintage ornament hanging on tree with Christmas lights

This Santa is probably my most treasured ornament on my meaningful Christmas tree.

I received it from my mom’s parents for my first Christmas.

I can remember hanging it on the tree every year growing up!

At my wedding shower, my mom gave me a special box. I opened it and found this ornament plus a few other sentimental ones from growing up.

I cried.

And it still makes me a little verklempt every year when I unwrap it!

The year we got married, my closest childhood friend got us this ornament for our first Christmas.

Christmas tree ornament with two teddy bears standing arm in arm holding hearts with names on them

Like AnnMarie, I began buying an ornament for my kids as soon as they were born!

And like my grandmother, all three of my kids’ grandmothers began buying them each an ornament every year.

So my tree is full after 21 years!

Meaningful Christmas tree decorated with mismatched ornaments at night with lights reflecting in a window

And I love it!

In addition to all the ornaments we’ve bought, our tree includes all the ornaments my kids made in preschool and school.

Even our tree collar is the result of a craft!

Handmade angel ornament made by young child

We also love buying an ornament every time we take a family vacation.

It’s fun finding something truly iconic for where we’ve gone like this Chicago sign.

Christmas tree ornament from trip to Chicago surrounded by other meaning tree ornaments

A few years ago Kevin and I started taking grown-up trips with AnnMarie & Chris and two other couples.

So I love buying an ornament to remember those trips too!

Christmas tree ornament from trip to Las Vegas

Our tree even includes some truly random ornaments from ornament exchanges AnnMarie has hosted at our framily Christmas parties!

So basically, every year we decorate our tree we take a walk down memory lane.

Remembering 2020 on Our Christmas Trees

We think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year for the record books.

Hopefully, it’s a year that has been and will be like no other!

So of course we’ve commemorated this year on our meaningful Christmas trees.

AnnMarie purchased an ornament from a local crafter.

ornament reading 2020 the year we stayed home

Anne gave each of her kids the same ornament this year that she found on Amazon.

When they opened them up before decorating the tree everyone had a big laugh!

2020 Stink Stank Stunk Christmas tree ornament on a tree

Do you have a meaningful Christmas tree or other special ways you decorate for Christmas?

We’d love to hear about them!

Tell us your favorite meaningful Christmas tradition in the comments below.

We hope you enjoyed seeing our trees today!

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You can find links to all the other bloggers participating today below.

Wait Until You See These Amazing Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas!

Bricks ‘n Blooms // White Arrows Home // The Ponds Farmhouse

My Thrift Store Addiction // Down Shiloh Road

Dabbling and Decorating // The Tattered Pew // J Dub By Design

Simply2Moms // Blue Sky at Home

County Road 407 // Shiplap and Shells // Follow The Yellow Brick Home 

The Flowering Farmhouse // My Wee Abode // Calypso in the Country

Cottage on Bunker Hill // This is Simplicite

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