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How to Decorate a Christmas Tree


It’s time to start thinking about your Christmas decorations so you can make your home a winter wonderland. But today, we are just going to be focusing on the focal point, THE CHRISTMAS TREE!

Here’s a few tips & tricks to get you started down the right path. All these steps will apply to any theme or style.

1. Where should I put my Christmas Tree?

Put your tree in the most visible spot in your home while maintaining the most convenient location.

Do you want your neighbors to be able to see it from the window? Do you need to move furniture for the best enjoyable spot? Where do you spend most of your time? Do I need more than one tree?

Ask yourself these questions to determine the best spot for your home and space.

2. How tall should my tree be?

Your tree shouldn’t be any smaller than 6ft. Preferably as tall as possible, with clearance for your tree topper (more on that later). Stay within the range of 1 1/2- 2ft from the ceiling. If your great room is a story and 1/2 or a vaulted ceiling, an 8 or 10ft tree may be more ideal for your space.

3. Fluff the branches

This is a step I think most people don’t do properly…and it shows.

Grab some winter gloves, put on a Christmas movie, and get to work!

Fluffing branches is probably the most time consuming task, but it’s so WORTH IT.

Handle every branch going layer by layer; directing the stems to the left, right, and up.

DO NOT have the branches facing down. Always smiling, never frowning.

4. How many lights?

It’s time to sit down and plug in every strand of lights to play the game “is this strand going to turn on this season”. While you’re taking that extra trip to the store for more lights, its time to switch to LED. Out with the old, in with the new. Lights are expensive, I get it, but it’s worth the investment. LED’s will last longer, stay cooler, and they are brighter. What else would you want?

How many lights should I buy? The rule of thumb is 100 lights per ft of height.

But at JE Design Group, we don’t practice that rule. The more the merrier! 150 lights per ft. and maybe more is actually best! Begin at the bottom of the tree, towards the center and feed the lights around the branch making a “U”. People will “ooh and ahh” by how your tree is glowing!

Pre-lit trees are all the rage, but not a trend that fully supports itself. The convenience is nice, but lacking in lights. You can add more lights to a pre-lit tree, but that’s contradictory?

5. What the fluff!

Have you always wanted a tree that was flocked, but didn’t want the mess or hassle? I’d like to introduce to you fluff. You can buy “snow fluff” in the Christmas isle, but if you have quilting batting or old pillows that you can rip apart, that would be sufficient. This is an optional step, but in my opinion makes all the difference. You can’t go too crazy with this. Continue to rip little-medium pieces and place on the branches. Put snow on the tips of the branch and deep into the tree (even though that isn’t natural), it will look more realistic when you’re done. Once you feel like its done, go back and add WAY more! Trust me, you can’t do too much.

HINT: the first photo is what NOT to do!

6. Tree Topper

I like to put the topper on at this stage to guarantee I’m not climbing on a chair and potentially breaking something. You’ve spent so much time making it perfect, you don’t want to mess things up.

There are so many options when it comes to toppers: ribbon, floral picks, traditional angel, anything goes! Don’t skimp on this part! A beautiful topper can make all the difference. Too small will make the rest of your tree look disproportionate.

7. Garland, ribbon, bows, oh my

All 3 are beautiful by themselves or you could use them all!


-natural/homemade: popcorn, berries

-beads: wood, crystal acrylic


-use multiple ribbons together to make a fuller look (2-3). A patterned design (plaid, stripes, floral) paired with a solid and/or texture (silks, or burlap) work best together. A wire ribbon works best to Manipulate.

There is a lot you can do with ribbons. My preferred way is to go from left to right making my way down in a zig zag fashion, while pushing sections into the tree for a 3D effect. Lightly pull apart your choice of ribbon to show depth. Beautiful! Tip: If you are searching for a way to secure your loops or bows, use good old fashion pipe cleaner.

Practice makes perfect! It takes time to have it lay the way you want. It won’t stand out as much once you add your additional layers to your tree. You’re not finished!

8. Ornaments

Lots of people decorate the outer layer of the Christmas tree, while totally missing the most “wow factor” part of the tree…the inside! Don’t forget to put ornaments deep into the tree. This adds depth and character and it will make your guest stare at your tree trying to figure out why yours is better than theirs.

Be conscientious at this stage! Where you put what color, pattern, etc.

-color/contrast: Start with the basic more traditional ball ornaments. Bring in multiple colors to add contrast. Example: choose a pearly white or silver for a contrasting accent to the traditional reds and greens

Once you’ve put on your “basic” ornaments, its time for the next phase.

-Different shapes and sizes: Add all your big or filler items. These will take up the most space, so it’s important to do this step now while you have plenty of space in the tree.

This doesn’t have to be kept strictly to traditional ornaments. Look through all your Christmas decorations and ask yourself “could this fit in my tree?” and then put it in there! Ice skates, Santa hats, sleighs…be creative!

Next, fill in the empty spaces with the remaining little-medium ornaments.

9. Floral picks or stems

Picks/stems are another filler item. You want your tree to be tastefully full. This is part of that process! Walking down the floral pick isle can be daunting. You finally find what you like, but “how many should I get?” estimate 5-10 depending on the size of your tree. That allows you to stagger them in a zig zag pattern from top to bottom, spacing them out appropriately. Get a variety of different picks to pair together.

-berries, greenery, antlers, pine cones, themed items, are just a few examples

10. Tree skirt

Your tree looks fabulous, but now you need something just as fabulous to wrap your tree base!

-Basket, blanket, silk, burlap, fabric, animal hide, or pot (note; this is done at the beginning for obvious reasons)

There are so many options! What suits you? Do you like multiple options? Layer a blanket and a hide together. Still too plain? Add a train, nativity, or fake Christmas gifts wrapped in your theme of paper and ribbon to go under the tree. Ahhh much better!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Happy Decorating,

Olivia at JE Design Group

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