This is my favorite time of year and decorating the tree is one of my favorite things to do. A few weeks ago we put up our tree and am finally finished decorating it and the house. I’ll give you some tips to make decorating your tree easy.
1.Make Sure You Have A Good Tree
I know many folks have turned to artificial trees and I completely understand the appeal because it’s a hassle to go the real tree route. If you have an artificial tree, feel free to skip ahead to #2.
This year we decided to go to Home Depot to get a tree because we were sick of paying $120+ for a 7-8 footer, and they had the best prices. At Home Depot you can get a 7-8 ft tree for$79.99. Unfortunately, the $40 we saved wasn’t worth it.
I couldn’t put half of my ornaments on because the branches aren’t strong enough to hold them. And as the tree gets drier, the branches droop and ornaments keep popping off.
So look for a tree with thick branches. I’d say you’d want the outside branches to taper to no less than 1/4″.
2. Light it UP!
I think the secret to a beautiful tree is the lighting. This tree proves that lights are critical. I have half the number of ornaments as usual but the tree still sparkles.
Most people skimp on the lights but it’s essential that you load your tree up with as many lights as possible. Here’s the trick (as told to me by Mr. Man because I do not have the patience for this job): Starting at the top of the tree, wrap each branch with lights working your way from the tree trunk out and wrapping clockwise. When you get to the end of the branch take the strand back to the trunk and start wrapping the next branch. Continue until all the branches are wrapped.
If this sounds labor intensive, you would be 1000% right. It takes Mr. Man a couple of hours to get the lights on the tree and we usually use 1000 lights. This requires us to zip-tie an extension cord or power strip to the tree trunk to avoid shorting out strands. If you use a power strip, plug each strand into the strip rather than plugging them into each other.
This year’s pathetic tree was so skinny we could plug the light strands into each other without having to spread the voltage out. Mr. Man was happy because he got the lights on in under an 1 hour.
3. Ornament Placement
I love balls…ball ornaments that is and my color of choice is silver – shiny or frosted. But frankly, if it sparkles, I have heart eyes for it.
You want to begin by hanging your “filler” ornaments first. These would be your ball ornaments in neutral colors (e.g. silver, white, gold, red, etc.). Ideally you’ll have a variety of sizes and at least 40-60 of your “neutral” balls for a 7-8 ft. tree.
You’ll place the filler balls by size with the smallest ones at the top of the tree and the largest at the bottom. You’ll want to hang a fair number (roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of the most reflective filler ornaments on the inside of your tree — close to the trunk. This is the secret to making your tree sparkle. The lights will reflect off the balls and double the twinkle.
Once all the filler balls are hung then you can start placing your other ornaments, starting with the ornaments that you have the most of. For example, after my filler balls, the ornaments that I have the most of are 10 glittered snowflakes. I hang these next. (This year I couldn’t hang my snowflakes because the f**king branches aren’t strong enough.)
I continue hanging my ornaments in groups like this until I get to my one-of-a-kind ornaments. By now most of your ornaments are on but because you’ve placed so many of your filler ornaments on the inside branches, you’ll have plenty of room on the tips to showcase your most treasured ornaments. Don’t be afraid to rearrange ornaments you’ve already hung.
True confession time: I love flocked trees and tinsel…I know I’m supposed to think each of those are tacky and be horrified at the thought of putting them together, but (not so) secretly I love them. Unfortunately, my hate of the mess a flocked-tinseled tree would make outweighs my love of them.
I haven’t found anything to substitute my desire for a flocked tree but I think glass icicles are the perfect substitute for tinsel. Once I’ve hung all of the ornaments, I finish by adding glass icicles. You should hang them from the tips of the branches and stagger them around the perimeter of the tree.
I bought my icicles from Walgreen’s (of all places) over 15 years ago and they are my most favorite ornaments ever. They were dirt cheap and it looks like you can still get similar ones HERE or HERE pretty inexpensively.
4. Final Touches
The star and the tree skirt are the finishing touches.
I spent years looking for the perfect tree topper and finally found it 5 years ago in my glittered asterisk. For some reason, she’s not photogenic so you’ll just have trust me that she’s a stunner.
The tree skirt is my newest addition. Last year, I happened to be at J.C. Penney’s a few days after Christmas and fell in love with the simple red skirt with pompoms. Penney’s no longer carries it but they have some attractive ones HERE. In my search to find a similar one, I found several other attractive options HERE and HERE.
Well there you go a simple how-to for decorating your tree. Here are few other pictures of my holiday decorations. Happy Christmas!