Whether you’re pulling your smushed artificial Christmas tree out of a box or buying a live one whose branches are naturally – not perfectly – arrayed, decorating can help make up for any deficiencies.
Here are some tips from the pros for decorating the Christmas tree, from the tips to the top.
Reilly recommends starting the light strings in the center of the tree and weaving them out each branch, then back toward the center. That way, the center of the tree will be lighted for a fuller effect.
There’s no rule that says a tree has to have just one kind of light. Combining two kinds — say, miniature twinkling white lights and steady-burning colored C7 bulbs — can produce a festive effect.
And don’t skimp. “The more lights, the better,” said interior designer Christine Haught of Bath Township, Ohio.
Sabrina Soto, Target’s home style expert and an HGTV designer, recommends allotting at least 100 bulbs for every foot of height.
A lighted garland can go far in filling empty space on a thin tree, Soto says, and creates an even warmer glow.
Set aside the large ball-shaped ornaments. We’ll get to those in a minute.
Now look at what’s left. Chances are you’ll see some ornaments you don’t really love, Haught said. If you have an emotional attachment to them, keep them for use on the back of the tree. If not, weed them out to be taken to a consignment shop or donated to a thrift shop.
If you don’t have those large ball ornaments, Haught suggests buying some. In fact, buy orbs that go with the colors in your room, she said. They’ll tie your tree into your decor and give it more of a designer look.
Stick with no more than three colors for this interior layer, she said. She uses mercury glass, cream and white orbs on her tree, but choose whatever you like.
Just don’t be afraid to go big — 4 inches across at the very least. “The bigger the better for the inside of the tree,” Haught said
Then finish with the smaller ornaments.
Look around you house for things that might make unusual decorations — your grandmother’s wooden spoon, a restaurant matchbook saved from a special dinner, your child’s baby rattle, a framed wedding photo. Photos and paper goods such as children’s artwork can be copied, resized and laminated, if you like.
You can also get creative and make ornaments that tell your story, Reilly said. For someone who’s musically inclined, for example, fold sheet music into fans and glue on ribbon and holly. For someone whose hobby is calligraphy, glue pens poised on pads of paper.
“The glue gun is your best friend,” Reilly said.
Add ribbons for hanging.
Or use a large, multi-bow ribbon at the top of the tree with ribbon streamers hanging down for a finishing touch.
Make the topper airy, not compact, Reilly said. It should balance the size of the tree and give it a finished quality.
Contributing: Associated Press