I love the holidays. Aside from the mad rush at retail stores, this is the time of year where even advertisers show their softer more caring sides. With Thanksgiving behind us, many look forward to Christmas and all of its glitz and glory. It is another reason to bring everyone you care about together to reflect on yet another year that has passed.
It is 81 degrees here in Miami Beach right now, which continues to throw my holiday clock for a loop. I step outside and sometimes forget that Christmas is less than 4 weeks away. But then I enter my home and see the nutcrackers and lights decorating my buffet. And I see my tree shining ever-so-brightly in my living room. It is the best reminder that Christmas is indeed near.
I’ve seen quite a few Christmas trees in my day. In decorating my own, I’ve learned that there is an art to putting together the perfect Christmas tree. It takes imagination, patience and a true love for the holiday to get your Christmas tree absolutely right.
So today, I share with you my 12 Essential Tips for the Perfect Christmas Tree. These tips will help you put together a stunning embodiment of all things Christmas, from when to buy and how to light your tree to how you choose and hang your ornaments. By following these essential tips, you will enjoy decorating your tree now more than ever before.
Purchase your tree after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Christmas trees should be meaningful. They should be a beautiful reminder of the Christmas holiday. When you buy your tree too early, you do what so many stores do — you trample over a holiday that focuses on giving thanks for what you already have. Let the purchase of your tree be a warm, nostalgic, defining point in time. In addition to sentimentality, logistically-speaking, your Christmas tree won’t last forever. Purchasing it too early increases your chances of having a tree that dries out before Christmas day.
It might not have been cool for Baby, but you should put your tree in a corner.
Corners of rooms work great for the placement of Christmas trees. This will allow you to see the tree from every angle in the room itself. Make sure the corner you choose is one that you face the most when you are sitting in the room, leaving enough space between the tree and the nearby furniture so you can walk around it.
Start decorating your tree with the tree topper first.
Your tree topper should be the prettiest ornament on your tree. While placing the topper on your tree can signify the finality of decorating, it can also result in you accidentally knocking ornaments off the branches you encounter (especially if the tree’s height requires you to stand on a ladder).
Use 100 lights for every foot of tree height.
When deciding on how many strings of lights you need, it is best to know the height of your tree first. For every foot your tree stands, you should have at least 100 lights to string. This will ensure that every part of your tree glows as it should.
Use the over-under method when lighting your tree.
When placing your lights on your tree, weave the lights over and under the branches. As you weave, gently push some of the lights deeper into the tree toward the trunk. This will ensure that your tree shines from within as well as from its branches, strengthening and evening out its luminance.
Decide on a 2-color scheme for your tree.
For a truly elegant tree, less is more when it comes to deciding on what color ornaments (i.e. decorative balls, ribbons, bows, etc..) to purchase for decorating your tree. There are so many options to choose from, and it is here where showing restraint is key. By limiting yourself to 2 colors, you create a visual theme for your tree. Those colors should coincide with your tree’s topper, which is another reason why it is great to start decorating the tree by placing the tree topper on it first.
Use every part of your tree’s branches when hanging ornaments.
Instinct usually has us going for the tip of a branch when we are about to hang a decorative ball or other ornament. There is, however, a balance that we should have when placing our ornaments on our trees. Hang your ornaments both on the tips of the branches as well as deeper into the tree toward the trunk. This will give your tree depth. It will also enable you to make up for any empty spots your tree might have. Larger, heavier ornaments should always be placed deeper onto the branch, as they will have a better chance of remaining in the tree and off the ground.
Splurge on only a handful of expensive ornaments.
While we may come across countless ornaments that can potentially break the bank, it is always a good thing to save money where we can. Ornaments like decorative balls can be purchased for cheap. Buy enough to have them hanging every 6-8 inches from one another and accent them with your special more expensive and meaningful decorations. You will find your eye will be instantly drawn to what you want everyone to notice against the backdrop of everything else.
Consider unifying decorative accents like ribbons and bows.
There are going to be quite a few ornaments on your tree. A stunning finishing touch is having one or two decorations that are uniform with one another. When I see ribbons and bows, I think of presents. Your tree is as much a gift as anything you buy and wrap. If you decide to use ribbons and bows, make sure the color of your ribbon is all the same and your bows are the same as well. Multi-colored ribbons and bows will make your tree look too busy. While your ribbon does not have to be the same color as your bows, reverting back to your color scheme will dictate what colors these accents should be.
Use the Christmas cards you get as additional decorations for your tree.
My favorite decorations are the ones I get in the mail from friends and family. Christmas cards that my husband and I receive go into the tree as we get them. They are colorful and add a warm personal touch. It gives me the sense that all of my loved ones are with me during the holiday, regardless of where I may find myself living that year. And when it is time for the tree to come down, I pack them away with the rest of your decorations. The following year, I go through them again to relive the memories. This is also a great way to help you remember who sent you a card during the previous holiday season.
Get a real tree.
Now I know this is easier said. If it is at all possible, purchase a real tree for your Christmas holiday. Even if you have to go to Home Depot to buy one, there is something so precious about the tree-buying process. It is that moment you know that Christmas is coming, and it is another opportunity for you to create a tradition with your family and friends. Beyond that, the smell of pine will fill your home, tickling your senses, reminding you even further of what time of year it is. And on a basic level, they just look so much better than the artificial ones.
Have fun every step of the way!
“It is the most wonderful time of the year.” That is how the song goes, and it’s right! Start off your holiday season with people that you adore. Surround yourself with reasons to smile and laugh. And don’t forget what Christmas is all about. It’s about celebrating family, friendship and love.