The museum where I work hosts an annual festival of trees every year called the Winter Event. People come in on the first Saturday in December and we raffle off about 20-25 decorated Christmas trees and about as many gift baskets. It’s a lot of fun and we really get some beautiful trees! Last year, I decided that I’d get on the list to make a tree for this year so I was loosely brainstorming for about a year.

At first, I thought we’d do a tree that had decorations that were also dog toys and call it “A Doggone Good Christmas.” The problem is that our dog is particularly good at sniffing out dog toys and likes to punch at cabinets that hold them. She’s so good in fact that last week she tricked both Kyle and I into getting her a new bone because she kept knocking at that cabinet. So, collecting dog toys on sale and hiding them around the house wasn’t an option which meant we’d have to buy them at non-markdown prices to get our tree ready. Also, the theme this year was “My Favorite Cartoon Christmas” and I was having a hard time getting excited about connecting cartoons to my dog tree.

Then, I had the idea of using Dug from Up as the dog and calling the tree “Dug’s Doggone Good Christmas.” But then I discovered that finding Up stuff that was specifically Dug-related was a little difficult. And I started looking around for inspiration and realized it would be pretty easy to make a tree just inspired by the movie. Plus, the tree would be all bright colors and balloons and fun!

The balloons were going to be the thing that made the tree different than just a tree decorated with Up characters. And all of those balloons would make the tree very colorful too. I bought a strand of rainbow-colored mini-lights, silver ornaments, and a tinsel garland. Before putting it on the tree, I tied 200 balloons to the tinsel garland.

To add some more cartoon fun, I used Disney’s Family site to get some printables for the Up decorations on the tree. I slid finger puppets onto the end of branches.

I also printed and made a Russell 3D Character, a Carl 3D Character, and an UP House!


After I had the tree decorated, I decided it needed more color so I added some little blue glittery bells, red glittery stars, and red glittery snowflakes. I also added a box of multicolor warhead candy canes and a box of solid (but bright) color Lifesavers candy canes.

By the time it was done, I secretly wanted to win the raffle and get to take it home! I’m not sure how well it did in terms of competing with the other raffled trees, but I know that a lot of kids brightened up when they saw it and recognized the characters. It was so different than my tree at home and really a lot of fun to make.

Before the actual event, I added helium balloons as a tree topper. Obviously this wouldn’t last all Christmas season, but it would make the tree a lot of fun for a kids’ Christmas party. Unfortunately, with all of the fun of the event, I didn’t get a picture of the tree with the balloons so I had to add those later. Luckily, one of our photographers caught a shot of my completed tree so I just cropped our guests out of it!

This year’s theme really let me have fun and be creative. I hope the family that won it is really enjoying it!


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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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