We are all starting to put up the Christmas tree. How can you take your tree from so-so to spectacular? It’s certainly not how much $ you spend on the decorations. It’s not necessarily the height of your tree… There are simple steps to take your tree from so-so to spectacular. This week’s Be Your Own Designer tip… 7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree. Whether your tree is a table-top 18" hi tree, or 18' like the one above, these steps work every time.
1. SET UP & FLUFF UP. Of course we all set up the tree. We make sure it’s well situated and make any structural adjustments to ensure stability. That part is obvious. But the fluff up part is something we tend to rush, and it’s an important step. If you have an artificial tree take your time to really fluff out the branches. Move some of the bendable branches up, AND push some branches downward as well. By fluffing out each and every branch, you make the tree look fuller and more natural.
2. LET THERE BE LIGHT. In fact, lots of light. I love light (and not just because my name is Alana Light.) If you have a pre-lit tree… great! But feel free to add more lights.
My general rule of thumb is 100 lights per vertical foot. In other words, a 9’ tree can have 900 lights. I’ve been known to add as many as 1200+ lights to a 9’ tree. If in doubt, add more light. As a friend said, "It's not done until the tree can be seen by the Hubble Space Station!"
3. RIBBONS & SPARKLE. Wired ribbon, ropes of beads, pearls, popcorn, pompoms whatever you like to use, this is step 3. Many people put the ribbon on later in the process, but after 30 years of decorating trees, I’ve found that adding the ribbon now is easier in the long run. Don’t just wrap it around the outside like you’re wrapping a burrito with saran wrap.
Whether you prefer a horizontal look or vertical ribbon pattern, weave the ribbon in and out of the branches, tucking the ribbon about ½ way back into the tree. How much do you use? A typical 9’ tree would take 3 rolls of ribbon (that’s 30 yards). Buy more than you think you need, and you can use the extra to coordinate the packages with the ribbon that matches the tree. Ooh – you’re starting to get the designer look already.
Next up... the real fun begins.
4. LARGE ELEMENTS FIRST. Have you ever gone to the Dallas market with acres of Christmas trees? Have you ever seen the tree at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego? You’ll notice that designer trees have larger scale décor elements. We’re talking bigger ornaments here. The taller your tree, the bigger the ornaments you can use. It doesn’t have to cost you very much.
BONUS: BUDGET ORNAMENT. You can easily make twine ornaments around a 9” balloon. Dip the twine in mod podge mixed with glitter. Just like papier-mâché, wrap the twine around the balloon. Once dry, pop the balloon & viola… a beautiful, perfectly scaled large ornament that costs next to nothing to make.
Large scale ornaments really make the tree look like you hired a designer to do it. Now we're on a roll. What's next?
5. MEDIUM & SMALL ORNAMENTS NEXT.
These go on the outer edges of the branches. Now it’s really coming together but we’re not through yet.
Ready for the surprise factor many people overlook?
6. ADD FILLER for FUN. What do I mean by filler? Sprays of berries. Sprays of curly cue’s. Giant bows you can make easily or buy pre-made. Any of those pics you can find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby will do. They don’t cost a lot but wow –do they really fill in those holes. Anywhere you can still see wires or the tree trunk, fill in with filler. When you’re adding the filler, keep stepping back from the tree, to make sure you’ve got a balance and you’ve filled in all the holes with filler.
Last but not least.... drum roll please....
7. ADD UNEXPECTED JOY to the tree. For the first national bank tree on the plaza, we added Santa Clause & his elves to the tree. For a family with young kiddo’s, maybe a giant Santa hat as the tree topper. For a music lover, it might be your first trumpet you played in Jr. high… I want you to always smile when you see your Christmas tree… and that’s the key – add something that brings *you* joy.
7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree! Happy decorating.
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