I've decorated forever... usually a minimum of a (small) real tree, some white lights, and some other greenery strewn here and there. I like to make my own stuff from scratch -- that is, get a bunch of leftover pine branches from the xmas tree place, get some sprigs of holly, etc., etc., and then make my own wreaths, mantel decorations, etc. Love the smell.
Everything was definitely stepped up a notch once sozlet started getting into it though. Way more outside decorations (I didn't do that at all aside from a wreath or something until she was four or so), and generally more of a production
. E.G. always likes the final result (especially the smells of fresh pine greenery) but isn't much interested in participating in the process, either. I don't make him.
The box of ornaments is sozlet's favorite -- definitely a long shelf life for us!!! About half of them are our own childhood ornaments (E.G.'s, mine) and the rest have been acquired since we met (17 years ago). There are stories behind almost every single one and sozlet wants to know all the stories. That makes decorating the Christmas tree an all-day operation!
I have probably four pieces of paper in the ornament box (which is one of those big plastic tubs -- each ornament is separately wrapped in tissue paper though) that describe the arrival of new ornaments -- year given or bought, by whom, and why if it's not obvious.
Our star is a clear blown-glass starburst ornament that I bought as a major splurge from an art studio when we were students ($25, maybe?). It is meant to hang, not be the star on the top of the tree, and so it has to be lashed to the tippy-top bough. I usually put a light right under it so it looks glowy.
I also have anonymous gold glass ball ornaments that are used in general decoration; the mantel, outside, etc.
Anyway, cleared away Thanksgiving/ Halloweeen stuff yesterday (the white mums and uncarved pumpkins went out maybe mid-October) and have a clean slate. Plan to start decorating sometime this week, at least lights (agree with Izzie that I tend to wait on the fresh tree and greenery). Looking forward to it.