O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! by Catherine Lanigan & Rula Sinara

Catherine's 2018 Christmas Tree 

By golly it’s Christmas time. Seems to me like I just put away last year’s tree. I bet I’m not the only one saying that, this year. However, somewhere along the line in 2018 I had an internal shift. A change in my paradigm. For twenty years I have been a fan of artificial trees. My last house in Houston was home to seven artificial trees and one enormous live tree in the living room.

Then I moved to Arizona, where it was still ninety five degrees at Thanksgiving. No more live trees. Trust me on this one.

Now I’m back home again in Indiana and for a decade, I’ve had artificial trees. I’ve posted pictures of them from time to time. Different themes. I even did one all in pink three years ago.

But this year, I had a friend who might or might not live through the holidays. I needed something to really give her the will, the gumption to keep going. That’s when I came up with the idea for a “blowout” Christmas. Live tree and all.

I had NO idea at the time that due to the guidance and gifting from another friend that I would have the BEST Christmas experience I can remember. First, I had to hire a handyman to transport the tree from the tree farm to my house. This was set up in October.

Once I flew back from Houston at Thanksgiving, we drove far north of town to Pine Tree Country and what I saw was amazing. What an operation. Not only could you ride out to the groves/fields in a horse drawn wagon and pick out your tree, you could opt to cut it yourself or have it cut by one of the crew. When we drove up, there were scads of trees already cut and due to my early in the year arrival, I figured not many people would be around. WRONG. The place was packed.

Catherine's tree in the wild

The gift shop was standing room only. Hot cocoa lines were jam packed. And the folks checking out the gorgeous spruce and cedar wreaths were kind enough to get out of the way for my photo op.

Because it had been so long …maybe 1983 when I went to a tree farm, I had not seen all these machines these folks had. Bailing machine. A drill for the trunk. Then they put the stand on right there. All we had to do was get it home and stand it up.

The trip to the country was up and down hilly country roads and I was giddy with excitement. We sang Christmas songs all the way home. It was a moment I will always treasure.

The tree was MUCH heavier than I’d anticipated and it took both of us to get it into the house. Unfortunately, my helper had a lung attack (weak lungs from birth) and after getting out his inhaler, and resting, I had to do most of the work…well, pretty much all of it myself. I strung 1200 lights and put up every glass ornament I’ve collected since I was in high school. That would be…a lot.

This is the final result.

It’s the tree I dreamed about.

And my friend who was in the hospital for 5 weeks, then rehabilitation for another 2 weeks, is coming home and will be here in my house this weekend for a pre-party before the Symphony Christmas Pops Concert.

We had our miracle this Christmas. My friend lived. And I have to think there was some magic in that living Christmas Tree.

So, Rula, what are your plans for your Christmas tree this year? You always have such beautiful decorations and your landscape is always filled with pretty birds and animals. What a respite your home is for you and your family.


First snow of the 2018 holidays in Rula's backyard

What an incredible Christmas tree adventure, Catherine! And I'm so glad that you had a Christmas miracle and that your friend is going to be alright. Your tree is absolutely gorgeous and she's going to love it.

I have an artificial tree and it's the same one I bought the year I got married. It's still in pretty good shape! I don't have my tree up yet because I was on a book deadline, but I'm hoping to have it up this weekend. However, we already had our first snow for this holiday season! So, my outside evergreens (and we have many) got decorated with snow :). The photo above was taken in my backyard when the snow first began coming down.

First snow at Rula's

And this is a photo of my artificial tree with a mostly woodland theme from a few years ago.

Rula's tree in 2015

I did, however, get my door wreath made, though I didn't take a photo yet. This is the second year that I've made it myself using branches from the trees on my property.

Rula's wreath. Pic taken last year before the door got painted.

And I plan to make another yule log as part of our holiday tradition. Yum!

I hope everyone has a sweet and loving holiday season!


Oh, and if you're looking for gift ideas or hoping to catch up on reading during the holiday, you know you can't go wrong with books! Any Harlequin Heartwarming sweet romance would be perfect for the holidays.

Catherine's latest in her Shores of Indian Lake series, Rescued by the Firefighter, just released in November and Rula's next release, the final book in her From Kenya, With Love series, The Marine's Return, will be available New Year's Day (Dec 31st ebook/Jan 1st print)!

He can’t be her hero…

But he made a promise to keep her safe

Wounded marine Chad Corallis just wants to be left alone. Until he discovers his best friend’s very pregnant widow is in danger. A dedicated nurse, she refuses to leave her Serengeti medical clinic when it’s threatened by poachers. Chad is honor-bound to protect her, but who will save him from falling for his best friend’s wife?

Rula Sinara's Amazon Author Page

He saved her life…

But will he destroy her dreams?

Firefighter Rand Nelson is tall and handsome and has literally walked through an inferno for Beatrice Wilcox. He’s a hero…and that’s exactly the problem. Beatrice knows all too well the risks of loving a man with a dangerous career. But when Rand’s report threatens her beloved children’s camp, Beatrice can’t refuse his offer of help…even though she knows they’re both playing with fire

Catherine Lanigan's Amazon Author Page

Please share your favorite Christmas tree story or tradition!


  1. I love your story, Catherine, and your snow pictures, Rula. My tree (artificial and flocked) went up yesterday and I do love it!

    1. Thanks, Liz! Looking through Catherine's photos and reading about her day made me feel like I was watching a Hallmark movie :).

  2. I loved these posts, Catherine and Rula, and am in awe of your Christmas preparations. Lovely photos....this is inspiring me to at least get some of my decorations out of storage. We always get a real tree but smaller than yours, Catherine! Usually only a week before and keep it until after New Years. I love to tun out all the house lights and sit by the lit tree in the evening after everyone has gone to bed. :)

    1. Thanks, Liz! Aren't those photos of the snow at Rula's gorgeous? It snowed here last night, wet and the kind that frosts everything. Now to string those lights!!!

    2. Janice, I am watering my tree like crazy, because I'm having the New Year's Eve dinner party and I'm praying that my tree will keep it's lovely nettles till then. It's a Conifer and smells like oranges and lemons. So amazing. My friend had one last year and I couldn't get over the scent! Merry Christmas!

    3. Janice, I love a lit Christmas tree at night too. It gives me a warm, cozy, dreamy feeling. I'm sure yours will be beautiful!

  3. Catherine, what a lovely and inspiring story! I'm so glad your friend is doing well. I'd like to drop by for a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy it in person ;) Rula, that wreath is gorgeous. I tried to make one once and let's just say that it didn't look like that. LOL Living in the Northwest is fun because there are TONS of Christmas tree farms around with a variety of species to choose from. It's so much fun to go choose the tree you want. My favorites are almost always blue spruce and white fir. Happy Holidays, Ladies!

    1. I'll join you gals for the hot chocolate, Carol! I have three different blue spruces growing out front and love their color. I planted them back in 2006. I must say that Catherine's tree is stunning and I love how it glows with the lights. Happy Holidays to you too!

    2. Come on over! I put a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon in the hot cocoa. RICH stuff in my house. Then it's another four days on the treadmill to get those pounds off, but worth it. I bet you have lots and lots of tree farms. And the scents you must have in your house...boughs of holly and cedar! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Lovely story Catherine, and what a nice job you did. And Rula, you always are so talented in many ways. We used to always go cut a tree, then as we moved around we went to artificial. Mine are getting smaller as I age. But I still put up other decorations.

    1. Aw, thanks, Roz :). I think if I had a real tree, the needles would be everywhere because my cats would shake them off. When they were kittens, they would climb up into our artificial tree and we'd have to 'fish' them out. We'd be walking by and there would be this cute kitten face on the tree and it would take a second to register that it wasn't an ornament lol. Our cats are older and bigger, but they still swat at ornaments and play around the tree.

      Oh and if I have time, this year, I'd like to try and make some ornaments out of goose eggs. I saved shells from our goose's eggs this year (very hard to blow out) and have been waiting to try and paint/decorate/glaze them for ornaments. I won't do anything as fancy as Faberge or people who have the tools to do intricate carvings, but I'll try some painting or dried flowers etc... We'll see how it goes!

    2. Thanks so much, Roz. Any tree in Arizona is wonderful. I loved putting up wreathes of those red, red chilis. And we had huge 6 foot stockings hung on our cactus out in front of the house. Happy memories...though bittersweet. Merry Christmas! Now that I have my furnace working again after losing power last week....believe me, I yearn for a week or two in Arizona!

  5. I love your tree, Catherine, especially the way it brushes the ceiling. I'm so glad your friend is out of the hospital and has you. Lovely, lovely.

    And speaking of lovely, I'm jealous of all that pristine snow, Rula. In Anchorage we had a warm windstorm, which and left the remaining snow dirty and thin and the parking lots covered in ice. But my tree is up and makes me smile.

    Merry, merry Christmas!

    1. Beth! I was just thinking about you and the Alaskan earthquake. I'm glad you're okay and I hope everyone in California (re the fires) is okay too. There has been so much devastation and suffering lately. I really hope that this holiday season brings some peace and joy to all. Merry Christmas to you too!

    2. I'm so happy you are okay! Earthquakes are scary. I just never think of them happening in Alaska. I'm praying these holidays finally see an end to all these disasters and mother Nature takes a break!

    3. Thanks. Yes we're fine. Not like those terrible fires in CA. It was the biggest earthquake here since the 1964 (which was biggest in North America), but damage is relatively minor. Schools are closed for a few days to clean up and repair. A few roads will need major repairs. Mat-su (the area north of us close to the Matanuska and Susitna glaciers) was hit harder but no major injuries, which is great news.

  6. I absolutely love the scent of fresh evergreen, but must admit that I also use an artificial tree. The fire hazard is lower and I can have it up for a longer period of time. But every time I pass a display of Christmas wreaths or live trees I have to bury my nose in them for a few seconds.

  7. Hi, Callie, Like you I'm a sucker for the scent of pine, cedar and spruce. I've been known to haul out pine candles in July. I know. I'm taking medication for this addiction. I love, love Christmas. December is my birthday month, my sister's birthday when she was alive, my wedding anniversary is the 21st when Jed was alive, my parent's wedding anniversary was the 15th. AND my niece's birthday and my grandniece's birthday. So it's a star studded, gift giving month for us. And yes, lots of cake!


Post a Comment