Christmas Tree Decorating
It’s that time of year, friends! It’s the time of year when you bribe your husband into climbing up into the attic and carrying down copious amounts of Christmas decor and over-stuffed rubbermaid bins so you can start decking the halls. That time of year where you can’t see the haters because your Christmas lights are too bright.
Whether you put up your Christmas tree earlier or later doesn’t matter to me. (Although I definitely am a super early decorator!) What matters to me is when I hear so many women talk about how they are lost on how to put their Christmas decor together in a way that makes them happy and excited for the season ahead. They want to make their home a place that is a cozy retreat for the holidays. But, they don’t know where to start. Or if they know where to start, they don’t know how to put it all together in a way they love.
While there are so many different ways people (and even designers!) decorate their Christmas trees, I’ve definitely picked up on some tips and tricks over the years (especially from my momma!) Today on the blog, I’m going to walk you through how I decorate my Christmas tree. With these design tips and tricks, you’re going to be decorating your Christmas tree like a professional in no time!
How-To Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like a Professional
Getting a designer look when it comes to decorating your Christmas tree is way easier than you may think. Here are some of my top tips and tricks to decorating your Christmas tree like a professional stylist this Christmas season.
Fluff the Branches
Since I typically decorate so early (it’s part of the job), I have never really had the chance to have a real tree for Christmas. We have also always had artificial trees growing up. With that being said, I can’t really speak to what you need to do with your real tree as you prep to decorate it.
However, if you are like me and are decorating an artificial Christmas tree this year, there are some things you need to do before we get elbows deep in glitter and flock. When you take your Christmas tree out of the box / bag for the season, it’s important to fluff the branches as you put it up. Your tree can lose it’s shape when it’s stuffed in a box or bag for three-fourths of the year. Fluffing your artificial tree branches will also make your tree look more natural — and allow you to cover any ‘holes’ in the branches that you may not want.
Work with the Lights Off
I get it. Once you’ve got the tree put up and fluffed, you’re ready for that magical moment when you turn the lights on. There’s something exciting about seeing a lit up Christmas tree when you’re about to decorate it. But did you know that it’s actually easier to decorate your tree with the lights off? You’ll be able to see ‘holes’ much more clearly as you decorate because the lights reflecting off the ornaments as you hang them make it harder to see. Decorating your Christmas tree with your lights off leaves you much less to rearrange for adjust when you’re done. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the lights still work before you start!
Spread the Snow Fluff
The larger Christmas tree in my living room was a gift from my dad for my first Christmas with Rob after we got married and moved to Georgia. While it’s not flocked, I don’t feel justified in spending so much to get a new tree while this one still works. There are a lot of DIY tutorials on Pinterest about flocking your artificial tree, but I’m honestly terrified of ruining it. (and I feel like the after pictures never look as good as if you bought a flocked tree.)
With that being said, I like to spread snow fluff on my tree every year to give my unflocked Christmas tree a fresh snow fall look. I do this by grabbing a bag of snow fluff from Hobby Lobby (the stuff that is like pillow stuffing.) All you have to do is grab a little bit and spread it on each branch working from the top of the tree to the bottom. Tuck the snow fluff onto the back of the branches and drag it forward gently.
Use less snow fluff on each of the top branches, and make your ‘snow’ thicker on the branches as you move down the tree. The goal is to make it look as natural as possible. You want your tree to look like it was outside and collected fresh snow on its branches.
Start with Your Topper and Bow
I like to start decorating my tree by putting my tree topper and bow on the tree first. I do this because I typically have a bigger tree topper / bow on my trees. Putting this on first before I start putting ornaments on the tree allows for me to know exactly how I need to put ornaments towards the top of my tree. It really cuts down on the rearranging and adjusting I’d need to do towards the end.
I am super excited for the tree topper that I went with this year. It was inspired by this candy cane marquee light that I have had forever. I ended up putting it on the top of my dining room tree to fit with my cozy red and white Christmas decor this year. (You can see it in the photo below.) I loved the look so much that I ordered a white star marquee light on Amazon for the tree in my living room. You can shop my tree topper, HERE.
Sorting Your Ornaments
It’s so important before you start decorating your Christmas tree to take inventory of your ornaments and picks and deciding on what you’d like to use beforehand. I’m a super visual person, so I like to lay out all of the ornaments and picks that I plan on using. I put them all on the living room floor to where I can see everything. I then sort my ornaments and picks by like items. The ornaments that are the same go in a pile. Meanwhile, I sort by color — putting all those piles of like items in the same area. I repeat this until all of the ornaments are sorted.
This seems like a super Type A and OCD step. However, I promise that it does make decorating your Christmas tree easier. It allows you to space your ornaments throughout the tree better. This allows me to visually see what I have to work with and makes the next step so much more efficient and seamless.
Working from Large to Small , By Color, and By Texture in Triangles
Once all of your ornaments have been sorted, it’s time to start putting them on the tree! This part is kind of hard to explain in writing, but I’m going to do the best that I can. You’re going to want to work from large to small, by color, and by texture — all at the same time. I then put them on the tree using the triangle method.
First, you’re going to want to use your biggest ornaments first. This is because they naturally are bigger, so they will take up more space on the tree. Placing larger ornaments first makes sure that you have allocated room for them on the tree — and you’re not struggling with where to put them later! So take one of the large ornaments, and place it on the tree. To make sure everything flows and is evenly placed, you’ll want to place all of the ‘same’ ornaments on the tree at the same time. Place them on your tree using the triangle method to make sure everything flows well to the eye and is visually appealing.
The Triangle Method
Creating visual triangles in designs is a stylist’s best kept secret. Using this method while decorating your home (not just limited to your Christmas tree) is one of the best and easiest ways to up-level your home’s design and decor.
When taking something in, our eyes move in triangles to process and visualize it as a whole. So the triangle method of decorating is really just designing and decorating with that in mind in order to make a space that flows and is pleasing to the eye. It definitely takes some practice. However, I use this technique in my design processes daily. It’s really fool proof when creating something beautiful!
Once you’ve put the first set of the larger ‘same’ ornaments on the tree, you’ll go to the next larger set in the same color or similar texture. I like working in the same color and textures at the same time to make sure they are evenly placed throughout the tree and not lumped together. Once you’ve worked through a color, go to the next. (If you have larger ornaments in another color, you’ll place them on the tree after the first BEFORE you work towards the smaller ornaments.)
So, essentially, you are simultaneously working by size, color, and texture as you go through your sorted ornaments to make sure your ornaments are evenly placed. This will help you create a seamless and visually appealing Christmas tree!
Here’s an example of the triangle method with the red and white polka dotted ornaments on my tree (because they are the easiest to see!)
Adding Ribbon and Picks
Some people like to add ribbon and picks first. However, I prefer to add them in last as a way to fill in any holes / gaps and make the tree appear more full. When adding ribbon and picks, continue to use the triangle method for placement to make sure they are evenly placed and look the best.
When using ribbon, I like to cut 1 foot sections of ribbon, fold them in half, and stuff them into the tree. You can also wrap / semi- tie it onto branches if you’d like it to be more secure. However, I’ve never had a problem just stuffing. It helps make the tree look more full — and gives it a little something extra!
Tree Skirts, Tree Collars, and Baskets, OH MY!
With how much of a mess inevitably comes from decorating with a Christmas tree, I wait until the end to put the tree skirt on. (If you’re using a basket, you’ll want to secure your tree in the basket first.) There are so many looks to embrace when it comes to tree skirts, tree collars, and baskets. It really is all about your preference! This year, you’ll see trends moving towards baskets and woven tree collars.
A huge part of me wanted to embrace the woven collar and basket trend. But, I decided to stick with my tree skirt and add in a DIY tree tutu made of red and white tulle tied on string. It’s a cute little DIY to hide the bottom of the tree that the skirt didn’t cover.
Light it Up
Lastly, you’ll want to have a Clark Griswold moment and light up your Christmas tree to admire it all. At this point, you can rearrange, adjust, and make your tree just as you want it. Then it’s time to get in the spirit with your favorite Christmas movie. Grab some hot cocoa and take in the warm lights in the background. The best time of year is officially here!
I hate having to squeeze beside the tree every night to unplug the Christmas tree before I go to bed. (Total #firstworldprobs, I know!) This year I made the best decision ever and hooked my lights up to remotes. This is the remote set I got this year at Home Depot. (I can’t find my exact set online. However, you can shop a similar one, HERE.) I have all my outside lights hooked up to the first two, and my big Christmas tree is on the third. The white remote is hooked up to my tree topper. (You can shop that, HERE.) Having remotes for my Christmas lights this year = Best. Decision. Ever. It makes turning on my Christmas lights every night as easy as a push of a button – literally!
Well there you have it, friends! I hope these tips and tricks help you feel confident in decorating your Christmas tree like a professional stylist this year. Most importantly, I hope they get you inspired and excited to start decorating for the season. Do you have any Christmas tree decorating tips that you swear by? I’d love to hear them! Drop your biggest tip or trick in a comment below.