Christmas Tree Decorating Tips

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Everyone seems to think their tree decorating efforts do not match their expectations. We have collected some of the best Christmas trees decorating tips on how to give your tree that polish look.

Below are the steps involved in decorating your tree. Many of the steps are optional so read through and decide which you want to include.

Tree skirt

Depending on the design of your tree skirt, you may need to place it before putting your artificial tree together. Refer to the chart below on what size skirt you need for the size of your tree.

Tree lights

There are several types of lights to choose from–LED, traditional, globes, bubbler, as well in various shapes such as stars. Choose the lights that match your overall design.

Decorating tip: I like to put my lights both on the inside and outside of the tree. I first wrap a string close to the trunk and then place the rest towards the outside.

You will need about 100 Christmas lights per foot height of your tree. Refer to the chart below for the amount recommended for your size of a tree. The easy way to place your lights on the tree is to create quadrants on your tree and then wrap them back and forth across (see illustration below). Doing it this way will also cause you less tangled lights when you take the tree down. Don’t leave your lights lying on the outside of the tree, push back into the branches 2 to 5 inches. Vary the depth.

Click on images to open the page.


Fillers make the tree look fuller, reflect the Christmas lights and fill in holes. Look in the outdoor ornament section of the store for large, non-breakable bulbs that are about 8 inches in diameter. The size of your ornaments will vary depending on the size of your tree, and you will need a few smaller ones as you near the top of the tree.

The colors should match your tree decorations though you probably will only see glimpses of them. Hang these near the trunk of the tree. Stand back and look for light shining through the branches. Add a decoration to fill in the hole.

Christmas Tree Garland

Garland is referring to anything used to wrap around the tree and not only to that which is labeled garland. Garland is optional.

There are three types to choose from–garland, mesh or wired ribbon.

When using garland, the first thing to consider is what is the theme of your tree. There is a large variety — beaded, crystal balls, greenery, grapevine, candy, etc. Choose something that matches your Christmas tree design.

When using mesh, match the color theme of your tree. It is advised by the experts to buy pipe cleaners (green or match mesh color) to hold your poufs.

Wired ribbons come in a variety of styles and colors. You will want a wide ribbon that matches your Christmas tree design.

Check the last chart above for recommended garland yardage for your tree size.

The first image above shows some ideas on how to wrap your garland.

Garland is spaced 18 inches to 3 feet apart depending on the size of the garland and tree. On average, a six-foot tree will have 2 to 3 wraps, and a nine-foot tree will have three to four.

If you are using mesh, you will need to make poufs about every 18 inches or so. A pouf is the fluffing out of the mesh to form an outward pouf of fabric. Tie with a pipe cleaner.

Beaded garland is draped over the branches rather than wrapped. You can also swag your ribbon or garlands (see below).

Decorating tip: Your garland will look better if you don’t wrap it as a flat band around your tree. See the suggested method illustrated below. The picture beside shows mesh twisted rather than tied.

Click on images to open the page.

Picks or bows

Picks or bows are used to add texture and to unify the tree.

Apply picks or bows in a  harlequin pattern/ diamond pattern. (See below). On a seven-foot tree, you would use about 2 and a half connecting diamonds on each side of the tree.

Bows should be a minimum of four loops. You can make mixed ribbon bows but keep the colors compatible and repeat the individual ribbons frequently.

Use big picks or floral stems. You can stack picks to create a bouquet. Place one or two leaf or plainer stems on the bottom with a flashier pick on top– flowers, beaded wire, pinecones, etc. Tie all these together or use a zip tie to attach to a long pick. (See examples of picks below).

Insert your pick horizontally into a branch. Fluff up the pick and arrange pine branches around it. Let the pick extend slightly out from the end.

Click on an image to open the page. The first photo shows the use of foliage picks–sticks, holy and love-lies-bleeding, stylized picks in the second image, and in the last picture long glittered pipe cleaners were twirled and grouped into threes.

Focal points

Focal points are also optional. Use objects that bring immediate attention to them for your focal point–large ornaments, lanterns, wall signs, dolls, teddy bears and other stuff animals, large flowers, wrapped packages, wooden animals, etc.

Experts vary on the number of these objects. Three, five or seven of them are suggested. Notice the use of odd numbers.

Hang these on the tree in a “z” or triangle pattern.

Felt stockings, signs, and cut out castles were used for these trees’ focal points. You can use more than one type of object.

Tree Ornaments

Divide your Christmas tree decorations into balls and other shapes–stars, onions, teardrops, snowflakes, discs, figurines, etc. The odds are you have more balls than ornaments with different forms. Each year make it a goal to add some of them later. The right balance has your collection 50% balls and 50% other shapes.

A budget way to add shapes to your tree is to look for Styrofoam cutouts of stars, snowflakes, and other shapes that match the color of your tree. Flocked or painted pinecones come in packs, are economical, and will also add texture. You will have to add a string to hang them on the tree.

Then divide the groups by color, then glittered and non-glittered, or any other texture or decoration that makes them unique. Finally, divide by size. Your goal is to group like balls together.

Try to have a variety of balls–matte, shiny, glittered, pearlescent, grooved, decorated with beads, etc.

Most of your tree ornaments probably are 4 inches or smaller. Add to your collection bigger balls (6″ to 8″) These are used on the bottom of the tree to balance the depth and width of this area.

Once divided you are ready to decorate your tree. Follow these decorating tips.

* Do one color at a time. Doing this helps make sure colors are placed evenly throughout the tree.

*Hang balls before unique shape ornaments.

*Hang some of the balls a few inches back into the tree to add depth.

*An easy way to make sure similar bulbs are throughout the tree is if you hang an ornament on one side of the tree, add the same style to the opposite side.

*Save spots for your unique family ornaments.  Place these in prominent areas.

*Ice cycles and imitation crystals go on last after the shape ornaments. Attach these to the end of the branches with a few back into the tree.


The topper is the final step. It can be anything–a bow, star, a hat, or anything else you think is pretty and fits the theme of the tree. Add some finesse to it by adding picks behind it in a fan shape. Wire your picks together and attach them to the tree behind your topper.  See above pictures under focal and picks for example.

Lastly, add your tree skirt and something under your tree that matches the tree’s theme. Use a stuffed Santa, poinsettia, reindeer, sled, etc. or merely wrap all your packages to match the tree and place under the tree.

If you have any suggestions, please comment below.

Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed this blog post, please give it a share!

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Christmas Decorating Ideas

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