Christmas trees are going up!
Downtown is twinkling, and my neighborhood is full of christmas trees both inside and out. Decorating is fun, but it can be daunting. And stressful. And fight inducing. My husband and I start out gleefully choosing a tree from the lot, which is quickly followed by a full on war while stringing the lights. Usually we end happily hanging sentimental ornaments, but let’s be honest, it can take a while to come back around.
Whether you are preparing to trim your tree, or if you have finished, but are a constant decor tweaker like I am – let us help with a Step-by-Step Designer’s Christmas Tree How To. The end result will be a fabulous tree that will not fall apart by the New Year. It may even save you a fight or two!
First, a quick history that I found interesting.
Ancient Egyptians and early Romans began the tradition by decorating their homes with evergreen boughs during December to mark the Winter Solstice, and to celebrate new life to follow in the coming spring months. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. It is a widely held belief that the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
In 1846, the popular Queen Victoria was sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. What was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.
By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling. The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country, and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.
And hopefully, a family tradition! Now, let’s get started.
Step-by-Step Designer’s Christmas Tree How To:
- Fluff the tree (if artificial) & add lights (if your tree isn’t pre-lit) – Make sure to keep the lights on while decorating the tree. This will help fill in holes and add extra fluff where needed.
- Add Garland – Many people mess up by adding garland at the end. Wrong! This will cover ornaments. The best way to get a gorgeous tree is to use floral wire and attach the garland to branches. Run the garland at an angle around the tree (two – three times around a 6′ tree / three – four times around a 9′ tree)
- Add Oversized Ornaments and Decorations – This step will elevate the tree to designer status! Use two – three oversized items on a 6′ tree and three – four items on a 9′ tree. For oversized ornaments choose a theme, such as giant santa heads or gorgeous colored glass balls. We also love using lanterns, but remember to make sure they are sturdily wired in place. Place the largest pieces toward the bottom of the tree and work your way up in triangular patterns. When decorating with oversized items, use the rule of three by placing an odd number grouping. Mix it up – they do not all need to match.
- Add Picks – These can be branches, feathers, holly berries – anything you love. We suggest stacking three picks together for greater impact.
Place the largest/longest one on the bottom, then the medium size, ending with the smallest on top. Simply stick them into the tree branches. This step will add color and texture to your tree.
- Add the Tree Topper – Come down about 1/5th from the top of the tree. Place the topper of your choice securely with floral wire. This can be a large bow with streamers cascading down, an ornate star or angel, or make a topper using picks (same as step #4 – this can be feathers, holly, branches, ribbon, or a mixture).
- Add Ornaments – Most people do this right after the lights. Trust us – wait until you are almost finished for a wow effect! First, place larger ornaments on the inside of the tree for added dimension. Next, place a few large ornaments and those you want to showcase toward the outside of the tree. Finally, use long ornaments to help fill empty spaces.
- Add Tinsel – This is a personal preference. Some people love tinsel for the added sheen and texture it brings to the branches. Others detest the mess, as strands will end up on the flow until the tree is taken down. We suggest choosing a metallic that coordinates with your tree’s decor (gold or silver), then gently placing strands all over the tree branches. Make sure not to clump – less is more!
- Tweak, Tweak, and Tweak Some More! – The designer’s job is never finished. We add and move items around for the entire month of December. If you are not as OCD (good for you!), then make a few adjustments and fill in some holes. Then enjoy this most magical time of year!
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