O All-Occasion Tree

Growing up, my family always had a live Christmas tree. The church tree lot kind, not the cut-yourself-from-a-tree-farm kind, but still - laden with quirks and lightly perfumed with the fragrance of balsam. 

Then one year, I came home from college to a FAKE TREE and its too perfect, unscented FAKENESS. I vowed that when I had my own house, I'd get live trees, and I did for 5 years in my home in south St. Louis city. 

Then, I accepted an appointment to an international mission field where live Christmas trees aren't a thing. Stores sell potted evergreens, but they don't smell like Christmas trees, so what's the point? I simply didn't have a tree for Christmas 2018, and I was out of the country for Christmas 2019. 

Last year, though, I started thinking that maybe a white (or really any color but green) tree would be OK. Still FAKE but clearly not trying to imitate reality. I did a bit of not-too-serious looking and had resigned myself to another treeless Christmas when I stopped by the Kreys' house for something. Our regional director's wife Becca proudly showed off a new addition to their home: an ~8 ft. tall, white tree in a typical Dominican artisanal style, shaped something like an apple tree. I knew immediately which roadside vendor she'd gotten it from and wondered if maybe he had Christmas-tree shaped ones? A few days later, I happened to be passing that way, and my home had its own new addition for Christmas 2020:

My ornament collection is...growing, but it doesn't look half bad with an ugly curtain as a tree skirt and a handmade driftwood star tree topper.

It doesn't fold up or come apart or anything, and I can't keep anything green alive, so I decided it'd stay up year-round and become my All-occasion Tree, decorated accordingly.  

Construction paper hearts for Valentine's Day. 

Green garland (that I actually bought and used for Christmas...) for St. Patrick's Day.

Easter eggs - and egg-shaped lights! - on loan from church friends for Easter.

Seashells from Montecristi to fill a late spring/early summer holiday void.

Construction paper stars, decorated with help from the Krey kids, for US Independence Day.

The all-occasion tree escaped the spare bedroom cum storage unit and is instead on display in the living room of my temporary apartment. 

Christmas in July decorations left by the former missionary I shared the apartment with for about a month.

The perfect backdrop for a Christmas in July party and some hot chocolate on a 90+ degree day!

Skipping ahead a few months due to the LAC regional conference followed by home service...

I bought lights! I've always been a white light kinda girl, but Dominicans love all things bright and flashy when it comes to Christmas, and I like the way colored lights look against the white! Unfortunately, my tree topper is in a tub in the waaaaaaay back of the storage unit, as is the gorgeous Mackenzie plaid tree skirt my brother and sister-in-law gifted me when they came to visit

(Here's what it looks like, but you'll have to wait until next Christmas for the full experience: tree skirt, lights, ornaments, and tree topper.)

My immediate family thinks my all-occasion tree looks dead, but it brings me such joy. It also opens up a whole new world of decorating ideas - fun shaped lights, themed garlands, and anything I could punch a hole in or hot glue a string to. I recently made an "All-occasion Tree" Pinterest board! One noticeable lack was anything fall-ish, so I'm going to have to up my game in that department next year. 

What are your thoughts on the all-occasion tree? Share in the comments!

Until next time, blessings!