How to Decorate a Christmas Tree Tutorial

Decorate a Christmas Tree

I love decorating my Christmas tree.  In fact I love it so much I usually decorate 5 Christmas trees.

One in the living room, family room and each of the three kid bedrooms.    I often have friends ask me how I decorate my tree.  Some years I even have an audience because they want to watch me do it.  I put them to work though!  They get to help fluff and hand me things.

So I thought I’d share with all of you how I decorate my tree.  I know for many of you this will be too late for this year but if you like you can pin it for next year.

We have an artificial tree.  I realize that is a bit sacrilegious here in the beautiful, evergreen full Northwest but I got tired of trying to find the perfect tree each year and then having to string it with lights.  The lights became my job when I realized my husband thought one string of lights should be enough to cover the whole tree.

The thing I love most about my artificial tree is that the lights are already on it except this year when half of them decided not to work.  Due to husband’s eye surgery he was unable to help so I had to deal with it.  Let’s just say I was not a happy camper!  The tree almost ended up out on the curb and there might have been some ranting and raving going on but where there is a will there is a way and I got it figured out.  Let’s just say you really should unplug the lights before you decide to cut them off the tree!!

So today I am going to share with you how I decorate my Christmas trees.  If you have any helpful tips or ideas please leave them in the comments.  Of course questions are welcome too!

I do have to say that the biggest trick to having a beautiful, full tree is having a lot of stuff to put on the tree.  But even if you don’t have a lot you can still have a lovely tree and remember I’ve been collecting stuff for thirty years!  After Christmas sales are a great way to grow that collection.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree Tutorial

Step One:  After setting up the tree and lights are added make sure you fluff (this only applies to an artificial tree)  The branches have gotten smooshed while its been packed away so fluff those little branches!

Step Two:  I like to add some “filler” garlands into my tree.  I push them back towards the center and it helps add depth and fill up any big “empty” spaces you may have.  Especially on a live tree where the branches may not be perfectly even.  I have 3 of these on my tree.  My tree is 7.5 feet (we have low ceilings).  They are each about four feet long.

I just push them into the tree.

Step Three:  I don’t just put ornaments on my tree.  I have quite a bit of other decor such as flowers and fruit swags.

I just insert these fruit swags on to the branches.  Just push them in. Be sure and step back occasionally to make sure that you are placing them evenly throughout the tree.

I then add in my flowers.  I have about 20 poinsettia flowers that I add into my tree – again placing them evenly throughout the tree.

Here is what the tree looks like with the garlands, fruit swags and flowers in it.

It’s pretty just the way it is but we have about 130 ornaments to put on yet!

Step Four:  Hang the ornaments

As you can see alot of my ornaments are the same color – red.  But you will notice they are different shapes.  I love having different shape ornaments.  Ornaments do not all need to be round!  I also like varying the size.  I always lay my ornaments out of the floor first grouping them together by type (large, small, color, shape etc.)

No matter how careful I am there is always one or two that end up like this…

I have a small collection of larger ornaments.  I call them my “statement” ornaments.  They go on the tree first.  I put one group of ornaments on at a time.  That way I can make sure they are evenly distributed around the tree.

For hanging the ornaments I do two different things.  If there is a string on the ornament, and it is a pretty string I will use it.

But I don’t like the strings hanging down so I wrap the string around the branch like this….

On ornaments that don’t have strings I do not use wire ornament hooks.  I make my own out of green pipe cleaners.  They blend right in with the branches and they are so easy to just wrap over the branch.

Again, keep stepping back to make sure the ornaments are evenly distributed.

I just work my way through all the different groups of ornaments.

Be sure to tuck the ornaments back into the branches too – don’t just hang them on the ends of the branches.

Step Five: Insert final filler.  After all the branches are on I have a few more pieces of “filler.”  Things I stick into the tree in any empty space I might have.

I bought these fun new filler pieces this year at Joannes.  Got them in gold and red. I love how they drap down the tree.

Step Six:  Decorate the top of the tree.  I make a bouquet out of some of my filler pieces, flowers and fruit swags to create a bouquet to insert into the top of my tree.  I tie it all together with a piece of ribbon and some wire.

This step definitely requires a ladder for me!
Step Seven:  Put on the tree skirt.  I don’t use a traditional tree skirt.  I have some gold mesh type fabric that I like to just tuck underneath the tree.  Costco is carrying something similar this year.

Step Eight:  The final step is to turn on the lights, step back and enjoy!

Any tips or tricks for me?

Enjoy!

Leigh Anne

You can also visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Karen says:

    Beautiful and so helpful! Thanks…that will get me going!!

    • 1.1
      Jody Hepworth says:

      The only thing that makes my decorating easier is that my husband made me a 24″ lazy susan out of granite 3cm. I set my tree on it and as I put my lights on someone else turns the tree and I stand still. It works great!

  2. 2
    Susan P says:

    Your tree is beautiful….well done.

  3. 3
    Kay Coger says:

    Your tree is beautiful! Thank you for the tips. I will certainly use these to take my tree to a new level! I have a 9ft tree that would definitely benefit with “fillers”.

    Kay

  4. 4
    Ashley says:

    Your tree is beautiful but it’s a bit much for us. I love fun and whimsical trees and all the fun ornaments the boys put on the tree. We only do one tree so we don’t go all we just let the boys decorate the tree and I don’t like garland or anything on ours. I put garland through out the house.

    Your tree looks so pretty, just like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine. Amazing job! Maybe once our boys are older I can have two trees. Thank you for the fabulous tutorial.

  5. 5
    Tamara H. says:

    WOW! Beautiful tree and lots of great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6
    Emily says:

    Gorgeous! You do such an awesome job. This year, I had had surgery – bunion removed – so I was the one who could not help with decorating. Well, I put the hooks on the ornaments…
    Emily recently posted..Turning Regrets Into Rejoicing

  7. 7
    Mariel says:

    Love it, Leigh Anne!! I never thought of all the additional stuffings…very cool!
    Mariel recently posted..Mariel’s Picks 2012 ~ Stocking Stuffers for the Whole Family

  8. 8
    Kimberly Day says:

    What a beautiful tree! Thank you for sharing.

  9. 9
    Marm says:

    Great tips and a beautiful tree.

  10. 10
    Trisha says:

    Beautiful tree and great ideas! I love the green pipe cleaner idea.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to change the subject, but I also LOVE your painting in the background!! Is that Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable? It’s one of my favorites. My husband is a BYU professor and we did a London study abroad and that’s one of the cathedrals we went to see. We had another painting from the same artist in our flat.

    • 10.1
      Mary Anne Best says:

      Trisha – I’m Leigh Anne’s mom. I love the Salisbury Cathedral one of my favorite places in England. John Constable is also one of my favorite artists. Have you read Edward Rutherfurd’s book “Sarum” it’s lengthy but fascinating.

      • 10.1.1
        Trisha says:

        Thanks! I will look for ‘Sarum’ at the library:)

        • Trisha says:

          Wow! I just looked it up on Amazon and it DOES look fascinating:) I’m definitely going to read it. One thing they say it discusses are the Barrows…burial sites. You can see these all around Stone Henge. Just little hills or mounds, but knowing what they actually were made them interesting. Thanks again!

    • 10.2
      Leigh Anne says:

      Trisha – looks like my mom answered your question that yes it is! My daughter Tessa just got accepted into the BYU London/Theater study abroad program for Spring term. I’m saving my pennies so I can go over and join her at the end and I hope to visit Salisbury Cathedral while I am there!

      • 10.2.1
        Trisha says:

        What an amazing experience for your daughter! London is a great place for theater:) We were just in the “normal” study abroad program, but saw many plays. We saw the theater study abroad students at church every week. They were in our ward that meets near Hyde Park.

        I don’t think Salisbury Cathedral is far from Stone Henge…if I remember correctly. Within an hour?? England is so cool! I hope you have a great time.

  11. 11
    Tiffany says:

    Your tree is beautiful! I do something similar that you do with the green pipe cleaner except I use green floral wire. :) Merry Christmas

  12. 12
    Liberty says:

    Wow! It’s my husband and I’s first Christmas and it was quite the ordeal to decorate our little tree. I really figured out Pinterest because I wanted some tips on how to make a skeletal artificial tree look more full and beautiful.
    I’ll be scouring all the craft stores after Christmas for next year!

    PS: I love BYU! Graduated 3 years ago myself :)

  13. 13
    Jana says:

    That is the most beautiful tree ever!! I never would have thought of the garland, fruit, fillers and such! Can’t wait til next year so I can try some of your ideas!! Thanks!
    Jana recently posted..Christmas Goodies! (and my favorite Christmas show)

  14. 14
    Jessica says:

    At our house we have “my tree” and the “family tree” as well.

    My tree (also 7.5 feet) is a bit over the top as well. I start with ribbon (4 spools of a green and 4 spools of red), then add flowers – filler – twiggy things – etc. , then I add a santa (he is about 3 feet and sits tucked into the branches, then add my 175 ornaments making sure I get some tucked back into the branches so the lights can dance off them, and top it all similar to yours.

    I just love having a fancy tree to go with a “charlie brown” tree that has the ornaments created with lots of love.

  15. 15
    Emily says:

    You and I have the same idea of what lights on a Christmas tree should be. If I had my way, I would add more to the pre-lit tree we have. Such a pretty tree!!

  16. 16
    Tylor says:

    This is my partner and my first Christmas and we have VERY different ideas on what a tree should look like. He prefers a very colorful tree with multi color lights, bows, and several colors of bulbs. I on the other hand prefer a more traditional tree with darker reds, greens, and gold tones and simple ornaments. The house we bought has room for five trees and we each took two with the agreement that the one in the family room will be done by the both of us. So the room will have a fourteen foot tree that is pre lit already with clear (and multi color lights that will never be used). So my question is what kind of ornaments and style/thyme should I do that will make both of us happy? I also have no clue how many ornaments this should take since it will be in the center of the room and will be seen from all sides. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

  17. 17
    Flor says:

    I love this tutorial, even do I might not have to buy all that I looks so pretty and the tutorial is so helpful for me, thank you so much.

  18. 18
    rebecca says:

    So beautiful!! Wish my Christmas tree would turn out like this!!

  19. 19
    Joe P says:

    that is a beautiful tree and you definitely have kept me from hiring a tree decorator. thanks ma’am.

  20. 20

    I LOVE it! We do a mix of real and fake. Although I don’t think our big fake guy made the move. (We ran out of space on the truck and started giving all our stuff away!) We’re excited to check out a Christmas tree farm this year but I’m bummed that Thanksgiving is sooo late.
    Aubrey @ Real Housemoms recently posted..{Leftover} Mashed Potato Puffs

  21. 21
    joyce says:

    Leigh Ann, Beautiful tree. Just bought a house in South Carolina and it will be our first Christmas there. I will be getting a 7,5′ tree with lights, but I will probably add more.. Love the idea of adding fruit , flowers and fillers. I always try to find ways to fill them, now I know how.
    Thank you for the tutorial, very helpful and creative.

  22. 22
    Lyn says:

    I have the same beaded fruit on my tree! Got it 15 yrs ago on qvc.

  23. 23
    Jamie says:

    I just wanted to thank you for being very specific, it helps a great deal. Growing up I didn’t have the greatest childhood, so when I had children I always envisioned me how decorated like in holiday movies. While I have gotten close, each year I try to get better and better. Do you have any advice on hanging lights? Thank you again, your tree is absolutely gorgeous!

    • 23.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      My advice for lights is use a lot and be sure and get them into the center of the tree too – not just on the outside edges.

    • 23.2
      Shelly says:

      We use a LOT of lights and on our artificial tree and kind of wrapped the lights around the branches of the tree to mimic pre-lit trees. It usually comes out great!!

  24. 24
    Julianne says:

    Hi was wondering where you found your fruit sliced ornaments, I have been looking all over with no luck!!

  25. 25
    Kim says:

    Wow, I decorate my tree I. Almost the same way, with the same type of ornaments. When you decorate them like this the look like the trees you see in the department stores during Christmas. In addition to my real gifts I place under my tree, I also wrap empty boxes in red and gold shinney Christmas wrapping paper and place them under the tree for a full look.

  26. 26
    Kim says:

    I forgot to say that your tree is very pretty. Since you do five trees I think I am going to put one in my bedroom, in the corner. Great idea. Thanks!

  27. 27
    Liz says:

    You do a great job! I friend and I are Christmas junkies, we look all year for Christmas stuff. We started attending a “Yule School” which taught us how to decorate tress. This company sold the coolest stuff, but went out of business. We are lucky enough to have to have Ralph Jones Christmas store, who decorates for all the hotels here in Las Vegas, NV.

    One thing we were taught was always buy and use things in odd numbers. We also use “Stick ins” which you are using flowers etc. I have my stick out more. I wish I could send you a picture of some of my Christmas decorations….

  28. 28
    Katherine says:

    I have an artificial tree as well. I fluff each branch before I put it on. Once I get a whole row, or level, of branches on I add the lights. I start at the end of the branch closest the trunk and then weave over and under each little twig toward the tip and then go back toward the trunk the same way. This really hides the wire of the lights. I do each layer of branches this way so I never have to shove my arms between those scratchy branches. Ouch!

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