This will be the 7th Christmas together for Johnnie and I and we have never had a proper Christmas tree before! The first year (still dating) we put up a small fake one at his house. Christmas #2, #3, and #4 we didn't bother with a tree because we were traveling. Christmas #5 we were in Korea and didn't decorate at all. Last year Johnnie was deployed so I only decorated a very small fake tree and it didn't feel much like Christmas.
This year we went to Helemano Farms in Wahiawa to choose and chop down a Christmas tree. This was my first time ever going to a tree lot to choose a Christmas tree. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing this every year from now on as a family!
Helemano Farms only had Norfolk Island Pines available this year but that was perfect for our first Hawaiian Christmas together as a family! The Norfolk Island Pine is a triangular shaped tree with symmetrical circles of branches evenly spaced on a thin trunk. It is affectionately referred to as the "Hawaiian Christmas tree" as very few actual Christmas trees are grown here. Traditional Christmas trees have to be shipped here (like everything else), traveling almost 3,000 miles by cargo ship across the ocean from Washington and Oregon.
The neat thing about Norfolk Island Pines is that they don't need replanted every year like other Christmas trees. Once the top of the tree is chopped off, it regrows! It's a tree that keeps giving - perfect for Christmas :)
The needles of this tree are very pliable so it is a much softer tree than it appears to be. The trunk has needles sticking out all over like a cactus but they bend when you touch them. We had no problem pushing our way through thick branches wearing shorts and t-shirts. Hahahaha... shorts and t-shirts to pick out a Christmas tree :)
The branches of this tree will not hold a lot of weight. You can hang heavier ornaments close to the trunk but you have to hang lightweight ornaments on the rest. I actually had to use wire to attach a chopstick to the back of the top of the tree to make it firm enough to put something very lightweight on top. We have a tree angel and a few ornaments that we collected over the years but left most of them packed up this year because they were too heavy.
I gave Cameron a bag full of lightweight felt star ornaments that I bought in Korea. She had a blast helping me decorate the tree! After she piled them all on, she shook the branch to make sure they wouldn't fall off :)
We bought some small ocean-colored bulbs and used some starfish that I had in my crafting supplies. I used crafting wire to attach a large starfish to the top of the tree, and used wire and beads to create starfish ornaments to hang from the branches. I wrapped burlap around the tree stand in lieu of the tree skirt that I haven't made yet.
Christmas lights photography tip: If you have a camera that you can set to Aperture Priority (Av) mode, set the aperture to a large number to make the lights look like little starbursts. The aperture for the photo below was set to f/16. You'll also want to set your camera on something steady like a piece of furniture or a tripod to get a clear photo because the shutter will be open longer.
"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.
In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall."