DIY Christmas in Chicago

I left Chicago before Thanksgiving and came back to a decked out city. The Prudential Plaza is so overly decorated, it almost hurts your eyes. There are icicle lights hanging from the ceiling and several Christmas trees of various design– some with with gold ornaments, others with paper. It’s all very charming if you’re a traditionalist, but quite frankly, it’s just not my style. I like clean lines and chrome. I like recycled wood and natural curves. I am also into functional yet attractive designs.

Last year, my Christmas tree was an Ikea lamp that I repurposed. It had all the elements that I liked and had the added bonus of being LED. It was a very simple project that involved bending the arms of my Stranne table lamp in such a way as to carry simple ornaments. I chose two boxes of green orbs with one opaque and the other translucent. Later, while helping my parents put up their traditional tree, my mom mentioned that she wanted to throw away my favorite monkey ornaments. I strongly objected and took the monkeys home to complete the look for my little apartment. Monkeys belong on trees!

Whenever I had company over last season, they would always comment on how whimsical my little tree was. It made everyone smile when they would walk into the room. To defend the tree against those who prefer pine, I have this argument: have you ever been to the Middle East where Christ was born? Aside from the cedars of Lebanon, you will not find many conifers. However, you will find olive, almond, date, palm, pomegranate and fig. I am not religious at all. I want to make the point that trees can come in all shapes and sizes yet can still provide you with the same warmth of the holiday season. That’s my two cents as I find new ways to improvise this year’s tree.

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