Festive Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas
‘Tis the season for decorating the evergreen with silver bells, elegant ornaments, colorful garlands, and more. It can get overwhelming trying to get the whole house together—from decking the mantel to getting the Christmas lights up outside. But, we can all agree that the main décor star of the season is the Christmas tree. Trying to tackle the tree is not an easy task. We tackled some of your top trimming challenges to design our favorite and most festive tress for the holidays—all ideas that you can try to recreate in your own home. If you’re living in a small space, we have some ideas that won’t take up too much precious room, but will still look festive. Or, if you have way too many ornaments, we’ll help you sort through your collection. And, if your house is filled with kids and pets, we have some tips so you can have a tree that’s safe and child- and animal-proof. Whatever your tree decorating dilemma, there’s an easy and practical solution for you. Follow these simple tricks for overcoming just about any decorating obstacle and your tree will be more than ready for those presents on Christmas morning. Cue Santa...
Challenge: Keep Garland From Taking Over the Tree
If you’re guilty of going overboard with the metallics and sparkly baubles during this Christmas season, we don’t blame you. But, we all have to agree that too much glitz has given garland a bad name. Sometimes your Christmas tree garland can take up too much real estate, making the evergreen look overcrowded and a little crazy. You can still have a festive garland on the tree, without it stealing the show from your favorite ornaments. Believe it or not, there’s more to it than gaudy tinsel and homemade strings of popcorn. Here, we’ll show you how to balance out everything.
How to Decorate With Garland
A Christmas tree garland instantly adds pops of color and rich texture to trees, banisters, even mantels. These festive strands can also act as miracle workers concealing those inevitable bare spots that you swore weren't there when you picked out the tree. Start by committing to one color palette. Choose something with depth, like a deep crimson, and then soften it up with complementary tones in pale pink, charcoal grey, and creamy ivory. As long as you stick within the same color family, you can play up the fun, unexpected factor like wrapping branches with pom poms, mittens, and mini ornaments. When it comes to the technique, it's all in the wrist: softly drape (note: avoid firmly stuffing) the strands along the branches.
Challenge: Deciding on a Theme
How to Decide on a Theme
Examine your collection closely and ask yourself: Is there an ornament that is particularly meaningful this year? Is there something that must (out of tradition) be present every year? How do you envision your tree to look? For example, are you leaning towards bold and bright or would you prefer to keep the mood soft and serene? Then focus on your favorites and set aside the ones that naturally belong together. Commit to pulling this look together from top of the tree to bottom. Here, we worked snowflakes in all shapes and sizes (big, small, round) and went with shimmery silvers and golds to keep the look warm and sophisticated.
Challenge: Mixing and Matching the Old With the New
How to Mix the Old With New
For starters, remember this is not a competition of old versus new. Thankfully, these ornaments can hang in harmony. In order for this to look just right, you'll need to decide which favorites complement—don’t compete with—one another. Take it slow and go through your selection one by one. Start with a vintage pick like a beautiful golden owl, and then work in a modern find like the hot pink filial to balance it off. Continue with this process until your tree is complete.
Challenge: A Tree That's Safe to Have Around Pets
Yes, you can still celebrate Christmas with four–legged friends running around. Just because you have a house with small children and a cat or dog (or both), doesn’t mean you can’t go all out with the Christmas decorating. Phew. However, you’ll need to put a little extra thought and consideration into these selections. Be sure to plan everything out beforehand, especially before you head out to the Christmas tree lot or purchase ornaments (maybe a cat Christmas tree ornament should be on the list). There are a couple of logistics you have to work out when it comes to placing the tree and displaying ornaments, but with planning you’ll have your most festive tree yet.
How to Decorate With Pets in the Home
You might have to make a few concessions when you’ve got pets and kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be as festive. Consider a tabletop tree that can stand out of harm’s way. (For the record, tabletop trees can be just as beautiful as their seven–foot siblings.) Shop for ornaments that are shatter–resistant (cotton, felt, wool) and made of non-toxic materials because there’s no telling when someone—who shall remain nameless—will go in for a licking. If one small tabletop tree isn’t enough for you, group a few together on a console table or mantel.
Challenge: Decorating on a Tight Budget
Let’s face it, trimming the tree can do a number on your bank account—especially if you’re a fan of fancy expensive ornaments and garlands. And if you decided to get a 7-foot tree this year, well you know you’ll need a lot of decorations to fill the tree. Think decorating on a budget is a mission impossible? Think again. If you're ready and willing to leave your comfort zone, this year's tree can make quite an impact. It is possible to have a cheap Christmas tree that's still elegant and festive. There are so many unique and creative ways to make your Christmas tree extra special this year without going over your budget.
How to Decorate on a Budget
Here’s a trick: Skip the classic evergreen and pick a tree in an unexpected color like a winter white. The more untraditional the color, the bigger the impact it will make, which gives you the flexibility to go a little smaller on the size. When it comes to the ornaments, your existing collection should more than cover what this tree needs. Stick to one bold color so it really pops like red, magenta, or turquoise.
White tree, treetopia.com.
Challenge: Short on Space
How to Make the Most of Limited Space
Don’t worry, you won’t have to go without a tree just because you don’t have much space. Yes, a six-foot tree might not feel quite right in a studio apartment or a tiny living room, but a tabletop version can be magnificent without invading every inch of your space. Choose between a traditional evergreen, or choose a bottle-brush or artificial tree in a unique color like white or pink. And these days there are mini decorative elements of just about everything, so you won’t have trouble finding just the right ones for your aesthetic at the store. Time to get those creative juices flowing.
Challenge: Too Many Ornaments
How to Edit Your Collection
Start sorting. Empty the boxes and bins and organize the ornaments into categories: must-hang; maybe next year; never again. Once you’ve pared down to the tried–and–true favorites, find the palette that speaks to you. And it’s OK if it isn’t red or green. Dare to be a little different with a shocking lime green paired with shimmery neutrals. Then, focus on scale. Choose larger ornaments or ones with more unique shapes to hang first. Not only will these picks add more depth to the tree, they'll also take up more space, which means fewer ornaments will be required.
Challenge: Decorating in a Small Space
Weary of dragging a tree up the six flights to your apartment? Or maybe you simply don’t have one more inch of floor space to devote to a tree, no matter how small the evergreens may come? Don’t feel like you have to enjoy the season’s trimmings from afar (think holiday windows or your city’s crowded tree lighting event). Rather than giving yourself a sore back or stuffing a fir into an odd corner between the couch and the wall, opt for a tabletop version instead. Even a small, elevated tree can make a big statement—and we could all use a little extra cheer in our homes.