Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Tree Decorating 101

It's been a couple of weeks since my last blog, needless to say it's been a busy couple of weeks! After decorating 7 Christmas trees, hosting 30 loved ones for Thanksgiving dinner (which included cooking 3 turkeys) getting my own Christmas up, playing General Contractor on the barn, and loving being a mom and wife, my platter has been spilling over the edge!

I have been decorating Christmas trees for people other than myself for somewhere around 8 or 9 years now. I've decorated anywhere from 3 to 15 trees each year for those years. I have learned a lot, and developed a style that is generally well accepted. I have also been asked many times each year for tips and secrets. The question is always asked "How do you make it so beautiful?!" As I was explaining what I do to this year I decided that there really is some specific things that I can share to help in your holiday decorating. SO here I go...MY HOLIDAY DECORATING TUTORIAL:

When buying new decorations for your tree, I always think about mixing textures. I love the look of shiny and sparkly mixed in with natural, raw textures. Here are some pictures to show the variety of textures that are on my own tree...

Not only do I like to incorporate a variety of textures, but also shapes and sizes. A tree with only round balls looks incomplete to me personally.

A little advice on color. I am traditional, in an nontraditional way I think. I LOVE traditional colors but I am not afraid to use nontraditional items in my decor- like feathers for example. Christmas to me is RED, GREEN, and GOLD. I have tried other colors and always tend to get more comments and more of an emotional response from the true colors of Christmas. Having said that, I also have orange on my tree, and lime green is definitely not a traditional color, but it stands out against the background of the deep green tree. If you really love pink, blue, or periwinkle as your Christmas color of choice I still think it's possible to have a great tree, just not my personal preference. It's ok, I'll still be your friend :)

Another tidbit on color is to go with rich deep colors, no matter the hue, find the truest, richest one you can find.

Lastly. One more trial and error has been that gold almost always is more appealing than silver. While it is my personal choice, it has also been much more widely loved by my clients and the trees that I have tried to use silver in just never seem to hit the same level as those with deep golds. Just sayin'

Now on to the actual decorating of the tree. I generally like to start with the top of the tree as I feel it is the true statement of the tree. I want to have everything to choose from to create a tree top that is appealing. I start by placing my star and then arranging the ornaments from there to start the "flow" of the tree. I will often use a couple of things at the top that coincide with the colors and feel of the rest of the tree, but aren't actually found anywhere else. Here is the top of my tree as it began this year...

After I have established the feel of the top I generally turn to my selection and start placing the biggest ornaments and those things that will become focal points. With my tree I have some very large shiny balls, a sleigh, A couple of rusty tin stars and some massive pine cones. I mean when I say massive, if one of these baby's fell outta a tree it would cause some serious damage!

At this point I begin to play "connect the dots" using the rest of the ornaments I just start with one focal point and begin filling in and connecting it to the next focal point. The "point" of the connecting of the focal points is so that your eye can easily follow the flow of the tree rather than jumping from one spot to the next. 

As I move around the tree I pay special attention to the side that will be most viewed, but given I have enough ornaments, I do my best to fill in the back.

If you do not have larger ornaments you can get the feel similar by grouping some of the smaller ones together. I was asked to decorate a very large tree one year and when I showed up all they had was the standard 3" balls. I put my assistants right to work wiring the balls together in clusters. Simply combining several smaller ornaments in groupings will have much more of an effect on the overall look of the tree than hanging a bunch of small things separately. When you have a tree that is over 7 ft I feel that you HAVE to have some larger things on there to make the tree pleasing to the eye. Another inexpensive way to get the look of large items is to make big bows with fat ribbon. When I say big, I mean around 10-12" in diameter. There are youtube videos I'm sure on how to make bows so I won't bother :)

Don't forget to stand back and look at the tree from time to time. Look for holes or obvious areas that need attention.

Generally the smaller ornaments go at the top and the larger ones at the bottom, but occasionally I will bring one or two to the other area just to mix things up a bit~ yeah, that's me, living on the edge!

One of the last things I add to my tree are strands of hanging berries that I am in love with! They are droopy and odd, but they just give my tree something special that you don't see everywhere.

Last but not least, I almost always go back to the top of the tree and tweak and add here and there.

Then I stand back one last time and smile my Christmas elf smile, with hopefully a bit of glitter shining on my cheek! :)

Time to move the couches back into place and put all the boxes away!

I know I'm not Martha Stewart. I also am well aware that there are many many great ways to do things. I hope that my little bit of ideas and advice can help bring something new and refreshing to your tree this year!

On a side note..for those of you who care...there is siding going on my barn as we speak...I can't stay away from the window! My contractor is going to think I'm a crazy stalker lady. He may be right.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips April! Personally, I think you are right up there with Martha! :-)

    Merry Christmas!

    Can't wait to see the barn!