I have been decorating a Christmas tree since I was little. I assumed everyone had but then one day when it came to my kids decorating their own trees, I realized they had not paid attention. They didn’t know the steps of how to decorate a Christmas tree.

In all fairness, they were pretty young but rather than think it through they just jumped right in and began putting ornaments on here and there. What about the lights? What about garlands?

The other consideration is that you may be new to decorating a Christmas tree because you didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas or maybe you moved from a country where you didn’t decorate a tree, etc.

So if you are that person, here is my handy dandy guide to decorating a Christmas tree.

Christmas tree with dough bowl, candles and round ornaments

One more thing before we get started, today I am part of a blog hop that Wendy of WM Design House is hosting. Thank you Wendy! If you are coming on over from Kim’s blog, Cottage in the Mitten, Welcome. Weren’t Kim’s tips of how to decorate a traditional tree excellent? If you haven’t checked her out just click this link.

Materials needed

  • a real or faux Christmas tree
  • tree skirt or collar
  • if you are using a real tree, you will need a good stand that allows you to fill it with water and you will also need a watering can because it is important to keep the tree watered at all times
  • if your faux tree is not lit, you will need lots of string lights
  • garlands or ribbon of your choice
  • floral, berry, evergreen or glittery pics
  • a variety of different sized ornaments
  • tree topper – angel, star, etc. My son found the cutest snowman head this year.

The Tree

If you choose a faux tree, think of it as a long time purchase and get the best quality tree you can. We have had cheap trees and the branches fall off, the lights stop working, there are large gaps between branches, etc.

The best tree I have ever had is the King of Christmas, Queen, flocked and lit tree that we got this year. It is so good, it can be bare and looks amazing. The branches are so realistic and the flocking is done properly so it too looks natural. If you are interested in finding out more about this tree, just click here.

King of Christmas 9ft Christmas tree and lit

Color Schemes

The best looking trees are created with a well thought out color scheme. It is best to consider your style of furniture and decor and present color schemes happening in the room that the tree will be situated in and then pick something that will coordinate well with those elements.

Some lovely color schemes beyond red and green are:

  • Navy and gold
  • Purple and champagne
  • Teal
  • Emerald green
  • Black and silver or black and gold
  • Light blue and cream
  • Copper
  • matte browns
  • blush and cream
  • naturals or neutrals

It is also a good idea to search around early in the season to see what catches your eye and buy early because the best usually get picked over quickly.

Below are three versions of our tree this year. The first tree is all decorated in natural elements. If you would like more details on this version, click this link.

The middle tree is adorned in all of our keepsake ornaments that we have collected over the years and even the ones that my mom has passed down to me. This is such a special tree. If you would like to learn about all these special ornaments, click this link for the post.

The last tree is bright, cheery and traditional all in red with big red bells.

So one tree, with three looks!

Natural decorations on a flocked tree
Flocked Christmas tree decorated with emerald green in front of fireplace
Flocked tree with red and black ribbon

Ornaments

When picking ornaments, pick ornaments of all different sizes as this creates interest. When hanging the ornaments, always tuck some deep inside the branches. I like to make sure these are near a light so that you still see them.

It is also nice to pick up a few more expensive and higher quality ones each year to add to your collection.

Red bell ornament with evergreens, pinecones and jute ribbon
Vintage Christmas Glass Bells
Glass ornament with white and red swirls

If your style is vintage, make sure to attend estate sales, garage sales and second hand stores. Keep an eye on facebook marketplace too. Also see if any of the vintage or second hand stores have a “wish list” where you can place you name, contact and what it is you are hoping to find so that they call you when something comes in.

The steps of decorating

Step 1 – Collar

If you are using a tree collar, the time to place it is right at the beginning. If you are using a tree skirt, it will be the last thing you place.

Farm Fresh Christmas Tree wood tree collar
Step 2 – Lights

If your tree is pre-lit skip this step.

If not, then first check to make sure all the lights are working and replace any burnt out bulbs.

Starting at the base, weave the lights in from the trunk of the tree out onto each branch, looping back and forth. It is important to get the lights right into the center of the tree. Work your way all the way up the tree.

Step 3 – Garlands or Ribbon

Garlands and ribbon can be applied in a variety of ways. One way is to start with the garlands at the very top and swirl them down like on May day. You can also swoop them up and down horizontally around the tree.

Red and white pom pom garland
Red and black plaid ribbon on a Christmas tree

Ribbon is the same but one the best ways is to tuck them far into the tree and the puff them out and around and back into the tree, kind of like speed bumps on a road. Here is an example. Make sure to roll up the ends and then let them fall so that they drape down attractively.

Step 4 – Floral, berry, evergreen or glittery picks

The next bests step is to add your picks because they are quite large and take up a lot of space. Count up how many picks you have and space them throughout your tree from side to side and top to bottom.

Red glittery floral pic on Christmas tree
Step 5 – Ornaments

I always start with my favorite and most sentimental ornaments first and find places of honour for them so that you can always see them.

Next start with the largest ornaments first and work down to the smallest. Place them on the tips of the branches and deep into the branches for interest.

I always places glittery or translucent ornaments in front of lights so that the lights shine through.

Christmas tree with Snowman head on top

Step 6 – Tree Topper

Whatever you may choose as your tree topper, star, angel, snowflake, snowman, floral or glittery picks it is time to secure it at the top.

Snowman head as a topper on a Christmas tree
Copper angel on top of a Christmas tree
Twig star with snowman on top of a Christmas tree
Step 7 – Tree Skirt

Now that everything is on the tree, sweep up any evergreen needles, flocking or anything else that has fallen down. Once it is clean then you can add your tree skirt. I don’t place it at the beginning because so much usually falls off of the tree and then you will need to shake out your tree skirt.

Christmas tree in front of window with a lake view

Time to Enjoy!

Now all this is left to do is sit back and enjoy!

Christmas tree with red and black ribbon and ornaments with presents underneath and a big Santa bag full of presents

Next up on the hop…

Next up on the hop is Tammy from White Lilac Farmhouse. Tammy is just the sweetest person and her tips on how to decorate naturally for the season are fantastic. Be sure to check her out by clicking this link.

Below is a graphic will all of the designers and links to their Christmas tree posts.

Pretty Christmas Decor Inspiration

Below are pictures of some great decor I found through Walmart that I thought you might enjoy. The prices are fantastic. Should you decide to purchase any of these, I will earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Red and white striped stockings
Joy white and red pillow

Red and white striped stockings $11.98 each

Joy pillow $8.84

Red cable knit throw
King size white and red snowflake duvet set

Red cable knit throw (50″ x 60″) $18.88

White and red snowflake 6 piece duvet set (King size) $48.74

Merry and bright art work
Reindeer door mat

Merry and Bright Wall Art $41.29

Holiday Reindeer Coir Doormat, 30″ x 48″ $43.98

What do you think?

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16 Comments
  • Missy
    December 17, 2022

    Great post, Crystal! You lay out the steps so well. And, I love seeing your Christmas trees! So fun to hop with you. Now we just need to sit by our trees and enjoy them!

    • Crystal
      December 17, 2022

      Isn’t that the truth. I just have the greenhouse to do and then that’s it for me. I can tell I am fading.

  • Kim
    December 17, 2022

    Your trees are so beautiful! You are right about our kids never really paying attention to the process. So nice hopping with you. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

    • Crystal
      December 17, 2022

      Thanks so much Kim! It was wonderful seeing your tree and special ornaments. So happy to hop along with you!

  • Kim
    December 17, 2022

    Crystal, your trees are all so lovely! I love seeing your gorgeous creativity! Merry Christmas!

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Merry Christmas Kim! Thanks so much!

  • Wendy McMonigle
    December 17, 2022

    Your trees are all so beautiful, Crystal. Love the red and black color scheme, so fun. I also adored your first winter tree and really found it to be so beautiful.

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks so much Wendy! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family!

  • Susan
    December 17, 2022

    A great post filled with lots of excellent ideas and tips Crystal. I love the King of Christmas tree you’ve picked. Beautifully decorated with lots of lovely details. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks so much Susan! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! All the best in 2023!

  • Kristy Mastrandonas
    December 17, 2022

    Oh my goodness, I love all of your beautiful Christmas trees, Crystal! Your home looks so beautiful and holiday ready! Fabulous Christmas tree decorating tips too!

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks so much Kristy! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  • Tammy
    December 19, 2022

    Such a pretty tree, Crystal. Love the different tree topper options

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks Tammy! It is so fun to change things up!

  • Diane
    December 19, 2022

    Crystal, Your tree is beyond — and three times beyond! And your setting, I’d never tire of that view. I look fir it in every one of your posts. It is just spectacular as is your home,.

    It wqs fun to hop with you. Hope you and yours enjoy a fabulous Christmas and New Years!

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks Diane! Regarding your comment regarding the view – I will keep that in mind for future posts. I always think maybe people get tired of me showing certain things over and over but I am learning people love seeing the view. So fun to hop along with you!