Ultimate Christmas Tree Decorating Guide

Decorating a Christmas Tree is one of the highlights of the Christmas holiday season. When thinking about your tree, thoughts like… what kind of tree? what style of tree? how tall? what theme? what colors? what color lights? what tree topper? garland or no garland? how many ornaments? All of these questions are answered using this Ultimate Christmas Decorating Guide.

What kind of tree?

Christmas trees are magical and can be real or artificial. Some makers of artificial trees even make trees that have close characteristics of real trees like the smell and feel, such as Tree Classics and Balsam Hill. There are many kinds of trees: Fir (Balsam, Fraser, Canaan, Douglas, Grand, Noble, Concolor), Pine (White, Scotch, Virginia), Spruce (Blue, Norway, White), Cypress (Arizona, Leyland), and Cedar (Red). Regardless of which tree you choose this year real or artificial, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Here are some advantages for both trees to help you make your decision.

Real Tree

  • Authentic
  • Traditional
  • Fresh Smell
  • Environmentally friendly and recyclable
  • Another tree is planted for each one harvested to ensure a steady supply year after year

Artificial Tree

  • Durability
  • Fire-retardant (MOST)
  • Allergy Free
  • Less Maintenance
  • More Cost-Effective (Last an average of 7-9 years)

What style of tree?

There are at least six styles of tree: Full, Narrow, Slim (Pencil), Flatback (Corner), Sparce, and Upside down. The decision of which style you choose is solely preference. Here are pictures of each style:

FULL STYLE
NARROW STYLE
SLIM/PENCIL STYLE
FLATBACK/CORNER STYLE
SPARCE STYLE
UPSIDE DOWN STYLE

What size tree?

Your Christmas tree should be perfect for your holiday interior. Start by finding the perfect location in your home for your tree. Ensure that you select an area which provides adequate space and a focal point for your holiday home. If necessary you may need to move or change your furniture around, fear not!!! Also, ensure that the location that you select is SAFE from heating vents, exhausts, or not within 8′ feet of a fire. Never place your tree near a source of heat. Avoid places where the tree will be exposed to harsh elements or could possibly fall on someone and cause injury or death.

Once you have found the location for your tree, measure your space from floor to ceiling, and side to side. Allow at least 6 inches to one foot of free space from the ceiling to the top of the tree topper. Most tree sizes start at 4′ and go to approximately 30′.

Balsam Hill, suggests surveying the space for your tree using specific guidelines. This link will guide you on how to survey and measure the correct space for your Christmas Tree.

What Christmas theme?

The theme of your Christmas tree should be one that inspires you. It should reflect your idea of the perfect Christmas or just simply your vision for the holiday season. The Gingerbread House, Candy Cane Lane, Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman, Patriotic, O Christmas Tree, 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas Village, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Letters to Santa, Jingle Bells, and Classic Christmas… just to name a few, are great Christmas tree themes. Here are pictures of trees using some of these Christmas themes.

What colors on the tree?

Red, green, white, blue, yellow, purple, orange, black, pink, brown, silver, gold. There is no method to combining colors for your tree. When decorating your Christmas tree even white is a color. Trees, tree toppers, ornaments, lights, and garland ALL come in a variety of colors.

Personalize your tree by selecting your tree accessories in one or more color combinations of your own. For color inspiration, Canva.com offers 100 color combinations. Don’t be afraid to add prints, such as stripes, plaids, and gingham; and bling it with sparkle using glittery picks and tinsel. Lastly, don’t forget your favorite ornaments and the new ornaments you just can’t pass up. Here are some trees featuring color.

What color of lights on the tree?

Most Christmas lights are incandescent or LED. Incandescent lights have been the conventional lights, but are being taken over by LED lights because of the comparisons of the quality of the LED lights over the incandescent lights. LED lights are more expensive upfront but lasts 5X the lifetime of incandescent lights. The LED lights are energy savings and save through power usage about 10X the usage of incandescent lights. LED lights can be stranded together in about 20 – 30 light sets verses the incandescent lights which can only be stranded together about 3 – 5 light sets. LED lights generate less heat than the incandescent lights.

Christmas lights come in a variety of color choices: clear, multi, solid color, fairy lights or micro LEDs, or light show lights. When selecting lights, remember that all white lights are not created equal. White lights have a range of whites from warm, soft, cool, and bright.

LED Lights
Micro / Fairy Lights

TIPS

  • When deciding on which lights to use and where to use them, please read the factory instructions on the package.
  • For a brighter level of lighting, bring lights closer together or twist strings together.
  • Also remember, white wire strands are more appropriate for lighter color objects and green wire strands are more appropriate for darker color objects.
  • Lastly, ensure the total power wattage does not exceed the socket you used in the circuit.
  • For instructions on how to correctly hang lights on a Christmas tree, go to the Certified Lighting website.

What tree topper?

Your theme should spark an ideal of what tree topper you will use to adorn your tree. If your theme is Patriot, maybe a group flags at the top, for a traditional theme maybe a star. If your tree celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, maybe an angel. If your theme is Frosty the Snowman you can feature a Top Hat. Other tree topper ideas are Santa, Stockings, Glittered Stems or Sprays, Candy Cane Spray, and Large Bows.

Garland or no garland?

Garland is the necklace jewelry of Christmas. It comes in different forms and materials but they are all strings of objects. Some ideas of beautiful garlands are ribbon, beads, floral, pompoms, pearls, burlap, faux snow, stringed words, and stringed ornaments. Garland should be placed on your tree after the lights, tree topper, and before the ornaments.

Image result for Christmas tree ribbon garland

How many ornaments?

Christmas ornaments come in many different sizes and shapes. The standard ornaments are round and come in sizes from 2″ to 6″ (or more) in diameter. The look of round ornaments are matte, shiny, glittery, ornate, and some even have images on them. Other ornaments take the look of many different creations, materials, and designs.

The number of ornaments that should be on a tree are dependent upon the look one is trying to achieve, the size of the tree, and should focus on visual satisfaction. Christmas Lights Etc suggests the number of ornaments is ultimately based on personal preference. The included chart is a suggested guideline from Christmas Lights Etc:

How Many Ornaments

Christmas Lights Etc

This Ultimate Christmas Tree Decorating Guide will guide you on your quest to decorating your Christmas Tree. Don’t forget there are really NO RULES for decorating your tree. Use the Modern Livable style, which is how you want what you want and you will not go wrong. Don’t forget your theme, tree topper, garland, and ornaments. If you have any questions about decorating your tree please Contact Us.

StephanieK, The DIY Exchange

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