Christmas Tree Decorating

Christmas Tree Our Decor Focus

It does not seem to matter how many vignettes or displays I create, my families favorite Christmas decor is always the Christmas Tree.

My Mom allowed me to do all the decorating when I was little, I was much fussier in my home, we always had at least two if not three Christmas trees.  The main one in the living room was multicoloured to please the family, another one in the boy’s bedroom had all our home made decorations and finally a white one in my bedroom for me.

We lived in a heavily forested area so one tradition was going with Grampa Dan and Uncle Jim on a tree hunt.  I miss those days, even if the snow could be 8 feet or more high.  Wen we moved away  and now we have artificial trees(sigh).  But yes I still have three. lol

Trees come in all varieties, colours and themes.  Regardless of your theme, or colour scheme choices there are some general hints, tricks and guidelines for decorating your tree.
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1. Get the best quality of tree you can

For me that means a real tree, if you have access to wilderness go on a tree hunt and gather a tree.  Or go to a tree farm and purchase one still in the ground.    Grampa Dan use to come and set up the real trees for us.  He would cut all the lower limbs off to make room for the tree stand.  If their was an empty space in the natural tree he would trim up one of those the extra limbs, then  drill a hole and glue the branch in the open spots for me.

If your like us and have an artificial tree, make sure to get one with plastic tip ends.  The most expensive artificial trees are all plastic tips, the cheaper variety like ours just have plastic tips on the ends of the limbs. After you assemble your tree fluff out each branch to look as natural as possible.

2. Put on lots of lights

The general rule is 100 lights per vertical foot of your tree.  Our Christmas trees are prelit, but don’t come with nearly enough lights,  we add an additional 100 per vertical foot.

Check for burnt out lights or strings.  Replace bulbs or strings if necessary.

Begin at the top back of the tree.  Start at the trunk, weave your lights in and out through each branch.  Move on to the next limb and repeat. It’s surprising how many lights this uses and how long this step takes.    If you have woven them in and out of every branch they should be fine as is; but step back and double check.  Make sure the lighting is even and move the lights around if necessary.


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Typically I complete the first two steps one day as this part can feel like a chore.  The next day I move on to the rest of the decorating.

3. Next comes the garland, ribbon or both

Garland can be draped along the outer edges of the limbs, whereas ribbon cannot.

For a six foot tree you need at least 75 feet of ribbon for a 9 foot tree 150 feet.  This is  a general guideline depending on how you apply ribbon.   If you put your ribbon on in clusters like I did this year, you don’t need as much ribbon.  I used 120 feet for our 9 foot tree.

Wired ribbon is much easier, I never use anything else.

Whether you apply it vertically, drape it around your tree or add it as clusters.  You should always attach the ribbon to the center of your tree.  Use the last branch closest to the trunk to attach it and then work your arrangement outwards. When you do it this way you won’t have to premeasure sections for poofing and your ribbon won’t ever look like its hovering on the outside about to come off.

4.  Add picks

This is optional.  Picks can be very pricey, I got twenty of them at a half off sale.   Having just a few picks, looks funny.  If you can’t get a bunch of them, don’t worry about it and just skip them.

If you do have picks spread them out throughout your tree.  Make sure they are not directly next to each other or directly above and below each other.  They are really handy to fill in some of your open spots.

5. Ornaments

Place your large ornaments and your very special ornaments first.  Remember to place ornaments inside the tree as well on the edges.  Not all ornaments need to hang on the tree,   people also  nestle ornaments in the branches,  the tree has two little signs nestled in the branches.

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Finally finish off with your smaller ornaments.

I do a theme every year because it gives me a focus and I find it fun.  Remember this is your tree,  if you think purple eggplants look great go for it.

These are some special ornaments my children and my grandchildren gave me.  They go up every year regardless of my theme.  This year my theme I saw the little signs to use as focal points, so Angels became my theme.  The little white deer and clear Santa Claus icicles stayed in storage, but not these ones with special memories attached.

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6. Tweek your arrangement

Once you have the entire tree decorated step back and look at it.  Rearrange to to make it just right.    This tree doesn’t receive presents so it has a fancy tree skirt instead.

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Just one final hint.   Every year I place things under my tree to make it pretty,   First I get the tree  set up and THEN I think about how easy it will be to plug in.   Its also a heads up for anyone lucky enough to have a real tree, you need easy access to water it.

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I will have pictures of the other two trees in my home tour.

Enjoy the twinkles and glitter.


18 thoughts on “Christmas Tree Decorating

    1. Hi Pamela: It just works easier if you do them in some sort of order. Like most things its always easier to do it once without reworking. My youngest son actually taught me the lighting method. This year he is working in Toronto so I had to do the lights myself. Bah humbug lol Leanna

  1. This is great. I never realized you should attach ribbon to the center. I have already decorated the little tree in my bedroom which gets ribbon but I will make sure to do it right next year.

    1. Hi Debra: It uses a little more ribbon, but so worth it. Thank you for letting me know I had added something new worth reading about.

      I am getting excited, the house is pretty. On to baking soon.

    1. Hi Melissa. Edmonton has a greenhouse that converts to the largest Christmas store in Canada, its huge. They taught me about picks, they use them in all their trees.

      Thank you for commenting. Leanna

    1. Hi Marie: We have all trimmed dozens of trees I am sure, but I only had these streamed down method for a couple of years. It makes it easier for me. I figured new home makers who are independent like I was may like the tips.

      Thank you for commenting, Leanna

    1. Hi Mary: Thank you. I love everything just so, like different themes etc but Christmas is about tradition and memory and joy. I remember how proud my sons were giving me those ornaments. They made them from shoveling driveways and had purchased them at my favorite shop that could never afford to actually buy anything in.

      Thanks for commenting Leanna

    1. Hi Alexis: Last year I had all white wintery animals as my theme. I kept a whit nativity as my mantel focal point but did the tree differently.

      This year the Jesus is the Reason sign spoke to me and I decided to do a traditional nativity theme for the living room. I am glad that I did.

      Thank you for the kind comment. Leanna

    1. Hi Sharon: You learn a few things with experience. I think the best hint I shared was to do the tree and the lights one day and leave the final pretty decor for the second. It makes the second day seem like a festive party without any waiting to get the lights done already.

      Thank you for commenting. Leanna

  2. So many helpful tips Leanna!! I will be implementing a few for sure next year! Your decorations and tree is just stunning ! I love that you use to go and gather the tree with your Grandpa! I use to do the same!! Precious memories to have hey?!

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