We started our collection the year we were married and my boys look forward to seeing their favorite ornaments each year.
There are ornaments that commemorate events in our lives, and ornaments that make us smile.
No matter how often I think I would like to change the decor on the tree,
I know I can't. They represent memories.
Happy ones - and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I know you have your own memories you put on your tree each year.
Over the years I found ways to make changes to our Christmas tree
without eliminating those beloved memories.
[I can't stand having the exact same tree each year! I'm a decorator! I crave change and creativity!]
I changed the ribbon and the tree skirt,
I added mercury glass and vintage style ornaments,
glittering snowflakes and crystal garlands.
They blended nicely with the collected family ornaments,
but created a completely new look and unified the tree, giving it a theme other than Hallmark.
It's the best of both worlds.
I get a change - a new look -
and the boys get to see their favorite memories on the tree.
One of my delights each year is helping others decorate their homes.
Over the years I've learned a few things to make holiday decorating a little simpler.
Here are a few pointers for decorating your tree
from someone who does a lot of them each year.
My top tips for a beautiful Christmas tree.
1. Elevate your tree.
Even with a large tree,
even if its only a little -
a low table, a chest, some sturdy wooden boxes -
just get it off the floor.
It shows it off beautifully
and leaves room at the bottom for lots of packages.
Try to keep it in scale though -
a very large tree will look silly on a tiny table,
(and could be hazardous)
2. Start with the lights.
Put them on so that they are easily removed -
(no elaborate twisting or wrapping, but do weave over and under
so they stay in place and don't fall off.)
follow the branch clear up to the trunk with lights
Use a minimum of 100 lights per foot of tree.
(7 foot tree - 700 lights - minimum).
(I just put 1200 on my 8 foot tree.)
3. Come out to the tip of the branch with the light strand
and back into the trunk of the tree,
Taking the lights back in to the trunk of the tree
makes the tree GLOW!
4. Make sure your strands are lighted when you are putting them on the tree,
never connect more than the package recommends (usually about 3 strands).
Use a power strip at the back of the tree and have all the lights connect into it, then its only a quick flip of a switch to turn them off.
It helps to step back and squint
to make sure you don't have any dark holes (missed spaces) that need to be filled in.
5. Don't circle the tree with each light strand -
it makes it a pain to remove - and you get a little dizzy.
Instead, go from the bottom to the top -
weaving back and forth on one side of the tree,
then move to the next side.
Removing is a so much easier!
6. If you are using ribbon, put it on next.
(You don't want to be doing this with ornaments in the way.)
Use ribbon that is at least 3-4" wide,
(narrow, puny ribbon looks a little sad, don't you think?)
and go back and forth across a section or side of the tree,
from bottom to top.
Tuck and twist it in and out - so it twists in and out of the tree.
Disappearing and reappearing so you don't see
any vertical jumps, or even where it is going next -
if you need to start a new strand of ribbon,
it's easy to have the end disappear, and the new strand 'reappear'
I never, never, never, just let it hang down from the top.
But that's just my particular pet peeve...
7. If you have a fresh tree you will probably have holes,
(big spaces that need filling)
If you use LOTS of ornaments, like I do, (more than 1 to a branch)
most of the holes will be filled as the ornament weight lowers the branches a little.
You can also use oversized ornaments (later) or a filler such as
faux pine branches, attached with green pipe cleaner
so that they look like part of the tree
8. Add your berried branches, or sparkly twigs now
(Save some for the top of the tree, as well.)
Tuck them in as if they are actually growing out of the tree branch -
in the same direction of the branch - a little upward
place them evenly so they are not all on one side of the tree.. spread them out
Use green chenille pipe cleaner or green paper covered garden ties to attach, if needed.
9. Once the lights and ribbon are on,
add your larger ornaments.
Space them equally around the tree,
or if you have a few ornaments of the same kind - do the same for them so that they don't all end up together
then add your medium sized ornaments
and then the small.
(I separate all my ornaments by type into bowls and baskets, then take a bowl or basket and put that type on the tree, sharing them evenly around the tree. I usually start with the Hallmark ornaments,
because some are heavier and need stronger branches. I finish with any that dangle down (like icicles) because they need to go further to the tip of the branch, or the glittered snowflakes that are lighter and can hang on the weaker branches. Don't make the mistake of hanging ornaments
only on the ends of the branches.
Layer your ornaments inside, deeper along the branches, as well.
It gives a feeling of depth. (and lets you put on more ornaments!!!)
10. Garland is added after the ornaments - if you are using it.
Make sure you have enough so that it doesn't look too sparse.
Space it nicely so that it compliments your ornaments
and doesn't take it over.
11. Add your tree topper.
And that can be a lot of different things, or nothing at all
I have a metal filligree crown at the top of my tree. It sits kind of lopsided and awesome up there. I love that it is lopsided. I added big bows around it this year. Last year I had glittered stems.
Use sparkling branches,
or something large and wonderful
that blends nicely with the theme of the tree.
No doubt you have your favorites.
12. If you have used a table, boxes or a chest to elevate your tree, you may want to cover it with fabric,
unless it is attractive on its own. If it is attractive and you don't need it covered, you will still want a tree skirt to hide the tree stand and have something lovely at the base of the tree. A traditional tree skirt can stand alone on a floor-bound tree
or go on top of fabric,
or you can use more draped fabric.
the goal being to hide the tree stand and
create a backdrop for packages
13. Just because you have
a particular ornament or decoration (or tree topper)
doesn't mean you have to use it.
You have my permission to retire dated,
old or tacky decorations
and any ornaments that don't make your heart 'sing'.
If you can't bear to toss them, donate them.
If they are not your dream ornaments, but your kids made them....
give your kids a smaller, artificial tree to decorate with their treasures...
I have a 'fun' tree in the family room with handcrafted 'fun' ornaments on it.
The ones that make my heart sing go in the formal living/dining area.
14. Your tree should be glowing,
and beautiful -
take a step back and admire your handiwork!
and make any last minute adjustments....
And best wishes for a beautiful tree! and A MERRY CHRISTMAS