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Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen

Welcome to Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen and my Mystery Tree Episode. We started the Mystery Tree tradition at our house several years ago and will be enjoying it again this year.
These are the easy rules to play along. First, go to the nearest store to you that has a large collection of trees for sale. Choose a bundled tree in the height and price range you want and load it on the cart and pay for it. Do Not Remove the string. Throw it in your vehicle and head home.
Second, after cutting off a section of the trunk so it will absorb water better bring the tree in to your prepared area with the tree stand positioned and set it in the stand and secure it well. You can add water at this point but just enough to come up past the freshly sawed off section.
Third, this is the fun part, cut away the string and step back and see the mystery revealed.
Voila! Not bad. Now we move on and see how the angel will fit on top.
That will be just fine so we move on to adding the lights before our first clean up.
Add more water at this point. Now it's time to vacuum up the dry needles that fell. You might want to let the branches have a chance to relax before you add your ornaments. Here are some other mystery trees in our past.
The best part of this tradition at our house is how easy and stress free this has been for us. We used to go to a tree lot and pull out tree after tree and then turn it this way and that way and on and on we'd go till we could finally settle on one. When our kids were little we had fun trekking to Christmas tree farms and cutting down our own. Now that we are empty nesters we find the Mystery Tree tradition to be the best for us. The mystery and fun of the reveal could also work for your little ones. It is relaxing to know the tree does not have to be perfect.

Hope you enjoyed this Saturday in Ellen's kitchen and that you are enjoying the Wonder of the Christmas season. Joy to the World!


  1. your tree looks lovely do the tree stands come with a built in water reservoir? I have not had a fresh tree for a long time and hope to have one next year when i will be at my home for the holidays, happy Christmas to you girls and your families god bless from Judi

    1. Although the stand has room for adding water you have to keep topping it off daily.

  2. This is a lovely idea! I think it is the perfect solution to my endless search for the "perfect" tree that is so stressful and as you point out unnecessary. Thank-you for a lesson I should have learned long, long ago. I always learn from your posts. From another Ellen.

  3. What a great idea! But I do have lots of fun memories of trying to transform an ugly tree. The time my brother cut the top off and duct taped it so it would fit without hitting the ceiling wasn't one of them. LOL

  4. I love this no stress tradition! You certainly got a good one this year - it looks perfect! One of these years we should try a real tree again. I have a skinny artificial tree that fits perfectly in our Bay Window. Lots of fresh green snips in the other decorating though. Have a great weekend.

  5. love my Costco prelit tree!!!! Always perfect and no braving the elements and you can put it up early with no daily watering. If you insist on the lack of forest smell, light a wonderful fir candle. Really, no fuss. Lucy

  6. great idea! we used to wait until the last couple days and have a choice of only 2 or 3 trees. some times it was a 'Charlie Brown' tree , but it was always perfect in our eyes!

  7. Ellen, this is so fun! I think your mystery tree this year looks so great!

  8. Cute idea. My tip is to ask for the branches that are trimmed from customers' trees. They're free! You can use them in displays around the house or outside.

  9. Well that tree is some pretty! Glad that you've found a way to take the pressure off of tree selection.

  10. Very clever and your trees have been beautiful. When I see a bound tree I think of the trucks I see loaded in October! We have a wood stove and I am a nervous Nellie. Also lazy in my old age love your blog.

  11. This is such a wonderful idea and you ended up with a great tree!

  12. What a great post. Your tree is so beautiful.


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