O Tannenbaum: Top 9 Tips for Tree Decorating

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I have decorated loads of Christmas trees over the years both for residential and commercial clients.  I often get asked, "How do I get my tree to look like this at home"?  Some of your success will come from experience, but there are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

This is one of the rare occasions when it is acceptable to go a little overboard in terms of decorating (but not too far).  Open your mind and let your creativity flow.  If you haven't done your tree yet, this might be a good start for you.  If you have, you might find a tip or two here and decide to tweak your tree.  You might even decide to do another tree for your home or as a surprise for a friend.

In our home, we have no less than two trees each year.  One is meant for all of the kids homemade ornaments, keepsake ornaments, and general mish-mash.  The other is used to showcase whatever theme or color scheme we have chosen for the year.  It is extra work, but it is fun and the joy it brings our family and visitors is worth the effort.  

savour... boughs of jolly

Get the rest after the jump...

Top 9 Tips for Tree Decorating

1. Fluff and Shape - There is much debate about whether to use a real of artificial tree.  There are pros and cons to each side.  However, if you are going to use an artificial tree, do yourself a favor.  Take the extra time to shape and fluff the branches.  In nature, branches seldom grow perfectly straight.

2. Let there be light - Add lots of lights... probably more than you think necessary.  Be sure to put some in the center of the tree.  It will give the tree a wonderful glow.

3. Leave the lights on - In order to make sure you keep the decor balanced decorate the tree while it is lit.

4. Strength in numbers - Group some of your ornaments together in clusters for big impact.  Bigger clusters of even inexpensive ornaments can look very expensive.

5. Vary very merry - Use a variety of shapes and sizes of ornaments.  Consider a few that are somewhat oversized for drama.

6. Inside job - Add plenty of ornaments to the interior of the tree.  No tree is complete without it.  It adds much depth and character.

7. All that glitters - Bring on the sparkle.  Sparkle and shine makes everyone smile... plus it glistens even more with the twinkle of the lights.

8. Back off - Stand back, and often.  Take a few steps back and look at the tree until you see a balance.  Don't think you can do the whole tree from up close.

9. Save the topper for last - The topper is always last.  It is the finale, the ta-da, the reward for your efforts.  Place it proudly.

I wish the whole thing could be summed up in 9 quick tips, but there is more.  Here are a few more things to consider:

  • Do not wrap lights around the tree, but rather weave them from the center of the tree to the outer edge and back.  Start at the bottom and work your way up.
  • If you are using garland of some kind go in this order – lights, garland, ornaments.
  • If you are using garland let is drape naturally… but not too much.
  • Use inexpensive ornaments as “filler” to bulk up your tree and either add color or support your color story.
  • Try some alternative materials and unexpected ideas for decoration as long as it fits within your scheme.  For example, you might consider cinnamon sticks, tiny wrapped packages, yarn balls, or origami doves.
  • Did I mention lots of ornaments?  You will need lots of ornaments.
  • Get your family involved.  The best thing about Christmas is togetherness.  Having a tree trimming party is a great way to gather everyone together.  You can play foreman, but this gives you a chance to show others what you know and get some help with the tedious bits.

There are probably still things I left out beyond this list.  Share your ideas and we will be sure to post them for the other Nesters to see.  Happy Holidays.