I love curling up on the sofa at the end of a cold winter’s day with my hot chocolate. Shutting off the TV and all of the lights except for the Christmas tree and the fireplace brings the end of the day into focus. There’s something very special about the warmth and shimmer of enjoying the Christmas tree lights. Maybe it’s all of the memories of Christmas’ past or that quiet moment, but regardless it’s one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season.
Your Christmas tree is the centerpiece of your holiday celebrations. It’s where the family gathers around to share great stories and laughter, it’s where Santa leaves the presents for all of the good little boys and girls on Christmas morning, and it’s a beautiful and constant reminder of faith and hope.
Here are some tips on how to make your tree as beautiful and meaningful as can be. (And how to avoid a common bit of Christmas conflict within the household.)
Lighting Your Christmas Tree
Christmas light are very important to me when it comes to my Christmas tree. The more lights the better! Not everyone feels that way so a good rule of thumb is to have about 100 lights per foot. So if you have a 7’ tree, you want 700 lights.
If you are decorating a live Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree that is not pre-lit, be sure to wrap some of your lights deep into the tree. Wrapping the lights deeper into the tree such as around the trunk and inner branches creates a glow from within the tree when it’s light.
If you are like me and like many lights, you add about 150 lights per foot. Don’t forget if your tree is pre-lit, you can still add more lights if that’s your preference.
Some people like all white lights, some like multi-colored lights, and some like a monochromatic tree like all red or blue. This is totally your preference. There is no one better way to choose the color of lights for your tree because it’s all subjective.
Garlands and Beads
Garlands and beads add texture and interest to your Christmas tree décor. Here is where you can really start to get creative with your personal masterpiece. You can go the traditional route of metallic tinsels and garlands to add a spark of fun or you can go the more modern approach and use ribbons and gauze to create a romantic glow for your tree.
You can choose wired ribbon that will hold its shape for a very long time. Wired ribbons come in all different colors, prints and patterns and you will surely find something that works for your taste or compliments your décor. Wired ribbon can be swagged throughout the branches or you can create bows of different sizes to place like ornaments throughout the tree.
Beaded garland is really a wonderful addition to any tree. Beaded garland can really add some glitz and glamour to your tree as well as texture and sheen. You can drape the beaded garland around the branches in a traditional swag or you can drape them down from the treetop to create a more modern look.
There are also new options for garland such as the ribbon garlands and bows with LED lights that add some new flair to your Christmas tree.
Ornaments and Baubles
I think we’ve come to the most important part of the Christmas Tree Decorating process (for me at least), the ornaments and baubles!
Ornaments are the jewels of the Christmas tree. I think a number of us really enjoy pulling out the ornaments of Christmas’ past like the baby’s first Christmas and the handmade ornaments from years past.
When you start placing the ornaments on the tree, remember to place some deeper into the tree as well as at the tips of the boughs. This will help add dimension and interest to your tree.
Again, this is all personal preference, but some folks keep those sacred ornaments safely tucked away, but I prefer to bring them out and place them on the tree first. After my favorite memory ornaments are on the tree, then I start filling in the different shapes and sizes of ornaments that I’ve collected over the years.
Silk flowers can be a wonderful addition to your tree’s décor. Poinsettias, Amaryllis, and other seasonal flowers can add that extra touch of warmth and celebration.
Can’t decide what you want your tree to look like this year? Does your spouse have a different idea of what the tree should look like? Well we have a fix for you!
My spouse has collected crystal ornaments for many years and always wants to display them. I have this affection for the Pittsburgh Steelers and always want to add some black and gold to the annual tree. What we did to compromise was to have three trees! Now I know that sounds very expensive, and it can be, but it doesn’t have to be.
A few years ago, I bought two artificial trees on clearance after the holidays one year. I found a 4’ black tinsel tree and a 5’ regular pre-lit tree for a very good price. The black tree goes up in the dining room adorned with my Steelers black and gold and the crystal tree shimmers beautifully in the living room window.
Of course, we decorate the main tree in the family room to be that modern classic Christmas tree with all of our important memory ornaments and it’s just beautiful (the picture above, is our main tree from last year), but we each have our own little Christmas trees as well. Turns out, they are a great conversation piece for your holiday parties and guests!
Take a look at all our Christmas trees, Christmas ornaments and everything else you need for the holidays on our Holiday Decorations page.