By Hallmark Writer on November 30, 2023

It’s time to get lit, people! That’s right, December is upon us and it’s time to talk about trees, Christmas trees that is. You probably already know where you’re going to put it at least (and have possibly begun rearranging the furniture to make space for it), you may even already have your tree ready to go (especially if you’ve gone for a faux fir) and now it’s time to decide on your festive look!

Whether it’s your first tree or you’ve been building up that bauble collection for a while, we’ve got a sackful of festive tips tricks and styling suggestions to help your tree become a vision of festive fabulousness this Christmas.

1. How to Decide on Your Christmas Tree Theme: Find Your Festive Joy!

Before you start skipping around the Garden Centre collecting aallll the pretty shiny things (don’t pretend like you don’t), ask yourself one simple question: How do you want your Christmas tree to make you feel? 

You’re probably thinking, “Well, happy, duh! Now, let’s get on with it?”

But hang on a mo’! Let’s think a little bit more about this happy feeling you’re after. Are we talking calm and tranquil, peace on earth happy with a gentle glow or are you after something more merry and bright, with all the colours of Christmas? Think about the kind of happy vibes you need from this tree: 

  • Are you after a tree that will make you feel nostalgic for your childhood or past Christmases? Something that gives you that “simpler times” feeling? Think tinsel, multi-coloured lights and retro ornaments, whether that means awesome charity shop finds or treasured family heirlooms from your parents or grandparents.
  • Maybe you want your tree to be filled with festive fun. You could go for quirky character ornaments, or add paper or lace snowflakes, tuck elves or snowmen amongst the branches or add brightly coloured giftboxes, complete with sweet treats and surprises.
  • Maybe you’d prefer something more classic—how about using a more muted festive palette with highlights of gold, silver or platinum? Or you can pick just one or two colours for your tree to give a more elegant and sophisticated feel.
  • Do you like your tree to have a warm subtle glow or trees with lighting that could double for a 90’s rave?
  • Do you like unexpected and random elements in your tree, or do you prefer to stick to more traditional festive style? 

Basically, what’s your vibe? Once you decide on your kind of happy, you can figure out if you want a tree that looks clean, crisp and minimalist or one that’s filled with all the lights, baubles and ornaments you can cram on there (or somewhere in between the two). 

Remember, your tree is your statement of joy. Make it however you want to.

So, whether your inspiration comes from the natural world or from Christmas shop windows and seasonal catalogues, from the virtual world or real life, focus on what feels good to you and create your own fabulous festive vision. 

2. Important Safety Tip: Secure Your Tree

If you have little children, climbing pets or even just a clumsy partner or spouse, it’s worth considering some additional measures to secure your tree. Weighting your tree down with something heavy on the base to hold it steady and keep it from tipping over is a worthwhile step to keep your family safer and your Christmas unspoiled.

If you have a smallish tree (5 feet and under) you could consider putting it on a pedestal of some sort and tethering it to the wall the way you would a TV or chest of drawers to protect both it and any tiny climbers! But if you have a taller tree, weights of some sort around the base are definitely a good idea. And don’t worry—we have a few ideas for how to camouflage your tree base stylishly too.

Pro tip: Fluff! Now that you’ve got your tree installed, make sure you set it up for success. If you have a live tree, give the branches a day or so to settle so that you can see the positive and negative spaces you have to work with. 

If you’ve gone with a fake tree, pull the branches out and spend some time pulling the needles away from the branches and toward you, working in a v-formation, so that everything looks more natural.

3. Lighting Your Christmas Tree: Let there be lights!  

Lights are key to creating your perfect Christmas tree design. They create the mood and the magic of Christmas, and they come in all shapes, sizes, types of bulbs and even different degrees of warmth or coolness for your tree. 

In fact, there are so many possible variations that it can get a little overwhelming.

But here are some basics… 

Make sure you have enough lights. 

A reasonable rule of thumb is to have roughly 100 lights per 2ft of tree. So, if you’ve got a 6-foot tree, around 300 lights should do for a decent glow. But go ahead and experiment to discover what works best for you, depending on the location of your tree, your desired lighting effect, the type of tree and even the spacing of lights on the strings you’re using, the actual numbers can vary quite a bit.

If your tree is unlit, decide if you want to add white lights, multi-coloured ones or a mix. 

If you’ve got little ones at home, coloured lights are a guaranteed hit. Whether you go for retro style static lights, LED bubble lights, multi-function regular-size bulbs or tiny twinkling fairy lights there are designs for all tastes. And layering on a few different ones can make an even more colourful and magical mix.

But if the golden glow of warm white or the icy shimmer of cool white lights brings you peace and joy, then go for it. And add as many lights as feel right.

And if your tree is pre-lit, you still have choices—this is just the starting point.

Now some fake trees have just one type of lights, some may be static, some may have multi-function options and some may even have both types of light, allowing you to alternate between white and multi-coloured or turn both on at the same time. Whichever version you select, you may be entirely satisfied with the festive light already emanating from your chosen tree.

But if you want to build a little extra shine into your tree…

Go right ahead! It’s your tree, if you want it to be visible from space then you do you! Add some snowman face novelty lights, warm up your cool white statics with twinkling warm white micro-lights, bring back memories of Christmas at Grandma’s with multi-coloured flower lights, whatever lights you up inside is what’s right for your tree.

How to put Christmas lights on a tree

Yes, you can just run the lights around the tree in rings, but that won’t give you the best or prettiest effect. Instead, try going back and forth across the tree wrapping lights around the branches as you go.

And, if you want your tree to look lighted all the way through, instead of just weaving the lights back and forth amongst the branches, you can start at the trunk or center of the tree and wrap each branch moving towards the tips. Then move back towards the trunk to start on another branch. N.B. This method will roughly double the amount of lights required to complete your tree.

Pro Tip: As you wrap your branches in light, stop, stand back a couple of feet and squint. This is a professional tip for assessing as you go, blurring the details for a few seconds so that you can see the whole effect. Also, remember to add more light to the back of the tree for fullness and roundness.

4. Christmas Tree Decorations: All trimmed up and looking gorgeous!

Time to deck your tree! It’s now time to bring all the different elements together to make your joyful statement.

Tree Topper Ideas

If you want, you can start at the top with your tree topper. (Often the last thing to go on. But there are good reasons to start here.) If a shop-bought star or angel is your bag, just go ahead and crown your tree with it. And there are lots of fun themed toppers available now too. 

Or you can easily make a topper that feels more personalised. For instance, if you like flowers and floral arrangements you can create a glam floral tree topper to give your tree a fresh, luxe look. 

Pull together a monochromatic bouquet of white blooms that appeal to you, and pair them with gold or platinum leaves and co-ordinate with ornaments. Arrange the flowers how you’d like them to look on the tree and stick them in accordingly, fastening with green or colored floral wire. You could use a couple of bouquets for a smaller tree or four for larger ones. 

Or perhaps think about placing a pretty dove or a cute robin or two on your treetop. In fact, you can mix and match. Birds and florals go beautifully together. Maybe you have some big and beautiful statement jewelry you could use to add the perfect tree topping touch. The important thing is to make it your own. 


If you like a more filled-in tree, you can always start your Christmas tree decorations with ribbon. Ribbon can add everything from elegance to edge to your tree. And there’s so much to choose from! Everything from colour and pattern, to texture, luminance and size can be tailored to perfectly fit your needs. 

You could pick something subtle that will match or coordinate with your ornaments or something contrasting to really set if off. Like using burlap ribbon with traditional ornaments for a rustic look or pairing those same burlap ribbons with luxe ornaments for a modern remix.

And as for actually getting that ribbon on the tree, well, you can definitely wrap the ribbon around your tree, like a garland to create a beautiful, classic look. But, why not have a go at something a little different and experiment with weaving your ribbon through the tree vertically? Here’s how:

  • Starting at the top of your tree, create a bow or simply tuck the ribbon into the branches, wrapping it around one branch to hold it in place.
  • Don’t pull it taut—instead make a little loop and tuck into the boughs again about a foot down. And then, rather than going straight down, pull your loop a little to the right.
  • On your next loop come back towards the left and so on, until you reach the bottom of the tree.
  • Continue your pattern throughout the tree.

How many rolls of ribbon do you need to decorate your tree?

Don’t be that person who only bought just enough beautiful gold ribbon to get halfway down and across their tree only to rush back to the shop to find that particular roll out of stock (we’ve all been there)…

Err on the side of buying a little more ribbon than you need. You can always use the extra to wrap around other Christmas décor and gifts.

A general rule of thumb for how much ribbon you’ll need is around 3 yards per foot of tree, so for a 6ft tree you would need around 18 yards, or a little over 7 metres, of ribbon in total.

Once your ribbon details are all tied up (see what we just did there) you can add pretty sprigs, sprays and other fun or floral elements to add interest to your tree. You can do this at this point or wait until your tree is nearly finished to add them, depending on empty spaces that need to be filled. 

5. How to Hang Christmas Tree Ornaments: Show off your style! 

There are one or two rules for putting your ornaments on your tree. But don’t worry, we break every one of them. However, to break them successfully, you still need to know what they are. 

Rule #1

When it comes to professional Christmas tree decorating tips, most people will say start with bigger ornaments first. And that’s good advice because big ornaments fill up space and give you a clear sense of where you can artfully place your other ornaments. But don’t feel like you have to hang all your biggest ornaments before everything else.

You can always tuck them deep into the branches to fill space and add luminance inside the tree. And do keep in mind that your biggest ornaments will generally go on the biggest part of the tree towards the bottom and the smaller ones will go towards the top. 

But…don’t be afraid to freestyle! Respect those big ornaments, but don’t be afraid to start with smaller ornaments if you want to—the ones you love the most and want to feature prominently. Like special ornaments from the first Christmas tree you ever put together or fancy limited-edition, ornaments you found years ago or handmade keepsakes from a European Christmas market.

Put these front and center, then build your design statement around them. Following the rule about placing bigger ornaments toward the base of the tree is always good, but if there’s a space calling for one of those smaller specialty ornaments, just fill it!

Keepsakes? You know we’ve got a few.

Some people, if they have the space for more than one tree, dedicate one entire tree to Keepsake ornaments because Keespakes are literally “kept memories” for them and their families—memories of special holidays, shared TV shows, favourite movies, people and things they care about, important “firsts”, which can add up to several trees’ worth of ornaments if you’ve been creating family Christmases for a while! All of these special ornaments most definitely deserve a home on your tree if they bring you joy. So, whether your significant other models himself on Buddy the Elf or The Grinch, or Friends™️ is your family’s favourite show, or you’re celebrating a special year, don’t be afraid to shout about the things you love… and, if you don’t have space for ‘extra’ trees, just scatter them in amongst your other ornaments to give your tree an extra injection of personality. 

If you love it, if it makes you smile, then it works. End of story! 

Rule #2

Please don’t feel like you need to spend hundreds of pounds on Christmas ornaments. We all know this season can be tough financially, you don’t need to break the bank before it’s even really begun! All the supermarkets and garden centres, plus many craft and bargain retailers, have baubles in every colour you could wish for and packs of varying sizes (4–50) that can average just pennies per ornament. These are your “reliables.” You can build a whole lot of looks with these, and change looks more often, without spending too much. It’s perfectly okay to have a 99% bargain filled tree with just a few more expensive, show-stopping ornaments in the mix. You’re trying to make your home beautiful for Christmas, not go into debt for the next year.

For example, you could buy some mini photo frames and put pictures of your family in them to mix amongst the colourful baubles. You could put cherished Christmas cards from loved ones on ribbons and simply hang those with your chosen ornaments or more dramatically repurpose less precious old cards into crafty DIY ornament designs. Or simply just add one or two new Keepsake Ornaments to your collection each year for an ever evolving and ever more personally perfect tree. 

Rule #3

Generally, when it comes to Christmas trees, avoiding hanging your ornaments in straight lines vertically or horizontally is usually for the best—think about making zigzag patterns with them instead, and experiment, figure out what looks best to you because honestly, this is your tree so the only rules that matter are the ones you decide on. Just check for colour and shape balance as you go, and don’t forget the squint trick! You want your tree to look magical from a distance and also to pull people in closer to see all the special details.

Pro tip: If there are things on the tree that might tempt little ones or fur babies to snack, it is probably worth double secure them with floral wire, just to be on the safe side. 

6. The Final Touch: Bottoms Up!

You’ve made it, this is the final step, and it’s another opportunity to get creative and put your personal stamp on your tree. And, yes we know we’ve said it a few times now but there are so many options for how you can go about it.

From grubby pots to rusty wrought iron stands to spindly plastic feet, the base of your tree can often be the least attractive element of the whole display but there’s all sorts of things you can do to disguise an ugly base.

For example, tree skirts come in a huge variety of sizes, colours, fabrics and themes. You can easily find ones that fit your theme—either co-ordinating with your ornaments and topper, adding some contrast, or perhaps mimicking snow or other wintery elements. Done right they really can add the perfect finishing touch for your tree.

Tree Base Disguise Options

As well as the option of purchasing a ready-made tree skirt or a fancy embellished stand to try and make the best of the bottom end of your tree, you could also try wrapping your tree base in deep brown or white luxurious looking (but cheap) faux fur throws to invoke a feeling of winter warmth and luxury. 

You could also put your tree in a big basket filled with fake snow or add a tree collar. Designed to sit around the secured base of your tree these collars often have the appearance of rustic wooden boxes, basket weaves, vintage tin washtubs, red, silver and gold planters or, if your DIY is up to it, anything you want really, so you can tie them into your design as much or as little as you like.

Pro tip: If you use a fabric cover at your tree bottom, try not to leave it looking flat and lifeless. If you’ve sandbagged or weighted your tree, arrange your skirt over the weights. It will give the area under your tree a nice dimensional look. If your tree is not weighted, you can use gift tissue or tea towels underneath to suggest the flow of snowdrifts. Tree collars or baskets should cover your weights without any additional help.

Final thought, if all this feels a little overwhelming, let us share a secret: you don’t have to be particularly crafty, artsy or a visually creative person to nail this Christmas tree thing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw or cut straight lines or even fold paper in half. Start small and master a trick each holiday season and before long you’ll be making that perfect Christmas tree vision a reality. And remember…it doesn’t have to be perfect by anybody’s standards but yours!

So teach yourself a little something. Experiment and don’t be worried if something ends up a little crooked or comes out a little wonky. Go ahead and celebrate your style. Because it’s all about your joy.

And may we wish you a TREE-mendous Christmas time!


December 11, 2023