Sharing Our Christmas Trees and Traditions With You!

Christmas trees say so much about us and our families. They may tell the story of the places we have been or the things we like to do. Sometimes they track the progression of our families from baby’s first ornament to the glittery star made in second grade and on into college and career. This holiday season we have gathered photos of our own trees as well as some that we discovered along the way. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about each of us and perhaps find some exciting new ideas for your own trees!

Office Christmas tree, ribbons, metallic balls, fleur-de-lis ornaments, flocked branches

Tucked into a corner of our new studio in Barrington, this tree says “IEG.” Photo by IEG

Personalizing an Office Christmas Tree

Take a close look at the IEG tree that I decorated, above and below.  What do you see? Ornaments in the shape of our signature fleur-de-lis logo! Just as our trees at home should reflect our personal lives, the trees we put up in our offices should be inspired by our avocations. This one says to me “elegance and soft glam.” It is striking but doesn’t dominate our front foyer.


Closeup of Christmas tree ornament, fleur-de-lis ornament, flocked branches, ribbon

For variety and contrast, I added large metallic balls to the flocked branches. Photo by IEG

“Flower of the Lily”

You may be surprised to know that I purchased the fleur-de-lis ornaments before I launched my studio. I have always been drawn to that image, which was inspired by the lily (hence the name, which  means flower of the lily), so I chose it for the IEG logo.


Xmas tree, five different kinds of ribbons, Radko ornaments

This year, I lavished my tree at home with five different ribbon styles. Photo by IEG

The Story Behind My Radko Ornaments

In 1999, my parents were planning to take my sisters and our families to Disney World for one last vacation together with my Dad. We knew he would not be with us too much longer because he had developed a terminal cancer. Though he did not live to take that trip, we all decided to go the next year as that was his wish. My very first Radko ornament, the Disney castle in the photo below, commemorates that bitter-sweet trip and brings back memories of my Dad each year.  After that first Radko, my sister and I were hooked! Each year, Jacqueline and I collect a new Radko ornament, shopping together the day after Thanksgiving. We have both started collections for our daughters as well, and my children often add to my collection. This year my Christmas tree features mostly my Radko ornaments, as well as yards and yards of ribbon in five different patterns.

Radko ornament, Disney castle, Christmas tree

This Disney castle ornament commemorates my trip to Disney World with my extended family after my father died. Photo by IEG

Made-by-Hand Quality

The colors, hand-crafted quality and nostalgic tone of the Radko ornaments appeal to me during the holidays when we are gathering our families around us. The Christopher Radko Company in North Carolina has designed and produced more than 18 million of these glass ornaments. Each one is meticulously hand-made in artisanal Polish factories starting with the artists who design them, a team of glass blowers and artisans who hand paint them. The process takes weeks to complete! These are truly collectors’ items, and they are little treasures to me.

residential Christmas tree, fur ornaments, fur christmas tree skirt, white cotton braided garland

This tree invites us to reach out and touch. Photo by IEG

Elizabeth’s Tree – It’s Fur-tastic

“This year I was really into texture and a “winter wonderland” feeling,” Elizabeth told me. “Fur was my inspiration, because I am so into it this season. From white fur snowball ornaments to fur-wrapped gifts  and a furry tree skirt, my tree invites everyone to reach out and touch it! To keep the tree natural looking, I used only neutral colors but a variety of textures. The cotton buds relate to the furry snow balls, which are both earthy elements that led me to introduce twig balls sprinkled with snow. The pheasant feathers at the top symbolize my husband’s love for hunting with our boys and our two Labrador retrievers.”

closeup of christmas tree, white cotton braided garland, ornaments

Elizabeth found the perfect cotton braided garland for her tree. Photo by IEG

A Different Kind of Garland

Elizabeth shared one of her family’s traditions, too. “On Christmas morning, when the boys were young, my husband and I would gather them all on our bed and read the Christmas story before allowing them to unwrap presents. Each boy took a page and of course, read it as fast as they could so they could run downstairs and open their gifts! Today we still read that story, but now we gather around the tree instead of on the bed.


residential christmas tree, ribbons, ornaments, turquoise, gifts, santa doll

Our “Style Watchers” tree is by my sister, Jacqueline. I love her style! Photo by IEG

My Sister Jackie’s Tree

We call Jackie our “Style Watcher” because she always finds the latest and greatest in design.  Each year she slightly updates her tree, sometimes adding new ribbons. This year she discovered a new way of displaying the ribbons as she was exploring ideas for the 2020 holidays. But Jackie’s tree will always feature turquoise, one of her favorite colors, and a touch of animal print.


closeup of frog ornament on christmas tree, ribbons

Doesn’t every tree need a meditative frog? Photo by IEG

Why a Frog?

As I mentioned earlier, Jackie collects Radko ornaments too, and one of her favorites is this frog. To me, it looks like he is meditating on the meaning of Christmas.  Jackie chose it in honor of her oldest child, who was obsessed with frogs – maybe because the family lived on a lake! He always loved to show his Mom the frogs he had captured.


residential white christmas tree with blue ribbon, ornaments and tree skirt

Symphony in blue, by Ashley. Photo by IEG

A Baby Son Inspires Ashley’s Tree

In honor of her baby son, Adan, Ashley decided to deck her tree in shades of blue, her favorite color. “Many of my ornaments commemorate milestones in my life or have another special meaning to me,” she told me. “I have ornaments from my first Christmas, from my pregnancy and when my husband and I first started dating. I love one that my Mom gave me, which says “be merry, be bright, be you.” It reminds me of my Mom, encouraging me to be myself and love myself for that.”

closeup of mickey and minnie mouse christmas tree ornament, wedding ornament, white christmas tree

Celebrating Ashley’s wedding. Photo by IEG

The Happy Couple

“I bought this ornament when my husband and I were on our honeymoon at Disney World. I love the big smiles on Mickey and Minnie’s faces!”


closeup of baby boy touching a christmas tree

Ashley’s son, Adan, discovers Grandma’s tree. Photo by Ashley Mui

Baby’s First Christmas

“My husband and I are truly enjoying our first Christmas with our son, Adan. He smiled and laughed the first time that he reached out to touch his Grandmother’s tree. It was a new experience when the branches poked his little hands. And when the lights came on he was in awe and smiling. Of course, like any baby, he was pulling on the ornaments and trying to put one in his mouth!”


christmas tree in foyer, multi-colored ribbons, black and white tree skirt, red and black ornaments

This tree says “welcome to our home.” Photo courtesy of Shop Hello Holidays

A Tree to Greet Visitors

We just couldn’t stop thinking about trees after we photographed our own, so we gathered a selection of show stoppers we discovered to brighten the season. Isn’t this foyer tree a wonderful way to welcome guests to you home? It’s so festive and bold; you won’t need to decorate your bannisters. After all, a tree with this much pizzazz deserves all the attention.

whimsical residential christmas tree, pink and acqua, black and white christmas tree skirt, wrapped gifts, lollypop ornaments

This one makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop! Photo courtesy of Shop Hello Holidays

Giving Free Rein to Whimsy

I love a free-spirited tree like this! There is so much going on, yet it doesn’t look messy. It’s a completely exuberant celebration of the season.

residential christmas tree, black and white ribbons, gold and silver ornaments, striped christmas stockings

Hello silver and gold; meet black and white. Shop Hello Holidays

We Call This One “Solid Glam”

Yes, this tree is gloriously glamorous, but it manages to feel playful at the same time. Maybe that comes from the very merry tree topper spilling over the highest boughs and the ribbons in mixed geometrics. The black-and-white striped stockings on the fireplace make me smile, too, with their turned-back toes.

outdoor christmas tree, wicker basket, pine cones on outdoor christmas tree, white ornaments, gifts, flocked branches, bell ornaments

Outdoor trees give us another chance to expand our creativity. Photo courtesy of Love Grows Wild.

Woodsy and Wild Outdoor Tree

This pinecone studded tree makes me think of small woodland creatures and the chickadees in my backyard. The natural look is ideal for an outdoor tree, with multi-sized white ornaments to channel images of snowball fights. Just don’t mention that to the kids!

From all of us at IEG to you and yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas season and a Happy New Year.  If you want to chat about plans for your home in 2021, please call us at 847-705-9569.