When a tree is not just a tree…

on 12-17-2012 in Craft, DIY, Inspiration

When a tree is not just a tree…

“I think looking forward will be better than looking back.”

― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus


One of my favorite novels is ‘The Night Circus’, it is written in such a way that your mind paints beautiful images to match the author’s words. A glorious tale of magic, love and a circus that only appears at night. The tents of the circus are filled with illusion, emotions, and artistry and one tent is home to the Wish Tree. In the novel the tree has sleek black branches and patrons of the circus make an offering for their wishes in the form of a votive candle, one wish ignites another. This was the first I had heard of a Wish Tree but a little research showed me this was not unique to ‘The Night Circus.’

Many cultures have used candles and trees to send their hopes and dreams out into the Universe (or to a specific deity). People have also offered coins, shoes, Wassail (or other alcoholic beverages) in lieu of candles. Some believe a scrap of clothing from someone ill can be fixed to a special tree and it will heal the ailing.  Another tradition uses ribbon (or a piece of fabric from your clothing) to symbolize the wish and when you tie your ribbon with the ribbon of your love, you wish together for your future.

I love the magical and mystical behind all of these ideas. I truly believe that adding a little something tangible to our wishing process helps us focus and seal in our intentions with clarity. Since this year marks the first Christmas of what I believe will be many with my love. I wanted our tree to be more than just a place to hold presents but also a part of the mindful life that we have created together. So we decorated our tree quite simply with lights and ribbon. Day by day as we get closer to Christmas we are adding these little tags in which we hand write our wishes and intentions for 2013 as well as honoring that which we are grateful for.

If you like this idea it’s not too late to add this practice to your holiday. I found simple and beautiful pre-cut tags at the craft store but you can make your own or simply use ribbon and a fabric marker to write out your intentions.  It’s not necessary to write them out, you can simply tie a ribbon with intent and gratitude in your heart. I like the idea of writing them out so we can put our tags away with our holiday items and then revisit them next year. I like the idea of making this a tradition.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas or have a tree you can easily make this practice your own by hanging tags (or ribbons or candles…) outside on a tree or along a banister, on a window, place them on an altar, whatever space speaks to you.


Best Wishes and Happy Holidays!


  1. This is quite lovely and something that can be done as a family tradition. I think the boys would really enjoy doing this with us next year as they’ll be old enough to get it. Thank you.

  2. I LOVE ribbon! I have used the same Christmas decor for years and two years ago I wanted an update but we didn’t have much money to spend. So – I picked up to $7 packs of silver christmas balls from Walmart and a $10 silver star topper. Then I searched eBay for bulk sets of green and red gingham ribbon. I used the ribbon that I found to tie the Christmas balls to the tree with a bow, and then used leftover ribbon to tie bows in spaces that needed a little fill. Over all, it cost me less then $40 and I completely redid my tree. I got a ton of compliments as well!