This is a crazy week, so I haven't had time to upload my photos from the Southern Christmas Show yet, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about decorating your Christmas tree.  I know a lot of folks traditionally put up their tree the day after Thanksgiving (or even earlier), so I wanted to pass along a few helpful tidbits to help spruce up your tree this holiday season.  (Get it?  Spruce?  Oh, nevermind.)

I saw this video several months ago and I knew immediately that I wanted to post it here.  This is one of the floral designers from the Biltmore House, and she explains how they achieve the look of their trees.  Now, if you haven't read my little "about me" section over there on the right then you might not know that I spent several years working in a florist and that I used to decorate the big Christmas tree in our front display window.  The techniques that she talks about in this video are the same techniques that I used at the florist, and that I still use to decorate my own Christmas tree.  Let's watch it together and then I'll highlight some of the main points for you.

Take Home Points:
  1. Use your rooms as inspiration for the colors of your tree.   Here's the thing: this is actually really personal.  Some of you might have cherished heirloom ornaments or ornaments that your children made, and if they make your heart happy then you should decorate with them.  But if you've ever wanted a tree that looks like it belongs in a magazine layout, then this is Point A on that journey.  If you look in magazines, you'll notice that whenever they display a tree in a room (or any Christmas decoration for that matter), it will always match the decor of the room.  That's why you can't just try to duplicate a tree from a magazine picture in your own home and get the same effect.  You have to customize it to fit your own style.  That's what will make it work.
  2. Light the tree inside and out.  Run the lights up and down the branches.  Yes, you will use two or three times as many lights that way, but it looks oh so much better.  The lights should be plugged in while you're working them onto the tree so that you can make sure you're spacing them evenly.  One year some of my relatives who shall not be named wrapped the entire tree with the lights not plugged in, and when they got to the bottom found that they were left with the female end of the plug, and the male end was at the top of the tree.  Oops!
  3. Hang ornaments at different depths.  This builds on the same principle as lighting the tree from the inside-- when you hang ornaments at different depths so that they're not all on the same plane, you get a much richer looking tree.
 I also recommend checking out this tutorial on how to decorate a tree by Better Homes and Gardens.  I agree with everything that they say.  Good stuff.

Other things to consider:
  • Think of your tree decorations as layers.  The lights are the first layer, followed by garlands and/or ribbon, with ornaments being the last layer.  Don't be afraid to overlap the layers-- in fact, some overlapping is good!
  • Vary the shapes of your ornaments.  It makes a tree look more interesting when there are lots of different shapes on it-- not just round.
  • Consider using non-traditional items in your tree.  I have a couple angel tree toppers that I hang as ornaments in my tree.  They make a great statement.  You might also use toys, picture frames, musical instruments, even books.  I have a dream of someday having a tree in my front window, draped with roses.
And out of curiosity, how many lights do you usually put on your tree?  We typically get an 8 foot tree, and I'll put about 1200 lights on it.



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