Trim Your Best Tree Ever

Learn what it takes to dress up a knock­out, photo-ready Christ­mas tree from start to fin­ish. Our de­signer takes you step by step through dec­o­rat­ing a fes­tive fir like this one.

Country Sampler Holiday Homes December 2018 - - Inside -

Find out what it takes to dress up a knock­out, photo-ready Christ­mas tree from start to fin­ish.


Choose an in­di­vid­ual color scheme or per­son­al­ity-filled or­na­ments to cre­ate a tree that re­ally re­flects your style. You’ll en­joy it more.

1. Make It Glow

Once you’ve picked the per­fect tree and sit­u­ated it se­curely in a stand that can han­dle the height of the tree and width of its trunk, wrap the branches with strands of lights. Choose your pre­ferred style of bulb and make sure you pick a strand color that matches your tree. For ex­am­ple, if you have a white tree, look for white strands of lights. Also choose your bulb type. Tra­di­tional in­can­des­cent lights come in a va­ri­ety of sizes and col­ors and pro­duce a slight amount of heat, which helps re­lease the pine scent of a real tree. Newer LED lights don’t pro­duce heat; they are flame­proof and fire­proof, so they are good for homes with small children or pets. Wrap the strands from the bot­tom to the top of the tree. Push some lights closer to the trunk, and pull some out to­ward the tips of the branches to give the tree depth and di­men­sion.

NOTE: One mis­take peo­ple of­ten make is not us­ing enough lights; a good rule of thumb is 100 bulbs per each ver­ti­cal foot of your tree.

2. Drape a Gar­land

Gar­lands are a fun way to add tex­ture and en­hance the body of your tree. Pick a gar­land that sets your de­sired theme; it can be made of rope, strands of pop­corn and cran­ber­ries, or strings of beads, pom-poms, pinecones, twigs or other ma­te­ri­als. Wrap the gar­land around the tree, from top to bot­tom, in a loose but even scal­lop shape. Slowly in­crease the amount of gar­land be­tween each wave as you work your way down.

NOTE: Keep in mind that you’ll need ap­prox­i­mately 9 feet of gar­land per 1 foot of tree height. 3. Wrap a Rib­bon

Strands of rib­bon can act as a sec­ond, com­ple­men­tary gar­land. Keep within your theme and choose ei­ther pat­terned or solid-col­ored rib­bon of a dif­fer­ent tex­ture than your gar­land: felt, silk, mesh or even burlap. Twirl the rib­bon around your tree in the same di­rec­tion as the gar­land. As you work with the two dif­fer­ent types of gar­lands, re­mem­ber that thin beaded gar­lands look bet­ter draped from branch to branch, whereas thicker pa­per or rib­bon gar­lands work best wrapped loosely around the tree.

4. Add Fillers and Hang Large Or­na­ments If

your tree looks a lit­tle sparse—or you just want a bit more glam—stick some fillers in among the branches. Flo­ral picks, pinecones, berries and twigs all work won­der­fully to fill holes and add ex­tra tex­ture, color and sparkle. If you find it eas­ier, you could also in­sert fillers be­fore string­ing on the lights. Next, hang your largest or­na­ments on the branches and distribute them evenly. Don’t be afraid of very large or­na­ments, but keep them to a min­i­mum: two to three over­size or­na­ments on a 6' tree, and three to four on a 9' tree. Hang larger or­na­ments in the open spa­ces and to­ward the trunk to add depth to your dec­o­rat­ing.

5. Hang All Your Smaller Or­na­ments

All around the tree, hang the re­main­ing smaller or­na­ments. Go for a va­ri­ety of sizes, styles, shapes and col­ors to give your tree per­son­al­ity. Don’t clus­ter or­na­ments that are sim­i­lar in color or size too close to­gether. Hang lighter or­na­ments on the ends of branches and heav­ier or­na­ments closer to the trunk.


Be sure to test your light strands to make sure they work be­fore plac­ing them on the tree.


It’s im­por­tant to let a real tree open up be­fore dec­o­rat­ing, or to fluff and ex­pand the branches of an ar­ti­fi­cial tree when you take it out of stor­age.

6. Top It Off

Com­plete your tree by adorn­ing it with a top­per. This can be al­most any­thing, made from al­most any ma­te­rial: a burlap bow, a glass star, a wooden snowflake, a felt Santa hat, feath­ery an­gel wings—think out­side the box here and ex­press your creativ­ity! What­ever item you choose, be sure it’s po­si­tioned safely and se­curely atop the high­est branch. You may also want to add some dec­o­ra­tive picks com­ing out the top of your tree to en­hance your cho­sen top­per.

7. Dress It Up

Give your tree a dec­o­ra­tive base to fin­ish the look. Wrap a tree skirt around the bot­tom to cozy it up and hide the tree stand. You could use a tra­di­tional skirt, or try some­thing unique like a bas­ket, gal­va­nized bucket, scarf, table­cloth or even a sim­ple swath of fes­tive fab­ric.


If you have a real tree, po­si­tion it in the coolest part of your room. Keep it away from heat­ing vents and ra­di­a­tors to pre­vent it from dry­ing out too soon.

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