How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: Step-by-Step Instructions

Evelyn Long

Nov 22, 2022


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close-up the branches of a tree, detailing how to decorate a Christmas tree

Christmastime is filled with many traditions, from gift-giving to drinking hot cocoa by the fire. Decorating the tree is another common one. It can be a fun way to bond with your whole family! Here’s how to decorate your Christmas tree, step by step, to make it sparkle and shine.

1. Choose Your Tree

Before you can start decorating, you need to find your perfect tree. You might decide to cut one down with the family or pick up an artificial tree. Ether way, you determine what fits best with your home’s style and your budget.

If you’re cutting down your tree, consider the following tips:

  • Make sure the tree is fresh.
  • Know the height and width of your space.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Pay attention to how straight the tree trunk is.
  • Hose the tree off before bringing it inside.

When looking for artificial trees, pick the one you can assemble and store most easily. If you’re buying one, make sure the lights are UL-approved. This way, if one light goes out, the whole string won’t fail.

2. Put Your Tree Collar in Place

Before you start learning how to decorate a Christmas tree, you want to add the tree collar. It will be easier to place when the tree isn’t covered in ornaments. Your tree collar is a decorative piece that can give your tree more character.

Here are some fun tree skirt ideas to consider adding:

  • Wooden crate
  • Natural linen
  • Antique brass
  • Angel Christmas tree skirt
  • Mistletoe toe rug

3. Assemble and Fluff Your Tree

If you cut down the tree yourself, you want to place it into the tree stand. Make sure it is sturdy before you start adding your decor. If you have an artificial tree, then assemble the different parts. You will also want to fluff out the branches. When you first take it out of the box, it will probably still be a little flat.

Fluffing your tree gives it a fuller look and fills in any gaps. Start from the back branch and fan out the tips of each branch, moving them straight up or to the side. This is one of the more important things to remember when decorating a Christmas tree step-by-step.

4. Add Ribbon

Ribbons can help make your tree stand out. You want to add these first, so larger ornaments aren’t in your way. For a more elegant design, consider creating loops within the ribbons. Using a wired-edged ribbon helps the curls to maintain their shape.

Here are some colored ribbon ideas to take your tree to the next level:

  • Gold
  • Pink
  • White
  • Plaid
  • Blue

When adding the ribbon, consider these design tips:

  • Layer with two primary colors.
  • Use a cascading pattern.
  • Match it with the ribbon from your presents under the tree.
  • Create tiny bows.
  • Incorporate wider ribbons.

5. Add Your Lights and Garlands

Once you have your ribbons in place, it’s almost time for the baubles. This is one of the more fun steps when decorating your Christmas tree.

First, you want to string your lights around the tree. This helps prevent you from accidentally knocking over any ornaments. You want to use the string’s plug as a starting point and wrap the lights around the tree trunk by working your way up. Try to have them as evenly spaced out as possible. Next, add the garland.

Silver and gold are common garland styles, but here are some other types of garland to consider:

  • Pinecone
  • Glitter fern
  • Winterberry
  • Redberry
  • Tinsel

6. Add Your Ornaments

This is the perfect opportunity for your creativity to shine! There’s a wide variety of ornaments, from colored balls to hand-crafted baubles. Consider starting with larger ones to fill any gaps.

You may also want to decide on a theme ahead of time. This can help you pick out which ornaments to use. You may even draw inspiration from elements already on the tree, such as your ribbons.

When examining different sections of your tree, consider whether you want the colors to match or contrast. Try placing larger baubles in the center to create more depth.

To make your tree even more personalized, consider homemade baubles. This can also be a fun bonding experience with your family.

Here are some easy-to-make ornament ideas to get you started:

  • Mini Santa sleigh
  • Clothespin ornament
  • Felt Olaf from “Frozen”
  • Unicorn ornament
  • Walnut Rudolph

If you’re not too crafty, consider shopping at Etsy for unique ornaments. Also, think about adding any extra elements, like flowers, to make your tree shine.

7. Add a Tree Topper

The last step is to add a tree topper! Gold stars or angels are classic toppers, but you can certainly choose one that fits into your overall design.

Here are some classic designs to consider:

  • Snowflake
  • Bow
  • Poinsettia
  • Crown
  • Gingerbread

Also, placing a bow on top creates a classy style and complements your other decor. Here are the steps to creating your bow:

  1. Make a loop.
  2. Make a figure-eight.
  3. Fill out the bow.
  4. Make the central loop.
  5. Fasten your loops together.
  6. Make the streamers.

Tips to Decorating a Christmas Tree Step-by-Step

Decorating your tree can be a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. No matter your design style, follow these step-by-step instructions to decorate your Christmas tree successfully. So turn up those Christmas tunes and get started!

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