Please NOTE that the tips I give here are meant more for artificial trees. Natural trees may be a little more fragile (and it's been a while since I've decorated a real tree - like 25 years or so) but, if I ever do one again, I'll definitely write about that! :-)
After our Christmas tree is all decorated, I'll post a photo and I'll get requests to go over people's homes and decorate their trees! This inspired me to write a little something to help any of you that may be stuck in a rut or don't know where to begin. Our style is more on the glam side but I love all different types - Scandinavian, traditional, farmhouse, etc. No matter what your style, you can incorporate some of my pointers into your holiday decorating. Also, feel free to omit anything that doesn't quite go with your design aesthetic - the point is to have fun with it and not to think so hard!
So, if you need some inspiration, check out my tips on how we trim our tree (I've also included some tips and info on where to shop)!
Some of you will think "okay, this is common sense" but, to some, it isn't. I've been to places where the tree (specifically artificial ones) isn't "fluffed" - this is where the branches aren't spread out and they're still squished against the rod. People have said they don't do it because they're lazy. This is SO important because it makes such a difference both up close and afar. This part of the decorating should be done in the beginning and best if you recruit some help (plus it goes a lot faster with multiple people fluffing it). Not only will the tree look more balanced, fluffing will also help the ornaments and decor stick to the tree better.
2. Wire Ribbon and/or Mesh
My trick for the ribbon/mesh is to loosely tuck approximately every 8-10" into the tree because it looks flowy as opposed to forced. I like wire ribbon because it does what I want it to and I don't worry about it easily slipping off the branches. With mesh (I like to use either the 6" or 12" spools) - the material sticks to the bristles easily so you don't have to worry too much on working to attach it.
3. Interesting Shapes
Look for shapes out of the ordinary and, when you like something - grab 4-5 of those shapes. You don't need a ton of ornaments, just a few special sets and you're good to go. Although, I will say it is pretty when your tree's full of ornaments but, keep in mind, what you put up will eventually have to come down! Think ahead and ask yourself if you're okay with that!
Going back to special shapes, I have these starburst spherical ornaments that I found one day about 15 years ago and they're still some of my favorites. Even though they're round like the typical ball ornaments, their spikes give it that extra "oomph."
In addition to these we have eggs, hedgehogs, dragonflies, snowflakes, north stars, etc. You can even do homemade ornaments, picture ornaments - the choices are endless!
4. Space elements out
You can achieve this concept if you imagine an invisible triangle throughout several areas of your tree. You can place ornaments at imaginary points of your triangle. Or you can think of it this way...place colors and/or items at different levels throughout the tree (e.g. some items go higher up while other ones are placed lower).
5. Size Variety
Also, I generally tend to get more medium and large-sized ornaments because the smaller ones tend to get lost in the tree so I'll usually save the really small ones (like ping-pong sizes) as fillers for a vase or even attached to a wreath or garland.
7. Skirt and Topper
HOT Tip: Add a bunch of crinkled tissue paper under the tree skirt to beef it up so it’s not so flat.
Where to SHOP
As for ornaments, you can save. Glass ornaments, however, are best when they're thicker (in my opinion), otherwise the glass will be brittle. I've had the best of both low and high end glass pieces and I've already broken a bunch of the cheaper ones while my more quality pieces are standing the test of time. For picks, you can go either way but I've found some at a steal at discount places.
The following places are where you can go and get your decor pieces:
- Budget: TJ Maxx/Homegoods, Joann Fabrics, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Stores, Home Depot, World Market/Cost Plus
- $$ - $$$: Target, Crate & Barrel, Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Christmas/Holiday Lane at Macy's, any specialized Christmas stores (these are usually smaller shops and sometimes found at your local mall)
- Good Quality sets (all the trimmings in one kit): Balsam Hill, Frontgate
Of course there are always DIY ornaments - these are fun for the kids or for those wanting to save a lot more...wood crafts, cookie ornaments, paper/paper/popcorn garlands, photo ornaments, etc.! There are countless craft ideas - let your imaginations run wild!
Christmas Scenes throughout the Years