Let's be very clear on something: this is NOT a Christmas tree.



Let’s be clear on something: this is NOT a Christmas tree:

minimalist christmas decorationImage via Cathy Jubb.

It’s sticks. Just sticks. Some of it used to be a tree, but now it’s sticks. And all over the country, versions of these “Christmas trees” are taking up temporary residence in uber-stylish living rooms, because an actual tree with leaves and tinsel and some personality simply doesn’t work in with our current Scandi-Industrial interiors obsesh.


Seriously, are we really that up ourselves when it comes to styling our interiors that we can’t break focus for five weeks and put up a bloody tree? Today I opened a magazine and read this little gem from a designer:

“I just hang a painting of a tree without decorations in the living room. Then when the children start squealing for a real tree, I say ‘cut out some coloured paper circles and stick them on the painting tree’, which they don’t do, so I end up doing it. It only takes me three minutes.”

Just wow. A painting of a Christmas tree? What are those kids expected to push over during a sugar-fuelled tantrum on December 22, when having to wait another three whole sleeps for Santa, explodes their tiny minds?

“It’s sticks. Just sticks. Some of it used to be a tree, but now it’s sticks.”

And we really shouldn’t be surprised they can’t be arsed with the coloured paper circles. There’s zero kiddie fun in standing back to watch Mum up on the replica Eames, sticking pseudo-decorations onto a picture because, you know, it “works in with the rest of the room”. All the while trying to race an egg timer too, by the sounds of it. Festive as.

Surely letting our strict decorating ethos win out over our kids’ “squeals” for a Christmas tree signals that a fundamental part of the festive spirit is wedged halfway down the chimney?

The annual tree decorating session is the very foundation of my childhood Christmas memories. The magic began the moment that long, white box was manoeuvered through the manhole, the duct tape ripped off and our beautiful faux specimen dragged out into the light of day.


We couldn’t have a real tree like the neighbours because Mum was allergic (to vacuuming up all the pine needles they shed every half hour). But we loved our big old fakey anyway. I imagined it’d been felled from a vast, twinkling fibre-optic forest that existed somewhere out the back of the local Kmart storeroom.

The dusty box of decorations was unstuck next. Then the whole family would gather the tree. Tinsel and baubles and cheap strings of bling were flung about until it looked like Christmas itself had thrown up all over the living room.

After an hour or so, there it stood in the corner, smirking at us in all its joyful gaudiness.

We didn’t care that it was tattered and on a bit of a lean. Mum didn’t care that she’d spent the year perfecting her lilac/nude/lime colour scheme and our handmade decorations from kindy didn’t match. Because the point of putting up a Christmas tree isn’t about aesthetics.

It isn’t about the end result at all. It’s about the process. About being together. About fun and laughter – brothers taking a break from giving sisters dead-arms, mums and dads forgetting there are bills and jobs and other grown up stuff to think about.

It’s about busy families grabbing the opportunity to share a common focus for a little while; to create some precious memories that kids can cherish long after the giftwrapping has been recycled. Ain’t no precious memories made from a pre-decorated Scandi-Industrial stick tree.


And while we’re at it, this is not a wreath:

minimalist christmas decoration
Image via Cathy Jubb.

It’s the insert from a vegetable steamer and the remnants of a Spring racing outfit. It’s Christmas, people, not Minimalist-mas. Make it merry.

What passes for a Christmas tree in your house?