So, this post is not photo related in any way, haha.
I always get comments about how full and vibrant our Christmas tree is so I thought I would just share the process with you a little bit. I have a lot of items linked in this post but I don't get any kind of kick back, incentive, or anything at all if you buy them from these links.
So, first things first. We have a fake tree. I know this is a hot topic for some people but for the ease and convenience, it just works for us. We have a 6.5' Unlit Fraser Fir Narrow from Balsam Hill. It took me awhile to take the plunge with Balsam Hill because they're pretty pricey but there's really nothing else like them. They have a bunch of options of tree species and the branches look so real! If you wait for Black Friday, they usually have pretty good deals.
I have a very colorful tree but these steps will work for any type of style or theme. This works if you have a real tree as well!
So, here are my steps for decorating the tree.
Set it up and fluff the branches
Add the lights
Add the garland
Add the plain ornaments
Add the large & special ornaments
Fill in with picks
Sit back and enjoy!
SET UP YOUR TREE
Before setting up the whole tree, I take a couple extra steps. I think it goes without saying that you want to thoroughly clean the area before you put the tree up. Might as well since you moved things out of the way.
We have hardwood floors (well, vinyl plank floors) so I put this Christmas Tree Mat down so the floor doesn't get scratched up. Then, I set up the tree stand on top of that.
BEFORE I put the first section of tree on, I place our tree skirt. I like to do this now so I know it's centered and I don't have to crawl under the tree when its decorated.
I also like to run all my extension cords before the full tree is up. Again, so I don't have to crawl under the tree when it's done but also, so you know it reaches the outlet. These foot switch extension cords are awesome if you don't have an outlet that works on a switch.
We also got one of these Christmas Tree Huggers to cover up the ugly part at the bottom of the tree (not that anyone can actually see it). Mine is wood print on one side and candy cane striped on the other. I just use the wood side to make it blend in.
The rest this one is pretty self explanatory. If you're using an artificial tree, start from the bottom and fluff the branches as you work your way to the top. Don't forget to plug in your lights between sections. If you're tree is unlit, check out the linked post in the lights section. You'll want to add the lights to each section of tree as you go.
I bought an unlit tree because I wanted to keep the tree for many years. If a bulb goes out on a pre-lit tree, I've heard that it's kind of a pain to replace them. So, I strung up our lights in a way that they stay on the tree and I just have to plug them in. Then when one goes out, I can just replace that strand.
This blog post is a great instructional guide on how to string lights on your tree to make it look like it's glowing from the inside. It's exactly how I did the lights on my tree.
I really like the warm color white lights. The bright white lights give off a blue hue and they just feel colder to me. The warm white lights are a little more yellow and feel more like a cozy glow. But that's just my opinion. I got all of our lights from Christmas Tree Shops because I thought they had the best prices that year, but you can literally get lights anywhere this time of year. I like to cover the tree in white lights and then I could always add a string of colored lights over the top if I wanted to.
I have two strands of these "vintage" bubble lights that were my great grandmothers. I thought they were SO cool as a kid and I love that I'm able to incorporate them into our holiday now. So, once the tree is lit, I add in the bubble lights focusing on the front of the tree because the strands don't really reach the whole way around.
And lastly, I plug in our star. I got this vintage star on Etsy a few years ago and I feel like it matches my theme perfectly.
I have a lot of different garlands for our tree. I like having a mixture of different textures, materials, and colors. As you can see, our tree is very colorful!
A lot of my garlands aren't actually meant to be on a tree. Some of them are just trims from craft stores that I've glued together to make a long strip. I love the pom pom garlands and paper chain the most. I think it would be so fun to include a tassel garland or a macrame one or something like that too (just make sure it can withstand heat from the lights, we don't want any fires).
I take my separate garland pieces and lay them out on on the floor so I can visually see how to layer them. I like to do a pattern of sorts so it's not all the same things right beside each other. Then I like to lay the garland in a flat-ish line across the branches, like stripes. I make sure to space them out equally from one another.
I like to have A LOT of ornaments! If you can find the big sets of the colors you like, they are the best bang for your buck. I have a hard time finding my colors so it took me a few years to accumulate all of my ornaments. You definitely don't need to have this many or buy them all at one time!
I like having a variety of finishes with the ornaments. In each color I have matte, glossy, and glitter finishes. I love to have a textured version as well if I can find it. I also get the shatterproof ones because I'm a klutz and drop them all the time but I also don't have to worry about the dogs or my daughter knocking them down and getting hurt.
My biggest and best tip when it comes to buying your Christmas decorations is to wait until after Christmas to buy them! Go out on December 26 when everything gets marked down to like 50% off and get everything you can for next year's tree with the gift cards you got as presents. This is how I stocked up on everything I have over the span of a couple years. I really hate paying full price when you know they will just put the same things out again next year.
I've tried a lot of different ornament storage solutions and they all were frustrating or fell apart or just didn't work for me. Now, I use these amazing Snapware storage bins for my ornaments and I tell everyone I can about them. In the last few years they have been really hard to find but I've seen them most recently at Joann Fabric and Lowe's. Each bin holds around 48 ornaments but the dividers are detachable so you can make them fit what you need the most. I use the little bin for ornament hooks and our stocking markers. I actually can't even find them to link but these look similar. I don't recommend the fabric ones if you keep your holiday stuff in an attic or somewhere that is not temperature controlled. The fabric ones I used just disintegrated in my hands when I tried them.
When I put my ornaments away, I group them by color. So, when I put them on the tree, I put them on by color. It doesn't matter what color you start with but I find this helps to disperse the color throughout the whole tree. So I'll go one color at a time and space them around the entire tree. Don't be afraid to play with depth. Put some deeper inside the branches and some at the edges. You also want to be sure to put ornaments at the very top, very bottom, and on the back. This helps to hide any gaps and makes your tree look great from all angles. I hate to see the middle of the tree showing. And if you put your tree in a window, this UV-resistant sealer spray is awesome! I use it on my wreaths for the front door to keep them from getting faded by the sun.
I begin with all the solid color ornaments and then add in the patterned ornaments. For example, ones with stripes, polka dots, any additional decoration. When all the "plain" ornaments have been placed, I move on to the statement pieces.
LARGE AND SPECIAL ORNAMENTS
I consider the larger ornaments and sentimental pieces to be statement pieces. I like to put these on last so that they can be evenly distributed around the tree. I also think that these pieces deserve extra attention because they are special for some reason and should be seen first.
If you have any glass ornaments, I recommend keeping them around eye level (or higher). It will be harder for animals and kids to reach but also will be harder for you to accidentally bump into if they're hanging up higher.
I like to hang candy canes on the branches too. It adds to the decoration but is also fun for any kiddos who might be visiting you. I'm not sure how the candy canes will work out this year with a toddler in the house though. We'll have to play that one by ear haha.
You can also hide the pickle a this time if you're family does that tradition. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read about the tradition here.
I think this is the trick to having a completed look. The picks can be used to fill in any holes and also add some visual interest. You can find these at most craft stores (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore). Again, I like to have a variety of shapes and colors. They come in all varieties.
The glittery picks are great to put inside the tree to cover the trunk as well. The glitter helps the lights to reflect.
And here is my best secret for artificial trees (about to not be a secret anymore) - Scentsicles! They come in a pretty wide variety of scents. For the last couple years, I've picked them up in the Aldi aisle of shame. I use maybe 2-3 of these (so one container will last you around 2 years) and put them deep inside the tree where you can't see them and let the smell permeate the whole house. With the realistic look of the Balsam Hill tree and the smell of the Scentsicles, people don't know it's not a real tree until they get up close to it. For real.
That's it! You did it! Now you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful tree all season long. My favorite thing is to turn on the tree and sit around it's glow while we watch TV or eat dinner.
When it's time to take your tree down, you just follow these instructions in reverse. Taking the time to put the ornaments away in color groups will save you the headache of having to sort them next year.
If you followed these steps and found this post helpful, I'd love to see a photo of your tree!
Also, if you're really into super stuffed and decked out trees, you should check out Turtle Creek Lane. Jen goes all out for every holiday, but especially at Christmas. And she's just so positive and cheery! She'll put you in the holiday spirit fast.
Cute ornament pillows are from Hobby Lobby :)
I got out my childhood Avon nativity set for my daughter to play with again this year. She loves to show everyone the baby Jesus and hide everyone else around the living room. I also setup a rose gold tinsel pencil tree in my daughter's room. Previously, I set it up in our upstairs loft area which is supposed to be a playroom but honestly it's a wreck, full of boxes and stuff that needs put away and we never go up there. She's enjoying it so much more in her own room.