Dave and I have always had a live tree at Christmas.  Ever since we started dating.  We have a running battle about lights.  I want hundreds (I mean hundreds) of white lights…he wants multicolored lights. When our children were little we solved this problem by having 2 trees.  A live tree with white lights and ornaments we collected over the years and a kids tree with pre-lit multi colored lights.  This tree was special as it had all the ornaments made by Lizzy and James throughout the years and a Lego train circling the tree and presents.

When we purchased our first North Carolina mountain home, we began a new tradition.  We love to spend Thanksgiving in the mountains and would head out the day after to choose and cut down our live tree from a favorite Christmas tree farm.  (For many years we attended all the home Florida Gator games, meaning the years when Florida played Florida State at home we stayed home…no Thanksgiving in the mountains…)  Back to cutting down the tree and bringing it home…all the way to Florida atop our car.  We always had the same back and forth discussion about how to get that tree home, whether it was tied down well enough to make it 500 miles at 60+ mph…My response always…everyone does it…just look at the line of cars on I-95 traveling with Christmas trees.

Last year was the first time in years we did not have a live tree.  We moved into our newly remodeled home (after living 4 months in our over the garage guest suite) the week before Christmas.  With boxes piled everywhere, our son, James, managed to put up an artificial tree we bought on sale and decorated it beautifully with all our special ornaments.  We enjoyed gazing at the one thing in the house that looked pulled together.

This year…back to a live tree for this girl. I would love to share with you some of our special ornaments, decorations and traditions we’ve enjoyed throughout the years.

Christmas Tree on Marsh Creek photo by Kathy Miller

Christmas tree with sunrise view photo by Kathy Miller

The Gear Bears garland is over 30 years old…made of paper and has survived years of folding and storing just so.  Remember Gear Bears in the 80’s?

Gear Bears Paper Garland photo by Kathy Miller

In our old house, I used to have a small tree tucked in the corner on a kitchen counter.  The only ornaments on the tree were Tutti Frutti angels…a different fruit on each angel.  Now I have them grouped on our large tree.

 Love this whimsical apple

Apple Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Lemon with a cup of tea…

Lemon Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

My favorite Plum stirring a plum pudding…

Plum Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Pineapple angel, the universal welcome symbol holding another welcome symbol…the wreath

Pineapple Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Pear angel holding a small Christmas tree

Pear Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Orange angel carrying an orange glazed pound cake

Orange Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

And the grape angel…holding a bottle of wine…love her expression!

Grape Tutti Frutti ornament photo by Kathy Miller

We also have a few Christopher Radko ornaments.  I found these  ladies years ago and with my fashion buying background, I appreciate their detailed fashionable dress!  Real fabric details.

This one has an apt name…”Miss Kitty” from the old western Gunsmoke.  For those of you who remember Miss Kitty, even her red hair is on target!

Miss Kitty Christopher Radko ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Love this Carmen Miranda fashionista with boa and yes that’s fruit on her head.

Carmen Miranda ornament with fruit and boa photo by Kathy Miller

Lady from The East…look at the fabric details

Lady from the East ornament photo by Kathy Miller

International Lady…more detail

Internation lady ornament photo by Kathy Miller

And 2 of my favorite Christopher Radko ornaments…Peter Pan and Captain Hook.  Lizzy and James were Peter Pan and Captain Hook on a long ago Halloween.

Peter Pan and Captain Hook Christopher Radko ornaments photo by Kathy Miller

Peter Pan ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Captain Hook ornament photo by Kathy Miller

Getting in the Holiday Spirit makes this time of year so special.

Coming next week…a look at our holiday table with what’s for dinner recipes!

Thank you for being supportive of KathyMillerTime art of Living blog, writings, recipes, artwork and more importantly for your friendship.

Wishing you and yours the best Holiday Season…From our table to yours…

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


  • Bob says:

    Love Miss Kitty and Carmen Miranda. I’ve always thought of myself as Peter Pan and love him on your teee.

    • KathyMillerTime says:

      Peter, I Love Miss Kitty and Carmen Miranda and my fashionistas. Hope your move has been easy and good! Peter Pan…

  • Janet says:

    Loved seeing your ornaments. All of us have ornaments that would make a great home tour of Christmas trees. Anne Allen has a special tree! I know there are others and it is sad they are not up all year so more people could share what they have collected and the treasures that stay packed away most of the time.
    Your tree looks lovely and in a beautiful location. I forgot all about Gear Bears. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Janet, You just gave me a great idea…we need to do a story for South Island Living on special ornament collections! Or maybe we should do a home tour next year…to raise money for…Cummer Amelia?
      Those paper Gear Bears are over 32 years old. Yikes!

  • Laura Huffman says:

    Your tree is gorgeous! I’ll live vicariously through you this year, as we’re not through with our remodel and are heading to DC for Xmas with Dan. So no tree or decorations this year. Merry Christmas to you and the family, PSA! XOXO

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thanks Laura! This will be a strange Christmas for you without decorations, but know the final remodel will be wonderful! We were there just last year and understand the pain! Have a wonderful Christmas in DC with Dan. Love and miss you…XOXO

  • Judy Pillans says:

    The tree decorations show is a great idea. We are looking for a different project for Cummer Amelia. So of course I loved that idea. Let’s pursue in January!


  • Susan Nunn says:

    The memories and joy elicited by unpacking treasured ornaments each year is quite special. Thanks of sharing some of your favorites,along with your beautiful NC tree !
    Merry, Merry , Susan

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thank you Susan! Coming from you means so much with your floral and interior background! Know you have a beautiful tree and the house is ready for Christmas🎄🎄🎅🎅❤️😎

  • Kay says:

    Love the beautiful ornaments. Van likes “Miss Kitty”!

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