Christmas Tree Decorating Themes: A Southwestern Christmas

Use themes from Mexico or Native Americans to decorate your southwestern Christmas tree.

For your southwestern themed Christmas tree, select from the cultures influence the art and food of the region. Themes from Mexico, from Native American arts and crafts, and from the cuisine of the area provide elements for decorating your Christmas tree, Colors can range from the earth tones of the southwestern landscape to the bright primary colors that are reminiscent of the markets of Mexico.


Decorate your tree with hand woven God's eyes (ojos de Diós). You can easily make these ornaments or purchase them from stores that specialize in southwestern handicrafts. An on-line search will quickly turn up a number of sources for these colorful decorations, as well as directions for making them yourself.

God's Eyes are made by crossing two sticks of equal length and weaving yarn through them until a multi-colored pattern is achieved. The central block of color forms the God's "eye." Then, other colors of yarn are tied on and the weaving is continued until the triangular areas between the sticks are filled with woven yarn. Yarn tassels tied to the end of each stick finish each piece. Traditional colors are bright reds, greens, and yellows, with black accents. Other bright colors are used, as well.

Make or purchase a variety of sizes of God's eyes. After placing lights on your Christmas tree, hang your God's eyes on the tree, placing them by size and color so that the arrangement is pleasing. Other traditional Mexican decorations, such as figures made of hammered and pierced tin, fabric, or straw may be added to your tree. Top the tree with a Mexican angel doll or sculptured tin star.


Purchase a variety of small Kachina dolls or Pueblo Indian figurines to hang on your tree. There are a number of on-line stores that feature these items, which are also available throughout the American West and Southwest at stores featuring Native American arts and crafts.

Kachina dolls and Pueblo figurines are feature traditional characters from Native American story telling and mythology. Both the Navajos and Zunis make Kachina dolls. If you select this theme for your tree, you may want to learn some of the mythology that surrounds these figures to share with your family and friends.

Kachina dolls are clothed in traditional costumes, utilizing feather and fur elements. The represent animals, such as Eagle, Crow, Owl, Lizard, and Wolf, as well as characters such as Sunface and Chasing Star. Dolls six or seven inches in height work well as hanging ornaments on a large Christmas tree.

The Pueblo figurines are generally made of terra cotta clay and painted with black and other earth tones.

Dream catchers, which are also Native American, mix nicely with your Kachina dolls or Pueblo figurines. Dream catchers are hand woven on a round hoop. Fine threads are woven through the hoop to resemble a delicate spider web. Leather strips and feathers are added to this ornament, which was originally meant to be hung on the wall over one's bed. Weavers may create dream catchers in earth tones by using leather and feathers in their natural colors, or they may dye the elements to design bright-colored dream catchers.

Mix your Kachina dolls, figurines and dream catchers with other elements such as colored Christmas tree lights and garlands of berries. Use a large Kachina doll to top your tree.


If you want bright colors on your southwestern themed tree, consider decorating your tree with real or artificial chili peppers and sweet peppers, which come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Fresh peppers may be a bit "hot to handle," so you may wish to use artificial peppers for your tree. If you handle fresh or dried peppers, you should be careful to wash your hands before touching your face or eyes. Artificial peppers can be found in craft stores and silk plant stores.

Fresh and artificial peppers come in bright red, orange red, orange, yellow, and green. You may want to Christmas lights in similar colors to enhance the color of the peppers. Use bright colored ribbons or gold cord to hang an abundance of peppers on your tree.

Finally, surround your tree with potted miniature plants, bearing ripe peppers to finish your design.

Top your tree with a bouquet of peppers or choose a start or angel with a southwestern theme.

These are only a few ideas for decorating your tree with a southwestern theme. If you select elements from Native American or Mexican traditions, you won't go wrong.

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