Growing up, one of my favorite days of the year was the day after Thanksgiving. This is the day my mom and I would drag all of our Christmas decorations out of the overly stuffed closet and tackle the task of decorating for the holidays. At first the job always seemed overwhelming, but then my mom would blast the stereo with our favorite Christmas music and we would become enveloped in the holiday spirit. From these joyful memories, some of my most beloved are of trimming our Christmas tree. With each box of ornaments we would pull out memories of years past. Laughing at the ugly kid-craft ornaments and cherishing those gifted from loved ones. Over the years I have developed seven easy steps that are fool-proof in decorating a Christmas tree. These steps not only allow me to continue to enjoy the task but also allow me to create a beautiful tree.
*note: these steps are for an artificial tree but with a few tweaks they can also be applied to a fresh tree.
This is my least favorite step, which to me is a necessary evil to creating the perfect starting point in decorating your tree. As you set up your tree make sure it is straight. After you have it positioned take the time arrange your branches (the necessary evil…boo). If you are like me, your tree has been stuffed into the tiny box it came in and now is in dire need of some love.
2. String your lights (unless you have a pre-lit tree which I highly recommend)
I have found that the best way to tackle the lights is to look at your tree through squinted eyes. As you string your lights wrap each branch, weaving back and forth from the outside of the tree to the center of the tree and back to the outside. This allows the lights to look like that they are a part of the tree rather than just placed in a circle around the tree. Remember to step back as you go to make sure that you are integrating the lights evenly.
Add some extra texture
If you are like me, once I have my bare tree up and spruced it always look a little sad. It’s like it’s screaming to me, “I am naked, please dress me!” The first thing I like to dress the tree with is a little extra texture. I add a variety of greenery picks : spruce, cedar, etc. This not only makes the tree look more expensive but it also creates a fuller tree by hiding some of the inevitable holes that a faux tree will have.
At this point the fun is starting. For my tree I like to use thick, multi-colored strips of ribbon instead of one long piece of ribbon. I find that it works best to weave the ribbon strips through the tree by working in and out of the branches. This allows the ribbon to integrate into the tree similar to the lights.
5. Add Some accoutrements
Before I add my ornaments I like to add some extra faux picks. I start with large, droopy berry stems, followed by two different types of gold leaf picks. By working around the tree I evenly place the stems throughout. My favorite part of using faux is that you can bend the stems to fit into your design.
Finally we have reached my favorite step, adding the ornaments! On my tree I use large round colorful bulbs of varied shapes. I put the bulbs on the tree largest to smallest. Although I use hooks to hang the bulbs I liked to hide the hooks as best as possible. I do this by turning the bulb’s top inward to the center of the tree.
7. Skirt your tree
Now your tree is almost complete; just one last easy step: the skirt. There are hundreds of beautiful and sometimes very expensive tree skirts, to add that final touch. The first year I spent a lot of money on the tree and all of its accessories and could not justify forking over any more for a tree skirt. So, that year I decided to go an alternative route by using bunched up fabric (that I had on hand) around the base of my tree. As it turns out I liked it so much I decided to keep using the fabric. It is funny how sometimes the alternative can turn out being just what you need.
So, there you have it, seven easy steps to help you create your own stunning Christmas tree. During this busy holiday season I hope you have time to enjoy the simple moments like trimming your Christmas tree; creating lasting memories that you will cherish for years. Happy decorating!