A Winter Dream Tree Grows in Jersey

threetrees_blogOur living room Christmas decorations seemed extra twinkly this year with three trees. When I put them away, I missed the sparkle of little lights and the cheeriness of ornaments. The dark spot left by the put-away Christmas trees reminded me that last winter felt especially gloomy, both meteorlogically and emotionally. Normally, the inside warmth of my home during winter feels cozy and creative. But not last year, for some reason. So this year, to fend off any doldrums, I put up a Winter Dream Tree.

Barb's holiday tree and Polly's vision tree

Barb’s holiday tree and Polly’s vision tree

Inspired by artist Barbara Johansen Newman’s yearly holiday tree and artist Polly Law’s vision tree, I cut branches from a dead Japanese Andromeda shrub (I had mourned the loss of its life, so I was thrilled to find it a new life) and arranged them in a pitcher of stones.


My visions from 2011

At first I intended the tree to be a Vision Tree. How many of you have made a vision board—a device that sends your intentions out into the Universe to fulfill your desires like a magic genie whose bottle is decorated with ripped-out magazine pages and phrases and Modpodge? My vision board from a few years ago hasn’t kicked in yet—there is no yellow Mini Cooper in my driveway and I still haven’t been to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. But the board still expresses my hopes and passions (are you listening, Universe?!).

Instead of pressuring my tree to be visionary, I decided to decorate it with whatever represented my inner spirit and I scoured the house for personal symbols, a.k.a. tchotchkes (my home is overrun with symbols). The decorating began: artist’s tools of the trade, family, animals, beads and keys (to the future), many clocks (time is ticking), things from Italy, jewelry bling, and a timid touch of Intentions to the Universe (writing and illustration projects). mylady_combo

Now my Winter Dream Tree is twinkling in the living room, brightening up winter’s days and my mood. I call my dog Oliver my happy pill because he constantly cheers me up. After a couple of winter weeks, I can truly say that my tree is working the same way. It probably won’t come down in spring but will just transform to reflect the new season. I’m getting so attached to the tree that it may even need to stick around and share the stage with next year’s Christmas tree.


Anyone tempted to install a tree of your own? If so, I hope it brings you a Happy, Dreamy, Creative, and Visual New Year!

16 comments on “A Winter Dream Tree Grows in Jersey

  1. Great post. My “dream icons and symbols” are scattered around the house. Putting them all in one place is inspired.

  2. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    I love this idea of a Dream Tree!

  3. Juliana Lee says:

    Just the pick-me-up our house needs in January!

  4. Love to have been even a small inspiration and love that maybe now I can seriously think about leaving my tree up even longer (came down in April last year). Also think that maybe adding dreams and wishes instead of the holiday decorations might be the perfect solution! Thanks for that idea!

    • Mary Zisk says:

      I’ve loved your trees every year and was happy I finally made one of my own. BTW, Barb, did you see one of your illustrations on my vision board?

  5. Anna Z says:

    I love the dream tree. It is a great idea since it is such a sad time when you take down the Christmas tree. I will start a vision board myself!

  6. kamikinard says:

    I love how everything you touch turns out beautiful, Mary. Having Artistic Envy here!

  7. Brian Minahan says:

    Thanks for alerting me to your blog. Very enjoyable. See you at the Super Bowl!

  8. This is the first I’ve heard of this tree and it’s amazing! I love it partly because everything is so gloomy and grey once the decorations come down (I still haven’t managed to part with mine). What a lovely reminder of things to come.

  9. […] Mary’s dream tree.  From: A Winter Dream Tree Grows in Jersey […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s