The holidays are here and before you know it, our collective “holiday spirit” is chock-full of commitments. There is shopping for gifts, sending holiday cards, attending and hosting holiday fetes and decorating our home for the season. No matter how busy we get, one of our favorite activities of the season is always decorating the tree.

I will never forget my husband’s and my first Christmas season together as a couple. We proudly carried our tree home in a blizzard, set it up in our living room and returned later with new boxes of sparkling ornaments to what we thought was going to be the most beautiful tree ever. Instead, once the tree opened and settled, in the heat of the apartment, it had dropped almost all of its needles and was crooked to boot. Instead of ditching it and buying another, we made the decision to laugh at the absurdity. We deemed it our “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree and decorated it with yarn and socks. That year, each time we walked past the tree we chuckled, and it helped to forge our playful, loving approach to the holidays.

Since then, we have chosen better trees, but I still think the best route to a romantic holiday season is to dispense with expectations about what it will exactly be. We have learned not to compare it to our past celebrations, and each year we reinvent the season with a fresh approach. Some years we go big with lots of ornaments and décor, while other times we keep it simple and crawl into bed early after work and cuddle up with a small tabletop tree bedside. Tree trimming is simply making memories—so make great ones. Take a look at five different tree trimming themes‚ each with it’s advantages. Whichever tree trimming approach you take, here is one important piece of advice: maintaining a sense of humor is the sexiest tool to get you through the holidays.

1. The Nostalgic Tree

My husband and I have a tradition for our a tree trimming party for two. Each year we buy one another an ornament or two (keeping it a secret until it’s time to decorate the tree). Sometimes it is a silly, funny one and other times it has a nostalgic story. Trimming the tree becomes a romantic, memory-filled occasion as we unwrap the ornaments and hang them, remembering the stories that go with each one.

2. A Champagne and Dance Party Tree

There’s nothing like popping open a bottle of your favorite bubbly and putting on a sexy outfit to give the tree trimming an extra romantic feel.  With our favorite champagne chilling tree-side (we love Pol Roget) and a few light nibbles set out on a silver tray, the tone is set for an amorous evening. This type of tree trimming party also needs a fabulous sound track.

3. The “Keep It Simple” Tree—Just Lights

If we are especially busy we opt for an all-light tree, to dispense with the work of unwrapping all the ornaments.  Last year we wrapped our tree in a sea of tiny blue lights with a star on top, and relished the time spent watching a series of our favorite movies together while basking in the blue glow.

4. The Take Out Dinner Tree

One of our favorite tree trimming traditions is to order Chinese take out, set the coffee table for a festive dinner, and light dozens of candles around the living room. Put on your favorite holiday music and enjoy a fun, low-stress evening of tree decorating.

5. A Tabletop Tree For Two

Back when we had less room in our home or for years when we are traveling over the holidays, we opt for a tabletop size tree and decorate it in all white paper snowflakes and an origami paper star on top. The look is fresh and clean—and easy to dismantle when returning home from vacation. This tree belongs on a table in the bedroom, for a sweet bedside view.

Tamara Matthews-Stephenson is an interior and product designer, writer, and the author of Nest by Tamara blog.