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An illustrated guide on How to decorate the perfect Christmas tree

Updated on December 8, 2014
Christmas Tree decorated by myself at my parents' house
Christmas Tree decorated by myself at my parents' house | Source

Don't laugh, it's not obvious!

The answer for the upper question seems pretty easy, but those newlyweds or young people who try to decorate their first Christmas tree ever happen to have some difficulties most of the time.

With almost 10 years of experience and more than 20 decorated trees behind my back that is the reason I came up with this little guide – I will try to list the most important steps to have a beautifully decorated tree for the most anticipated holiday of the year.

Happy reading! :)

Shopping list

1 - A Christmas tree
2 - Light strands
3 - Big baubles/ornaments
4 - Medium baubles/ornaments
5 - Small baubles/ornaments
6 - Ribbons or beads
7 - Tree topper
8 - Additional decoration for the room

Useful tip 1.

For a living Christmas tree buy a tree stand that has a huge water reservoir and always keep it filled with water once the tree is in it. This way you can keep your tree alive much longer.

Do the shopping

First, you have to decide, whether you would like to have a living or a ‘fake’ tree. I am a huge fan of living Christmas trees – I love their color, their smell, their beauty, everything -, but sadly they usually start to wilt within 2 weeks on normal room temperature. On the other hand, fake trees can be equally beautiful and they never start to wilt of course. This year I will decorate a 'fake' one, as we won't be home too much anyway.

It does not matter which one you choose, but always come up with their spot in the room first, and then measure the size of that place – to make sure you won’t choose a tree that is way too big for the desired location. Also, if you want a ceiling-high tree, then measure that height too. Once I’ve seen my parents quarrelling quite funnily, because the chosen tree was 10cms higher than the height of our room…

Own Christmas trees

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sorry about the poor quality - it is hard to make a photo with only the Christmas tree lights on :)
Sorry about the poor quality - it is hard to make a photo with only the Christmas tree lights on :)
Sorry about the poor quality - it is hard to make a photo with only the Christmas tree lights on :)

Also, decide what ornaments would you like to place on the tree and in which color(s). In my opinion, the best is if you choose only 2 colors at most – my favorite is the red+gold combination, but orange+gold and red+silver also make a great combination. If you have the colors in mind, you can decide whether you want to have a specific theme as well, like angels, snowflakes, or ‘ordinary’ ornaments will do.

Also, do not forget the Christmas lights. I suggest you to buy 50 lights per 30cms of the tree. So if you have a 1,80 meters tall tree, then you should get a 300 lights strand, or 3x100 lights strands. It does not matter if you buy a blinking set of lights, but I advise you to buy only 1 colored, preferably clear white lights.

Useful tip 2.

Try to arrange each pair of ornaments evenly on the tree.

Setting up the tree

Once you have the tree in your ‘hands’, ask someone to assist you setting up the tree into its place. If you have bought a living tree you will surely have some problems trying to fit the tree’s trunk into its stand. With someone to help you it will be a sweaty, but fast job.

If you have a living tree, try to figure out which side of the tree is the most appealing. Turn your tree until you find that part and make that side the centre of attention – with clever decorating, you will be able to even out the least appealing side as well.

Now I hope your tree stands on ‘their foot’, at the right spot. Get out all the ornaments and decorations you have bought for your tree and also the lights.

Useful tip 3.

Don’t hang all your ornaments on the tips of the branches. Try to add ‘depth’ to your tree by placing some decorations ‘inside’ your tree, in between the branches.

Decorating the tree

Start with putting up the Christmas lights onto the tree. Always plug in the lights first to make sure the strand will reach the plug and you won’t have to take off the lights as you can’t plug it in.(I have seen examples for this, too :).) Start with the bottom of the tree and go towards the top with the lights. Ideally, you will be able to even the lights on all sides of the tree and you will also have enough lights for the top of it. If you don’t, try to work on it until you are successful.

Then put the biggest ornaments, baubles on the tree. If you put one color on the right side, make sure you put the same color on the other side, a big lower or higher. This way your tree will look very colorful and balanced. If there’s a part of the tree where there are less branches or they are seemingly smaller than the others, put some big ornaments there as well – try to make those branches bigger or hide them behind these decorations.

Decorate your room further!
Decorate your room further! | Source

Useful tip 4.

Choose gift wrappings that harmonize with the colors of the tree and also buy some extra decorations in your room with the same color. For example 2 little pillows onto the old couch, a beautiful golden set of candles with lively Christmas decoration, etc.

Which one do you like the most?

Living or fake Christmas tree?

See results

You can continue now with the smaller ornaments. Follow the same logic like before.

Finally, finish decorating the tree with some ribbons or beads, as you like it. With bigger ribbons you can hide the possible little defects that your tree has (like some bigger holes between the branches or the uneven sides, etc.), like you did with the biggest ornaments.

Last but not least, place the tree topper on its place.

You are done, congratulations on your beautifully decorated Christmas tree! :)

Christmas tree and decoration 2012 - new pictures!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Share your ideas!

That's all for now, I hope you liked my guide and will find it useful later.

Please feel free to comment on this hub, your feedback is very much appreciated!

Or, if you feel that you can write fresh, new ideas about this or a similar topic, just join our community and start writing!

© Copyright 2012-2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)

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    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Donna, I hope I will be able to help some people with this little guide! I know how disturbing can decorating the first tree be, so I really tried to be as precise as possible :).

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Wow, you really put some thought into the process and design of decorating. Your tips about the lights are especially helpful. Great ideas!