Years ago, I started purchasing Christmas tree ornaments when we’d travel. I loved unpacking the ornaments each year and reminiscing about the places we’d been and the things we’d seen. At some point, we collected enough ornaments to decorate an entire tree and I decided that we should have one tree in our house completely dedicated to our travels. This year, the tree is in our basement living room and is a great reminder of the many blessings that travel has brought us over the years.

The Christmas Closet (throwing up, as my husband would say).

The Christmas Closet (throwing up, as my husband would say).

How to decorate your tree

To decorate the tree, here’s what I did.

I started with a 7′ artificial tree, pre-lit with white lights. And, because I love organization, I pulled out my clear tote (I always use clear totes so I can see what’s in them without removing lots of lids and digging through the box) labeled “Travel Tree.”

You’ll also notice that I put like items (i.e. balls, sprigs, ornaments, etc) in individual small totes or ziplock bags. Packing things this way is much easier to unpack and saves a lot of space, which is great, because I promised my husband I would accumulate as much Christmas decor as would fit in the small “Christmas Closet” we designated when we bought this house.

postcardjar.com

Next, I attached large mesh ribbon to the branches by just gathering it every 18 inches or so and tying it around a branch with a flexible wire. I try not to “wrap” the ribbon around the tree as if I’ve taken it hostage, but typical start at the top, and work my way down the tree and around the sides.

 

postcardjar.com

Next, I start adding the embellishments starting with the largest things. I used big snowflakes, different sized balls (this year, I used mostly blue, silver and white), inexpensive sprigs I picked up at a craft store 75% off last year, and some glittery phrases like “Joy to the World” and “Merry Christmas.”

postcardjar.com

Next, add the ornaments

Next, I added my favorite … the ornaments we’ve collected on our travels through the years and some that were given to us as gifts, such as a little wooden hula dancer my grandparents brought back from Hawaii when I was a little girl. We love collecting ornaments when we travel because they are typically available most places, are inexpensive, and besides, who really needs another t-shirt or key chain? We always hang these ornaments as a family and enjoy talking about where we got each one and sharing memories from those trips. Honestly, it’s probably my favorite part of decorating for Christmas.

postcardjar.com

These ornaments are from (starting at the top left): Tokyo, New York City, Alaska, Mount Vernon, Big Ben in London, Sri Lanka, USS Constitution in Boston, Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, House on the Rock in the Wisconsin Dells, Canada, Hawaii, and another one from our trip to Alaska in 2013.

Lastly, add some postcards

Lastly, I add postcards (of course) to the tree by attaching them with a fancy ornament hook I found half price at Hobby Lobby after Christmas last year.

postcardjar.com

It is so much fun each year to go through our postcard jar and pick out which ones we want to put on the tree. We typically include several from our most recent travels, as well as a few of our favorite places from trips of the past.

In 2014, the year’s travels were represented with postcards from our Nebraska road trip and a visit to Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park; our spur-of-moment stop at the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota; our trip to see Steve’s parents in the Florida Keys at Easter; and our four visits to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where I was diagnosed and treated for a rare disease call cardiac sarcoidosis.

And, here’s the finished product …

postcardjar.com

Do you have any special ways you incorporate travel in your holiday decorating? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


PIN FOR LATER

  • Just over two years ago, we stopped in Pawhuska to have lunch at Ree Drummond's @PWMercantile. From the person opening the door for us to the folks tending the line giving us water, we felt welcome from the moment we set foot in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.⁣
⁣
But it turns out it wasn't just @thepioneerwoman and her husband, Ladd, who went above and beyond to welcome visitors. No, it turns out what they did was just par for the course in this town that's home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met in all our travels. ⁣
⁣
So we bought a house there. We got it in part, so we could be a part of the community we've come to love. But we also got it so we could help welcome folks to town and let them know how glad we are they came to visit. Come and see Pawhuska. And when you do, stay awhile.
  • Fried dill pickles are a little different in North Dakota than they are in most other places we've been. Instead of just dipping some dill chips in batter, dropping them in the fryer, and then serving them in a basket with ranch, the folks there take their time and make a dish to remember.⁣
⁣
They start with a dill pickle spear, wrap that in Havarti cheese, then put a wonton wrapper around it all. Then, they fry it, and slice it open just so before serving them alongside a spicy aioli dipping sauce. We had these at a complimentary meal at Outlaws Bar and Grill in @visitwilliston, North Dakota.⁣
⁣
Let's be honest, these pickles are just one of many reasons we look forward to our return to @northdakotalegendary next year.
  • Have you ever had the chance to watch a cruise ship come into or leave port? These massive ships, often 1,000 feet or more long, can maneuver themselves by the dock so gently that you don't even realize you've stopped (or started) moving.⁣
⁣
In Bermuda, we had the chance to watch the Norwegian Escape depart. We watched as she pushed away from the dock, then spun 180 degrees on a point before heading out to sea.⁣
⁣
We've seen ships do this dozens of times. In fact, we've been on ships and have been part of this type of maneuvering dozens of times. And yet, given the sheer size of the vessels, it never ceases to impress.
  • You know you want to. Do it. Just book the ticket and go. At the end of your life, you likely won't remember most of the stuff you bought in 2019, but you will always remember the journey you took and the experiences you had. So enrich your life and go. We've never regretted spending money for a trip.
  • This just might be the sweetest, best pecan roll we've ever had. At the @PWMercantile, they bake these delicious treats daily. Covered in a luscious caramel and finely chopped pecans, these rolls are the stuff dreams are made of. Have you had one?
  • Smack in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we found the International Rose Test Garden. Set on 4.5 acres of land, the garden offers visitors a chance to see 10,000 rose bushes from about 650 different varieties. ⁣
⁣
We spent more than an hour walking the carefully tended paths, snapping photos, and just enjoying the beautiful flowers. Our visit here made us glad that we literally scheduled time on this trip to stop and smell the roses.
  • Set in a renovated middle school in Grinnell, Iowa, Hotel Grinnell is one of our favorite boutique hotels. The owner thoughtfully designed the space and included touches from school including “Hall Pass” key card sleeves, and a bar cleverly named, “The Periodic Table.” We wrote a story on this hotel, you can read all about it on our blog. Link in bio. @hotelgrinnell #hosted @traveliowa
  • Everyone has a happy place, a spot where the world melts away and a sense of relaxation and calm settles in. For Steve, this place is on board a cruise ship, out on open water. He can spend hours sitting and watching the water, the ship's wake, and looking out for other ships. He loves soaking up the sun and fresh ocean air while cruising along on the sea. ⁣
⁣
What's your happy place? ⁣
⁣
#cruiselife #cruiseship #celebritycruise #cruising #cruiseaddict #cruiseaddict #cruises #cruiser #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #celebritycruises #seastheday #celebritysummit #endlesssummer #cruise #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruisecritic #lifeisbetteratsea #luxurytravel #crucero #cruisin #kreuzfahrt

Second most popular blog in Pawhuska