Tips for Decorating a Christmas Tree

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree (and a Christmas garland tutorial)

DIY Christmas Tree Garland idea at DIY beautify blog

I'm dying to tell you a story! It's a true story, which makes it even better.

Picture this..

Newlyweds living in an upstairs apartment filled with ugly shag carpeting...

a dried-out Christmas tree that has barely survived their very first Christmas together...

open closet doors throughout...(a key element in this tale of woe!)

It's the morning of trash pick up and the day to dispose of Christmas trees. Mr DIY and I are rushing around, getting ready for work.

We hear the garbage truck. We look at each other.

Our tree is still upstairs. its base. There's no time...

Mr DIY grabs the tree and forces it through the hallways sideways...

....and just makes it to the curb on time. He's thrilled...

Mrs DIY, a first-hand observer to the carnage within her apartment, is not a happy camper!

Mr DIY vacuums for days...weeks...months afterward....and is still doing the vacuuming 23 years later (penance?) Haha, I call it cheap revenge!

Every time there's something prickly in my clothing, I still to this day have a flashback to that long ago Christmas tree debacle!

You might be wondering what this post has to do with my story, and the answer is nothing, other than it involves a live Christmas tree (and it's still a great story to share, even 23 years later!)

So today I want to share my tips for decorating a tree. I'm certainly no expert, but there are a few foundational tips that will give you the best results.

The very first thing to do - obviously - is add your lights.

Now, you probably already know this, but it took me awhile to realize there was a better way to add the lights that to string them around and around my tree. Save yourself the hassle and add lights to one section of your tree at a time, see the arrows below. It's more efficient (and makes removing them later much easier).

How to put lights on Christmas Tree at DIY beautify blog

If you have a section of string that doesn't light up, you can stuff it into the tree and keep going with the lit part. I do realize my lights are rather sparse. I ran out and was too impatient to wait. I figured I'd disguise it with ornaments anyway!

Once you're satisfied with your lights, it's time to add a garland or banner if you'll be using one. This way you can strategically place your banner to disguise thin sections or holes in your tree. Affiliate links are added for your convenience. You'll find my full disclosure policy here.

Decorating a tree DIY beautify blog

I made a large Merry Christmas garland from pieces of canvas drop cloth (you'll find the tutorial at the bottom).

Once you're happy with the placement of your banner or garland, it's time to start adding ornaments!

My top 3 tips for adding ornaments:

1. add largest ornaments first, filling in gaps in the tree

2. place sparkly or glittered ornaments in front of a light as much as possible

3. layer ornaments - placing larger and brighter ornaments a little farther in, and smaller ones closer to the ends of the branches - this adds depth

Here's my tree with most of the ornament added. You can see the variety of ornaments, from glass balls filled with feathers and ornaments my children have made. Although I've done themed trees other years, I was craving all the oldies and goodies; therefore this tree is an eclectic mix.

DIY Garland for the tree

The last steps are to add your tree topper and tree skirt. If you have a live tree, vacuum up the needles first before putting the skirt around the tree. And make sure to water the tree daily (lesson learned!)...and mark the tree pick up date on your calendar so you are better prepared than we were that Christmas long ago!

I couldn't find my tree skirt this year, so I used a Christmas tablecloth! It worked perfectly. And you can see that I was tired of my Christmas angel tree topper, so I stuck a Santa hat on the topmost branch and called it a day!

decorating a tree and DIY Christmas tree garland at DIY beautify blog

Want to make a garland like mine? Here's how I did it:

Christmas Tree Garland Tutorial:


DIY garland for the Christmas Tree DIY beautify blog

To hang my garland on the tree, I just wound the ends of the jute around a branch. That way it will be easy to pull off when it's time to dismantle.

Sure my tree's not perfect. I don't have perfectly coordinating ornaments and a million lights. But when I look at it, I find myself reminiscing about the Christmas my son made that snowflake, and the first Christmas Mr DIY and I were married and I handmade all our ornaments (especially the heart I sewed from leftover bridesmaid dress material). For me, my tree is about memories...and family!
Of course, there are a million ways decorate a tree. Lights, sentimental and favorite ornaments and all the shimmer will bring beauty and sparkle to any tree! I hope these tree decorating tips are helpful. Did I miss anything?

Happy decorating!

bringing beauty to the ordinary,

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  1. Cindy, I love the tree and especially like the Christmas banner. You're right Christmas tree's are about memories that is what is most important.


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