Time to Deck the Halls,
Jingle the Bells,
Dash Through the Snow...
and decorate your Christmas Tree.
Decorated tree from Rogers Gardens, Newport Beach, CA
Each year I decorate several client homes for Christmas - along with my own.
Over the years, I've learned a few things that make holiday decorating
a little easier - without losing any impact and with beautiful results.
So, with those lessons learned,
here are a few pointers for decorating your tree,
from someone who does a lot of them each year.
TOP TIPS FOR A BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS TREE
1. FRESH OR FAUX?
I admit, I like a fresh tree. That being said, I do have faux garlands and greens and some smaller artificial trees in my home, as well. I like the fresh tree for the smell that hits you each time you walk in the door. I also love the tradition of going to the tree lot and picking out a tree all bundled up (because tree lots are always freezing - even in Southern California) and bringing it home tied to the top of the car. Those are good family memories.
Nothing invokes the essence of Christmas more for me.
There are pros and cons for both. Most artificial trees look a little artificial - right? (Although some are hard to discern from real). And they definitely feel artificial. However, its a huge plus that most come pre-lighted, and that their branches are strong enough to hold more ornaments, and heavier ornaments. Also a big plus - no watering and no needle drop....and you can put them up early in the season.
But once you have decided what kind of tree - my first awesome tip is:
ELEVATE YOUR TREE
(If you have the ceiling space.)
Even with a large tree.
Even if its only elevated a little.
You will be surprised at the difference it will make.
Use a low table, a chest, some sturdy wooden boxes, or
paint cans covered with fabric….
just get it off the floor.
It does a couple of things:
It shows it off beautifully, making it even more of a focal point.
It leaves room at the bottom for lots and 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. DON'T SKIMP ON THE LIGHTS (If you have a pre-lighted faux tree… you can probably skip this part - unless you want to add more magical lights...which is always a possibility and often a good idea!)
Rule of thumb here is 100 little lights per foot.
That means a MINIMUM of 100 tiny twinkle lights per 1 foot of tree.
Obviously there will be more than that at the fattest part and less than that at the skinny little top part... but you get the idea.
A 7 foot tree should have a minimum of 700 lights.
(If you combine larger lights with twinkle lights, you may need less.)
(If you have a pre-lit tree with less - you might consider adding a strand or two…)
Use of the word minimum here means you are allowed to use more lights than 100 per foot,
as long as you can look at it without sunglasses,
you are probably going to be okay.
My 8' tree last year wore 1200 lights proudly.
There is nothing worse than a dim tree.
Better Homes and Gardens
Plug your light strands in when you put them on the tree so you can see the lights and ultimately the gaps - and avoid them.
And while you are at it, put them on so that they are easily removed - don't wind them around the whole tree unless you want to become dizzy when you remove them...
(no elaborate twisting or wrapping).
Weave the light strand over and under the smaller branches on each limb so that the lights stay in place, but you will hate yourself when you are removing them if you wrap the lights AROUND the branch... such a pain to remove.
Instead, go from the top to the bottom on one side of the tree, weaving back and forth. Then go to another side and repeat until you have the entire tree covered.
You'll thank me when it comes time to remove them.
Here's the critical part.... take those light strands into the branches - right back to the trunk - every-so-often. Try to do it evenly throughout the tree.
This does an amazing thing - it makes the tree glow from within...
Connect only the number of light strands together as recommended on the package.
Its generally 3, although some of the new LED strands allow more.
(Don't risk blowing a fuse and losing your lights and having to redo them, or worse yet risking a fire. I use a power strip placed at the back of the tree for all the strands.
It takes only a quick flip of the switch to turn them all off at once.
Or plug the power strip into the wall outlet that has a wall switch..
Or, use a timer…
Or, this cute little extension cord with the on/off button.