How to Decorate a Christmas Tree in 3 Easy Steps

Trimming a Christmas tree is a cherished custom in numerous households, with over 94 million homes in the United States showcasing a Christmas tree in 2021, as per the American Christmas Tree Association’s survey. The fundamental elements of tree decoration—such as lights, garlands, tinsel, and ornaments—are widely recognized. However, the possibilities for creating a festive tree that reflects your individual style, character, background, and environment are nearly boundless.

The most captivating Christmas trees are brimming with layers of memories, traditions, and ornaments—ranging from handcrafted to store-bought. Unsure about your tree decoration plans for this year? There’s an abundance of Christmas tree themes and handmade ornament concepts that enable you to infuse a personal flair into your holiday embellishments. Once you’ve discovered your muse, our guide offers three straightforward steps to adorn your Christmas tree expertly.

Step 1 – involves the installation of Christmas tree lights

marking the initial phase in decorating your tree. These lights commonly come in strands of green or white wires, and more recently, black variations are available, ideal for black-themed Christmas trees. It’s essential to select a wire color that matches your tree to conceal the wiring effectively. The best way to illuminate your tree is from within, offering a more vibrant appearance. Begin at the base of the tree’s trunk and gradually ascend, winding the lights around each significant branch, moving back and forth from the trunk to the top. While doing so, fluff the branches to enhance their fullness.

Experiment with diverse lighting arrangements until you discover one that suits your taste; mixing different types of lights is perfectly acceptable. For instance, a backdrop of white or clear lights can be accentuated with colored light strands wrapping around the outer sections of the tree.

To gain further insights into creating your ideal lighting scheme, refer to our comprehensive guide on placing lights on your Christmas tree. Additionally, consider these four popular types of Christmas lights when embellishing your tree.

Conventional Incandescent Lights: Among the most widely used Christmas tree lights, these lights come in various sizes and colors and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. When placed on a real tree, they emit warmth, enhancing the tree’s branches and infusing the room with the delightful scent of pine.

LED Lights: A more recent innovation compared to traditional incandescent lights, LED Christmas tree lights don’t generate heat. While they tend to be pricier, they boast flameproof and fireproof qualities, making them entirely safe for adorning a Christmas tree.

Globe Lights: These spherical Christmas tree lights are available in multiple sizes, resembling colorful orbs when placed on the tree. Although they offer a softer illumination compared to mini lights, they cover a larger area on the tree, providing a radiant glow.

Bubble Lights: Retro in style, these lights stand upright on the branches of your Christmas tree. As the liquid tube atop the light heats up, bubbles rise and fall inside the tube, creating an effect reminiscent of lava lamps.

Step 2 involves the addition of Christmas tree garland,

where there are no strict guidelines for draping it. To prevent branches from bulging between tightly wrapped garland strands, start at the tree’s top and gradually increase the amount of garland with each wave as you progress downward along the branches. A rough estimate suggests using around two strands of garland for every vertical foot of the tree.

To maintain a balanced look, opt for a diverse range of garlands—from simple to elaborate. Delicate, beaded garlands are best draped from branch to branch, while thicker paper, ribbon, or foil garlands suitably wrap around the entire tree with a looser style. You can also complement a flocked Christmas tree with an equally charming flocked garland. If you’re seeking a unique touch, consider crafting your own garland this holiday season.

Another popular choice for tree embellishment is using ribbon. Gently wind wide, patterned ribbon horizontally around the entire tree. For added charm, fashion large bows from similar ribbon and use them to adorn the tree branches. Once you’ve mastered decorating a tree with ribbon, elevate it further by arranging the ribbon vertically, creating flowing cascades from the tree’s top to the base. Secure the ends under the tree topper and fasten around the trunk at the base for a polished look.

The final step in adorning your tree involves hanging your Christmas ornaments.

Here’s what to keep in mind as you decorate your Christmas tree with ornaments:

Start by showcasing your favorite ornaments in prominent positions on the tree. Proceed to hang your larger ornaments, spacing them evenly throughout the tree. Using ornaments of one color but varying sizes and textures creates a cohesive look from top to bottom. Place the larger ones at the bottom and the smaller ones towards the top. Fill the spaces around these ornaments with medium- and small-sized decorations. Ensure you hang some ornaments closer to the trunk to add depth and intrigue. They’ll catch and reflect light, enhancing your tree’s inner sparkle. Personalize your tree by adding special items like handmade ornaments, clip-on decorations, or icicles. Complete the look by adding a straightforward tree topper and a festive tree skirt. Step back and assess your tree from different angles—squinting your eyes can help—to identify any empty areas that need filling for a balanced and complete look.


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Hello, i’m Marina Bargouti – Interior designer, Thematic Instagram blogger. Married, Happy mom. Professional interior designer in the USA.
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