How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: The secret to decorating a beautiful Christmas tree is similar to designing any room in your home – style in layers! The standard elements that go into decorating a Christmas tree are lights, garland, tinsel, and ornaments. Whatever your preferred design aesthetic is, these are the core pieces that are familiar to almost everyone. The best Christmas trees are filled with layer upon layer of memories, traditions, and keepsakes. There is an art to Christmas tree decorating, but there is also a science. While we each have individual decorating styles, the following steps can help anyone create a seasonal showstopper.
1. Shape and Fluff
All beautifully decorated Christmas trees start with the foundation. When working with a faux tree, lift and separate the branches and tips to lose the ‘packed away’ look. Doing so will create a fullness that opens up pockets to hang lights, ornaments, and garland. You can accomplish this by working in layers – put the first section on the stand, fluff, and work your way up the tree.
When decorating a live tree, be sure to place the best side outward. You can use a pair of gloves to keep sharp bristles at bay. Gently trim a branch wherever needed to create a more uniform look.
2. Crown Your Tree
Although this is often viewed as the last step, the topper can be used to set the tone for the decorating process. It also prevents the difficulty of placing the topper after all the decorations have been placed. The classic choices are seasonal symbols such as angels and stars yet large poinsettias or burlap bows can make an unexpected and unique choice. When using a non-traditional topper, blend it in by filling in spaces with picks, flowers, or faux berries.
3. Light it Up
Many faux trees come with lights already attached. Now is the time to turn them on to ensure they are working.
Start at the base of the tree and work your way up, wrapping lights around every major branch. Be sure to add plenty of lights to the back of the tree to create extra sparkle and depth. Once the lights are draped around the tree, step back and look for areas that require small adjustments to allow more or less light through the branches.
4. Create a Focal Point
Target a few spots on the tree to group ornaments, picks, flowers, and ribbons for dimension. This step will create focal points providing your eye a place to rest. To add depth and interest, be sure to vary ornament sizes and shapes. For a cohesive design, try matching the color of these designated areas to the topper.
5. Put on the Garland & Ribbons
There are no firm rules to draping garland, but I recommend starting at the top and place it as far out toward the end of the branch as feels secure. Starting at the top and slowly increasing the amount of garland between each wave helps to avoid branches bulging between tightly cinched garland strands. Plan on using about two strands of garland for every vertical foot of tree.
You can also decorate with ribbon in addition to or rather than garland by loosely wrapping a wide patterned ribbon around the entire tree in bands. Use the ribbons to create big bows to decorate the tree branches. Varying the width of the ribbon can add visual intrigue and tucking the ribbons in at various spots helps to create a flow.
6. Layer with Ornaments
The amount of ornaments used is a matter of personal taste. Whether you are going for a full and densely ornamented tree, or prefer a minimalist approach, be sure to add ornaments deeper inside the branches. If you are working with several colors, disperse each group around the tree before moving onto the next batch to ensure a proper balance of color.
To showcase your favorite ornaments, place them in prime positions on the tree first. Next, begin with the large ornaments placing them as far into the center of the tree as your branches allow. This will keep them sturdy and fill uneven spaces. Hang them as high up on the tree as is comfortable, but plan to use medium and small ornaments farther up. Then it is time to place medium-sized ornaments farther out on the branches. Lastly, place small ornaments on the outermost part of the branches, where their scale won’t get lost and the weight won’t shift the branch.
Be sure to hang some ornaments closer to the trunk to create depth and interest. They reflect the light to make your tree sparkle from the inside. Stand back and study your tree from various angles to determine if there are empty areas that need filling.
7. Place the Tree Skirt
The tree skirt provides function as well as making a fashion statement. It not only catches the needles, but it also sets the stage for beautifully wrapped presents.
Christmas Tree Ideas
How to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Nordic Christmas Ornaments
This stunning Christmas Tree was designed using the Winter Wishes Ornament Set in gold, blush, and ivory accents. Complete the enchanting look by pairing this collection with holiday floral picks for a touch of romantic elegance.
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How to Decorate a Christmas Tree – French Country Christmas Ornaments
Inspired by antique French baubles, these handcrafted ornaments are reminiscent of the subtlety and sophistication of French design.
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Editor’s Note: I recently purchased two sets of the Poinsettia Glitter Flowers in white, and they are gorgeous! They arrived individually wrapped, and it was very easy to spread and gently curve the petals of the flower. They were a bit larger than what I had expected, but will fill out my tree perfectly. For a larger tree, I’d recommend 3 packages. They’d also look lovely displayed in a vase on a mantel, or added to a wreath. Each package contains 6 poinsettia’s and they are available in pink, gold, silver, red and white. They did lose a bit of glitter while I was re-shaping the form and so I would recommend setting them out on a table.
This exclusive set offers an eclectic mix of traditional designs to spruce up your Christmas tree with rustic charm. This collection includes assorted glass ornaments hand-painted in an updated Christmas color palette of sage green, burgundy, and blue. The mixed materials ornaments include miniature sleds and ice skates, fabric reindeer, and vintage sleigh bells, charming pieces that evoke the cozy look of a wintry countryside cottage.
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How to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Burnished Metal Christmas Ornaments
Inspired by finely crafted jewelry, this exclusive collection features highly decorated glass Christmas ornaments. The varied shapes and sizes of these heirloom-quality ornaments add depth to your holiday décor, while elegant tones of gold, silver, and platinum lend a lustrous touch to your tree.
Bring a playful yet polished look to your holiday décor. Glass ornaments in gleaming earth tones fill your Christmas tree with woodland warmth and elegance.
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Gilded Gold Ornament Set
Gilded Gold Christmas Ornaments
FESTIVE & ELEGANT
Decorate with luxurious ornaments that echo the richness of the season. Layer your Christmas tree or use as bowl fillers to elevate the look of your tablescapes.
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Christmas Tree Ideas: Frontgate
Frontgate has a great selection of ornaments to choose from, as well as wreaths, garlands and outdoor Christmas decor.
Royal Blush Christmas Ornament Set
Dress your tree in a dream-like collection featuring hand-painted chinoiserie designs, pottery-inspired shapes and opalescent and dew-kissed finishes. Despite its whisper-soft palette, this collection of mouth-blown glass ornaments captivates with hand-applied gemstones, trim, sequins and beading.
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