Lights, Camera…Christmas by Leigh Riker

Christmas is my favorite time of year! What matters most? Being with family, of course,  touching base with friends, and always enjoying…Christmas trees.

The first year I was married my husband and I bought a small, scraggly-looking, last-minute tree from a stand in midtown Manhattan. We put it on a table in the corner of our first little apartment--and thought it was the best thing ever. I wish I had a picture handy, but think Charlie Brown.

Small or big trees, I love them all. This season my main tree will stand in the living room in front of the windows.  

A four-footer will decorate a table in my office, although I tend to move it around from year to year. It's partly a tribute to my mother-in-law to whom it belonged, and she too loved sparkly trees. Another tree, about three feet in height, always sits in the middle of my dining room table. Ditto for the little tree I've had forever that will take its place again on top of the family room piano.  

A few years ago I bought one of those hang-on-the-wall trees--anyone tried that?--but it's still in the box. I thought it would take just one picture hanger. Instead, the sneaky directions tell me I need two, one for each vertical half of the tree (!), and I haven't figured out how to line up the parts and hooks on my newly painted wall.

I collect even smaller trees too, and each year I try to add another to my ever-growing collection. This season I'm making a small forest of these miniature trees in my office on a table. Should be good inspiration for the Christmas novella I'm writing for next year.

For me, Christmas trees--and lights, lots of lights--help make the holiday special. Magical. I like nothing better than to curl up in the evening on the sofa with a nice glass of wine, all the room lights out, the mantel and tree lit, and through the windows the nighttime view of the twinkling lights in the valley below. Ahh, I can already feel the stress of holiday shopping, baking, and sending last minute gifts start to ease off.

And for those who prefer multi-colored lights, here is my older son's tree.

Because I spent Thanksgiving in Connecticut then Massachusetts with both sons and their families, I'll be staying home for Christmas. Thank goodness for FaceTime.

What's your favorite part of Christmas? Do you live near family? And if not, and/or some people you loved are gone, how has that changed your celebration of the season?

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.


  1. Oooh, I love your trees. I tend to have snowmen everywhere!

  2. Your tree is beautiful, Leigh. I don't have a favorite. One year I'll do white lights, the next year colored. Change is good, right? Over the years as I've moved into tighter places my trees have had to shrink, but I don't love them any less

  3. Liked all your collection of trees. My husband sold trees in Manhattan when we started dating, and when we bought our house in New Jersey, it had a row of Christmas trees we eventually sold. When my son was born, we placed our tree in his playpen so he couldn't get at it. Never knew you could collect tiny Christmas trees. Lovely collection.

  4. Leigh, I love that you have trees all over. They are a happy sight. We started our kids with small trees when they were born, and did the same for our grandchildren. I still buy everyone a special ornament every year. I have such fun picking them out. Now all of the kids have full sized trees, but some of them have started buying ornaments whenever they travel. This will be the first tree I've put up since I moved to my town home in 2011. I'm starting small--3 feet. Maybe next year--4. I actually bought one of the "Charlie Brown" trees Hallmark sold a few years ago. I love it, too.

  5. Leigh, your trees are beautiful! I wish we lived closer so you could come over and help me decorate mine(: Or maybe I could just come over and enjoy yours? LOL! I do have a Santa collection that I love to display every year.

  6. Beautiful trees, Leigh, and I love your miniature tree collection. We still have the 7ft artificial tree we bought in 1993 and it's still going strong. In fact, we'd been using the same string of lights we bought back then and every bulb worked until this year. I just had to get rid of those lights and buy new ones, but they sure lasted a long time!


  7. Someday I want to put up a real one, but we have a beautiful artificial one. Our decorations are a hodgepodge of the past and the present.


  8. OOOoooh, all those trees are fabulous!! So glad I"m not the only one who does multiples in the house--and I have a little 3" one, too! Happy happy holidays, Leigh!

  9. Rula, last year, after many seasons,I had to restring the lights on my piano tree. Good as new again. Love the Santa collection, the yearly ornament additions, and putting your tree in your then-baby son's playpen, Marion. We used to put decorations on only the bottom third of the big tree because our cats liked to climb it and remove the ornaments. Carol, you can come to my house anytime!--except today when you wouldn't want to. I came home from CT/MA with a wicked upper respiratory virus so I ache all over. Guess I'll turn on the trees tonight and watch them sparkle...

  10. I have small Christmas tree that;s plastic, but green that I've had since I lived in a dorm room in college. It's traveled with me all these years and is still in tack. I often put it up someplace where I can see it everyday. It' has no lights and no ornaments. I have a few minatures that I hang on it, but the holly berries give it a festive look. When I lived in an efficiency (that's one room) apartment in Washington, DC, it was my Christmas tree.

  11. Ron and I started with a two-foot Christmas tree in a pot in our first apartment. It was the conservationist thing to do, then, and we were so pleased with ourselves. Then we bought a house with high ceilings and had to have a tree that skimmed the ceiling every year. My granddaughters loved it, so I did it year after year, no matter what I had going or how I felt. Last year, Ron was ill and I didn't have the time or the ability to go out and get a tree, so a dear friend gave us her seven-foot artificial tree (I had sworn I'd never resort to one) and I was so grateful for it. I miss the fragrance, but will try to find a candle with the right scent. We have glass trees our granddaughters gave us and put those around the creche every year - along with every little animal figurine in the house. Thanks, Leigh! Wonderful post.

  12. Aw, love the idea of the glass trees and animal figurines, Muriel.


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