Monday, November 30, 2015

Festival of Trees 2015, AKA, The Best Christmas Tree Ideas To Steal!

Greetings, fellow Christmas decoration addicts! Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time for my yearly roundup from Orlando's Festival of Trees!

This event always has the newest designer trends, and is fantastic for inspiration. So let's dive in!

 I'm always most interested in tree toppers, and this year top hats were pretty popular. I like the extra berry sprigs around this one; keeps it from looking too boxy up there.

Now this topper was way over the top... literally:


Ok, so the topper's a bit much, but the theme, "Sweater Weather," was adorable:

 Almost every ornament was made of soft felts and fabric!

This next theme is "Once Upon A Time":

See the little spinning wheel at the base? From that, I'm guessing the wheat stalks on top are an ode to Rumpelstiltskin. 

The ornaments were a mix of keys, crown, fairies, carriages, etc:

I think the peacock theme reached critical mass last year, since this year I only spotted 2 or 3:

I don't care if it's a little overdone; those colors will never stop being gorgeous together. Plus I'm digging that little basket base!

Here's the other peacock theme I photographed, this time on a "pencil tree."

I noticed quite a few of these super skinny trees this year. They're great space-savers, but if you put a fat topper on it (like with the red) they look more like columns than Christmas trees.

I've found most designer toppers now are a big jumbled floral arrangement, without a real focal point:

It took me a minute to realize there IS an angel in there - and that's an interesting idea, setting her down low like that.

Another giant spriggy topper and, uh...

 Peeping Santa topper? Not sure I'd want that staring me down in the middle of the night. o.0

Mini-trees like these are great for kids' rooms, or for getting your geek on:

The Jurassic Park one is a bit crammed, but I like the idea of raiding the toy box for ornaments.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, how 'bout this Haute Couture setup?

I've seen a lot of these tree skirt mannequins around now - they're super fun, in a store-display kind of way. (I'd love to see someone wear one to a convention, though. Christmas fairy? Yes? No?)

 Also digging that red, hot pink, & purple color palette.
(Though the bright pinks all look like red in my pictures.)

I took these pictures the day after the Paris attacks, so John and I spent a few silent moments in front of this one:

The Eiffel Tower topper is perfect with the shape of the tree.

 Plus cute owls go with everything.

I know everyone has different ideas on how much is TOO much, but...

I think this may be too much. :)

Don't you just love teal and red together?

 It's almost as pretty as teal and orange. ALMOST.

 Another beautiful theme tree, this time for wine lovers:

That glittery wine bottle topper would be an easy DIY.

 There were also glowing grape lights and mini painted wine glasses. For the garland, I'm really liking that thin curly ribbon. Not to mention vertical garland is so much easier to put on!

Beach themed trees are always popular here in Florida. I guess something about it being 87 degrees right now affects our design choices:

 A starfish star topper? YES.

Here's a pretty display for our armed forces:

I like the patriotic tree! That red-and-white ribbon is lovely.

Check out this cookie-and-candy themed mini tree in a bright red colander! So cute!

 And with the pink flamingo tree, I like how the ribbon is wrapped around the outside of the branches. Gives the tree a soft, cotton candy effect.

 Another over-sized topper:

 The tree was a little four-footer, which made the giant angels seem even more out of scale. On a bigger tree, though, this would be stunning.

Here's one of my favorite toppers of the day:

The sprigs and greenery beside the top hat look like a windblown scarf! GENIUS. So simple, but it really gives it a sense of movement.

I also like the actual scarf garland. You could cut your own from strips of felt; cheap, easy, adorbz.

We interrupt these trees to bring you some festive carolers in the main gallery:

K, now back to trees.

More garland options: I like these glittery grapevine branches on the left:
 I'm less sure about the dried Palmetto leaves on the right, but that was a Florida themed tree, so it fits. (See the little toy alligators on the tree skirt?)

 This next one on the left has wired-together spray sprigs for a garland, which gives it a feathery, waterfall look:

 And for the red-and-gold one, look how far the ribbon comes out from the branches. I've always tucked ribbon garland IN, but that looks super cool!

 And finally, I totally saved the best for last, you guys.

This may be the most beautiful Christmas tree I've ever seen.

I actually shrieked a bit when we turned the corner:



I couldn't quite fit it all in frame standing in front:

They even had custom citrus paintings on the wall behind it, to go with the theme!
The topper is a custom made sun made from a light ball and gold dowels. At the base are crates of faux oranges and lemons:
 The label in back reads "Apopka," which is a city not far from where we live.

More faux citrus inside the tree, including little slices:

Did I mention all the trees here are for sale? I think they wanted $4,200 for this one. 
Not gonna lie. I WAS TEMPTED.

 [dreamy sigh] So, so gorgeous.

Ok, that does it for my favorite trees this year! Stay tuned for my wreath roundup later, plus a few of the sweetest gingerbread houses I've ever seen. Fun fun!


  1. You really did save the best for last. I do what my grandma called cinnamon trees: all the ornaments are gifts or mementos.putting them on the tree with my mom and daughter is the bees knees, christmas-joy-wise.

    But for the first time ever, I thought: I could do a themed mini tree. I could do that.

    Sooooooo stunning!

    Love your posts.

    1. I'm with you. Nearly every ornament we have was made for us or by us, or one that was bought that has meaning for the receiver. Even our garland is cockle shells (that my mom and I collected on our favorite beaches as I was growing up) with red beads and silver long tube-like beads, (lost the word for it... words hard duuuurrrrr). I never like the look of having wide ribbon wrapped around a tree. We do however have a few themed mini trees. One with Dr. Seuss, a Christmas story characters themed one, and a candy themed one.

    2. Christmas ornaments are my souvenirs of choice--I get one anywhere we go, even for day trips--so when we put up our tree, we are reminded of all of the fun adventures we've had.

    3. One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating the tree with all my ornaments, too! I love the way our tree looks because it just feels "homey" and nostalgic. It's not perfectly coordinated or stylish, but I really love it. When I was younger, my parents would always take us out every year to buy a Christmas ornament at the beginning of December. Many of mine are very 90's looking, and I love pulling them out each year and remembering my childhood as I hang them up. Luckily my husband's parents did basically the same thing with him, so we have a tree full of memories. :)

    4. Elisabeth, that is an awesome idea! I agree Danielle, our tree will never win any fashion awards, but the comfort of memories on it means so much more. TBH, I really wasn't thrilled with any of the trees in this years post, even though the last one *was* simply stunning. Still not something I'd like to see in my house.

  2. I thought the dinosaur tree was in the theme of Dinovember. So many wonderful trees.

  3. The last one is very striking, but I can't help but feel that there isn't a lot of tree showing. I'm not even sure how they managed to get all those baubles onto it... Do they use glue?

    I think my favourite is probably the fairytale one, or the thin peacock one. I just love the peacock colour scheme.

    You're making me want to make Christmas decorations now. That little knitted fox is adorable.

  4. I think my favorite thing was something in the background that you didn't mention. On the wall above the carolers was an adorable snowman that they made using a round mirror for the base - what a fun and easy idea!!

  5. I like the red tree with the tutu. Very simple.

  6. Talk about perfect timing - just put up the tree on Friday. So many fun ideas in these photos! Most of the ornaments on my tree are mementos from years past - purchased, given or passed down by friends and family. Many of the gift givers have passed away so the tree it is a lovely reminder. That being said, I truly loved the last tree! I am tempted to do something similar on a small tree. I will keep my eyes open for after Christmas sales on orange, yellow and green ornaments. BTW - there is a tiny reflection of you and John taking photos in the green ornament. Fun treat!

  7. I worked on the Cosmos-themed tree with my co-workers, and you have no idea how thrilled I am to see that you liked our garland! :)

    1. You guys did a great job! That one was actually my favorite on here!

    2. Thanks! It was a lot of fun. We made a bunch of the ornaments, too.

    3. It was my favorite too! So beautiful!

  8. Oh that last tree is a beauty! I don't think I've ever seen that color graduation before. I think this is going to be trend setting... more like this next year maybe. Thanks for the tree roundup, I thoroughly enjoy this post each year. :)

  9. Wow, that last one is amazing! Although, I have to say that the only tree on your blog I've ever been tempted to recreate is your Harry Potter tree. :) Now to convince my husband that I need a third Christmas tree for the house...

  10. Aside from the GIANT topper (wowza) "Sweater Weather" was my favorite. A close second was the tree-skirt mannequin, I've never seen that before! It WOULD make an amazing costume/cosplay! I wish our local Festival of Trees was a bit more creative. Most of the trees are themed around local businesses.

  11. My angel usually sits just below the top of the tree because we always buy too big a tree that there is no room for her and her wings on top! The one with the angel looking down was stunning! Of course a better scale would help. The other interesting topper I have done is a Teddy bear like decoration. I believe it may have been something to sit on a shelf and I opened the bottom/butt and removed the sand used for weight. that allowed me to open up the bottom a bit and shove that tree branch right up there! It was part of my pastel pink and green candy theme tree!

  12. That's it!! I am going to spend the better part of the next year collecting and making trimmings for next year's tree! I have seen these posts every year and just LOVE them. But I have a tiny living room and can't ever seem to find a good space for it, so I have to buy the pencil trees. And then I just added cats to my brood of children and dogs and chickens...and found the joy of having a Christmas tree and cats in the same house. This was me trying to put up the tree last year: PHOTO1 and PHOTO 2

  13. Yay, Christmas-y goodness! I think my favorites are the mini peacock tree (love those colors!!) and the Armed Forces tree and wreaths. Although, I do agree with Sally that the snowman made with the big round mirror on the wall is absolutely adorable! What a fun idea!

  14. Um, wow. 0.0 I want that sun tree-topper RIGHT NOW and I don't even have a tree yet. Now I need to check and see if they have an event like that here in my neck of the woods!

  15. real trees always look better, I have a real mental block with the too-perfect shape of the artificial ones

  16. That last tree! WOW! I gasped a little. Love these tree posts :)

  17. wow!! that citrus tree (Apopka) was amazing!! its just my kind of tree! (the colors in my kitchen are those 3 colors!!) I'm a huge SF/F nerd.... so I have a lot of Star Trek & Star Wars ornaments... and someday I will have a separate tree loaded with just those ornaments. But to have a gorgeous themed tree in each room of the house.... that would be a dream come true! Happy Holidays!

  18. My wedding was red and teal, so I love seeing all the decorations! My grandmother's reaction at the time was "oh, how... bold" so now I tell her that I'm a trend setter :-P

  19. This is so amazing! It makes me want to make a theme with my tree. It's my first Christmas with my own tree so all I've got are the lights and a few ornaments. I so very much want to make the candy themed one!

    1. If you have a Michael's near you, they have tubes of adorable candy cane/peppermint ornaments for like 3 bucks right now. I'm doing a candyland wreath for my front door, so I've been keeping an eye out :-)

    2. Hobby Lobby usually also has quite a few candy themed ornaments are are probably half off now.

    3. Oh my goodness, I have both! I'll definitely be going this weekend to get supplies.

    4. On my candy theme tree, I would string Fruit Loops instead of popcorn! Kind of a fun twist and the colors are great!

  20. Wow, so pretty. Being from So Cal and previously in the industry, I love the citrus one!

    Completely off topic: I just downloaded Jenny Lawson's book 'Furiously Happy' based on your recommendation ages ago. I was laughing even before the official start of the book. She is hilarious. It is also a fun, educational look at mental health. I plan to buy my mom a dead tree copy for herself and make a silver ribbon adorned with a furiously happy raccoon head for myself to wear.

    -Just Andrea

  21. This is always one of my favorite posts of the year. I have a friend who has about 45-50 trees in her house & they are all themed...this year she is planning to do something with a donation to a charity based on her guests favorite tree.

    I would say one reason you are seeing more skinny/pencil trees is because it is the main style of tree being sold! My friend with all the trees has several that she would like to upgrade/replace, but she likes big full trees & has been unable to find them in recent years. :(

    1. Tell your friend she can go to ChristmasTreeMarket(dot)com and find one. They are bit pricier, but they are excellent quality. Up until last year, I decorated trees professionally, and have ordered from them multiple times with great results.

  22. You totally saved the best tree for last. I absolutely loved it!! I'm not surprised you were tempted to buy it, haha...

  23. Aaack! I just love this annual post so much. How do you enter? Any chance you could enter? Your trees at home are always incredible!
    You did save the best for last. The citrus tree is stunning and I'm sure is pure Florida for you, but as a cradle Californian, it is so evocative of Christmas in California when all the citrus is ripening.
    Better Homes or Martha did a sage and orange colored Christmas article once featuring oranges and while I can't bring myself to be nontraditional, it would be the direction I'd go.
    Thank you again for all the lovely pictures!

  24. Oh dear. I'm afraid I liked the Festive Carolers more than any of the trees! I don't like the skinny trees, and I don't like the trees so covered in stuff that you can't even see the tree. I like full, fat, triangular trees, and I like very traditonal ornaments and decorations.
    Something my daughter and I have noticed for a few years now, and wonder if anyone knows why...the use of camping trailers or travel trailers as Christmas ornaments. Why is that a thing?

  25. Oh dear those carolers must be miserable, if it truly is 87 degrees out....

  26. Those trees are fantastic! I wish we had a festival of trees here in Houston. I love Christmas decorating and did it professionally for several years as a side business to my regular job. I miss putting it all together and trying new themes out!

  27. I loved seeing these pictures. I think my favorite tree was probably the red top hat tree, but the wine lovers came a close second. Although, I have to admit seeing all the amazing trees made me a little sad. We just to have a festival of trees in Atlanta, and the proceeds benefited the Children's Hospital, but they stopped having it several years ago. It had amazing trees, and gingerbread houses. I wish they would bring it back.

  28. Jen, I just want to thank you for this wonderful blog. You show us so many things that are unique and fun. But most importantly, you share 'you.' That's what makes this spot special. Thank you, too, for taking the time to provide instructions that are easy and thorough enough for those of us semi-creative people to follow. It's always a joy to visit Epbot right after I've looked at the 'wrecks.

    I hope you know how much you're appreciated. <3

  29. I live in Orlando and my daughter and I usually go to this every year. This year we were unable to go, so I was so exited to see your post! We get to see the trees after all. Thank you.

  30. 1. One of my favorite things about posts like this is playing "find Jen" in the reflections in the ornaments.

    2. Even though our tree is already decorated, I am SERIOUSLY TEMPTED to take all of the ornaments off (which are in a wide range of bright colors) and put them back on in rainbow order, from top to bottom.

  31. First time I saw the mannequin Christmas skirt, I thought "I want to wear that." Now I'm waiting for everything to be half off so it doesn't cost me a fortune to make it.

  32. We have a super slim tree, have to admit not as festive but needed it when had small kids I couldn't trust, as could hide in a corner. Just put ours up and as happy till saw this and now wish I'd got the big fat tree out.
    We do a mixed tree as well, buy a new decoration every year and they all carry memories for us. We even have custom Lego figs on the tree.

  33. One of the trees showed off something I'd like to incorporate at our house. I always work hard to decorate all sides of the tree but my trees usually end up in a corner. The mirror on the wall behind the tree (with the curtain rod & pulled back curtain) showed me a great way to show off the back of my tree in the future -- just hang a good sized mirror on the wall. I really loved looking at these. Thank you for taking the time to go, take photos, and then share them with us. I appreciate it.

  34. My husband's parents, and his youngest brother, still live in Apopka! My husband and his middle brother both moved away as soon as they could -- my husband came back up here to Indiana/Michigan [where most of the rest of the family lives], and his brother lives on the coast so he can take his boat out on the ocean whenever he wants. We went down there to visit about ten years ago [the only time I've been out of this area!] and it was stiflingly hot in MARCH, ugh.


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