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Tips for Decorating a Christmas Tree

Updated on December 31, 2016

Trim the Tree

When decorating a Christmas tree, you'll find that it really becomes a challenge to create a tree that is going to be pleasing to the eye versus a complete eyesore. You want a Christmas tree that will blend in with your home and create a simple and pleasant decoration for the holiday season.

There are many ways to decorate your tree and many different tree decorations that you can choose from, but you want to make sure that what you do with your Christmas tree, you try to keep it simple, which means don't throw every ornament that you have from the time you were a baby.

A hodgepodge tree isn't necessarily going to be a very attractive tree.

Choosing a Christmas Tree

First you want to make sure that you choose a tree that is going to be appropriately sized for the room and space where you plan on setting it up. You want a tree that is not going to be oversized for a small room or miniature for a large room.

It is acceptable to have a tree that will touch the ceiling, but if you plan on using a tree topper, a tall tree probably isn't the best idea. You just want to make sure that you don't purchase a tree that will be bent over once you set it up.

Whether you prefer live trees or artificial Christmas trees, you'll follow the same basic tip: a symmetrical tree is a nice tree. If you plan on putting the tree in the corner, you can forgive a little imperfections.

If you prefer a live tree, you want to shop during the day when the lot is well lit, and before you finalize your purchase, shake the tree a little to see if there are any falling green needles, as this means the tree is dry and probably not the best choice.

Not the most finely decorated tree
Not the most finely decorated tree

Decorating It

Depending on what look you are trying to achieve, you may want to consider some of the following tips when trimming your tree.

  • Focus on one color scheme. Gold ornaments and white lights can create a classic look
  • You can mix trendy and classic with white lights and metallic ornaments of varying sizes, shapes, and textures.
  • You can add a floral element with fake white poinsettias and hydrangeas to create a more interesting look; generally a good option to consider when using white lights and metallic ornaments.
  • Spray on snow to the tips of the branches can add a fresh, frosty feel.
  • You can achieve a natural look by using clumps of moss, berries, and decorative birds and other creatures to the tree.
  • To add extra sparkle to your tree, you can use two different sizes of white lights.

No matter how you choose to decorate your Christmas tree, it's highly recommended that you choose one basic theme. Generally the color scheme that you choose can really set off the tree. With only a few colors and white lights, you can create a very elegant Christmas tree.

Tips for Decorating

When decorating your tree, you want to remember the following basic tips. Keep in consideration that it doesn't matter how you choose to decorate your tree—traditional, modern, natural—there's always order to decorating a tree.

  1. Start with your lights. Start at the bottom and drape them equally across each tier. When putting lights on the tree, you want to start on the inside and work your way out. Do not skimp on the lights; if you have to have multiple strands, then so be it; you don't want to leave any gaps.
  2. After putting lights on the tree, you can add the garland or tinsel if you choose to add either to your tree. This would also be the time that you would add popcorn strings or cranberries to the Christmas tree; just keep in mind bugs and rodents that may want to much on the tree, as well as pets who may want a snack while you're at work.
  3. After adding garland and tinsel, you want to add your ornaments. Consider ornaments that are different sizes, even if you're using Christmas balls, you can still add balls of different sizes in order to add depth to the tree. Keep all ornaments evenly distributed around the tree; you don't want one area loaded and another area slim. Also, try not to have all of the ornaments on the tips of the limbs; you want to put them throughout the tree, meaning inside the tree and outside, which will create more depth.
  4. When you're ready to add the topper to the tree, there are many options that you can choose from ranging from stars, angels, and ribbons, as well as popular holiday characters- Santa, elves, etc.


When decorating your Christmas tree, you don't have to follow any strict rules. You can have fun and decorate your tree however you like. If you want to add 40 Santa Claus ornaments or all the ornaments that your child has made in school throughout the years, then by all means, in the end it is still your tree.

But, if you are trying to create an elegant tree that will add to the holiday décor of your home, you can still include these special ornaments. You'll just want to limit the number of them that you put on the tree. You don't have to completely ignore them so that they're never seen.

If you want to add homemade or special ornaments, you can use basic Christmas balls as the main filler ornament to the tree. Then go back through and about ever foot and a half to two feet, add your other ornaments. This will call more attention to your one-of-a-kind and special ornaments, making them seem more important.

Just make sure that your filler ball ornaments are evenly distributed in, around, and throughout the tree. You want to place the ball ornaments towards the middle of the tree, middle of the limbs, and tips of the limbs, all the way around the tree or at least around the visible part of the tree.

Your special ornaments will get more focus if they're more towards the middle or end of the limb. Just make sure that you hang heavier ornaments on thicker limbs and the thicker part of the limb. You don't want your tree to sag as the holiday progresses.


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    • sligobay profile image


      10 years ago from east of the equator

      Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy ,healthy, and prosperous New Year, Whitney. I don't even have a tree this year. I always get one free along the street on the day after Christmas. Cheers.

    • profile image

      Christy Zutautas 

      10 years ago

      Great hub...I only wish that I had read it "before" putting up my Christmas tree this year. Your tips are fantastic!

    • sim0n30 profile image


      10 years ago from Ireland

      Great tips. This will stop my wife fretting so much about how the christmas tree looks!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a very timely hub. Decorating the Christmas tree is a very fun thing to do, but not all the time it looks good, which frustrates me. thanks for sharing these tips.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I purchased a new lighted star tree topper for my artificial tree. My problem is the star is too heavy and just makes the branch fall over. How can I fix this problem? Surely I am not the only one with this problem.

    • bengriston profile image


      11 years ago

      I never really put any thought into decorating it. I just put stuff on it and enjoy the lights.

    • CarpetDiem profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California

      hi Whitney,

      Nice article, and timely. I put up outdoor lights today, and will be getting a Christmas tree this week. You may what to update your article to discuss LED Christmas tree lights. I'm thinking of changing to them this year for the tree to save electricity and be a little more "green". I have yet to see any LED lights though that are as bright and warm as regular lights...


    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      11 years ago from Michigan

      really good tips just in time, im getting my tree around this week. thanks.

    • harrisdy profile image


      11 years ago from Texas

      great tips in decorating a christmas tree..

    • christianbooks profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi Whitney,

      I am glad that you took the time to write the the stuff I need to know in decorating a Christmas tree. My wife and I are getting ready for the Christmas season, and sure these tips will be a big help !

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      11 years ago from France

      For some reason I always put the lights at the end, not wonder it never looked quite right! At least this year I'll be able to do it right :)

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      11 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Whitney,

      This is useful particularly in this season. Your suggestion about classic look with golden.. is liked.

      Thanks and thumbs up!

      Jyoti Kothari


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