How to Decorate a Christmas Tree‏

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How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

by Larry James
Direct Export Company, Guest Author

A Christmas tree should reflect the personality of the family and coordinate with the room in which it is placed. The variety of decorating styles is as varied as the number of people decorating the tree. Whether starting with a cut tree or everlasting tree, here are some basic rules that will help the decorator achieve the desired look.

The folks at Direct Export Company have provided us with some basic rules that will help you achieve your desired look.

What size and style of tree is correct?


When choosing a Christmas tree, there are four main factors to consider:

Room size: It is important to consider the room size and tree base diameter when making your tree selection. While larger rooms might accommodate the height of a taller tree, the tree diameter at the base can overwhelm the room. Many everlasting trees styles are offered in full and slim sizes to help you find the perfect fit.

Available Power: A general rule of thumb with incandescent lighting systems, states that, when using mini-lights, the tree should have approximately 100 lights per foot of height. If specialty lights – globe lights or candle lights – are added, the power draw can increase fairly significantly. Make certain that the circuit that will power the tree has the available capacity to run the lights. When using an incandescent system on the tree, the power requirement for a stand- ard 7.5’ or 9’ tree can be between 4 amperes and 10 amperes.

How you decorate: How you decorate your tree is a factor in what type of tree is best suited. If you use a lot of floral and branch ele- ments as well as small bead garlands, then a full tree will work well. For small to mid-sized hanging ornaments, an indexed tree will pro- vide the space for your decorations to hang properly and the fullness to minimize the open spaces in the tree. If you use large orna- ments, then a layered and indexed tree would be the best choice to accommodate your decorations because it will allow ample space for the ornaments to nest.

Ambient Light: If the tree is going to be put in a room with a lot of sunlight, and an Everlasting Tree is being used, a frosted or light green tree, rather than flocked or dark green, might be a better choice.

Lighting your Tree

The first consideration in decorating your tree are the lights. When using incandescent mini lights, there should be a minimum of 75 to 100 lights per linear foot. More lights can be used if desired, but fewer lights will result in a tree where the lights get lost in the decorations. If using an LED lighting system, the number of lights changes to 50 to 75 lights per foot. Candle light (C7) or Globe lights (G30) will produce satisfactory results when 8 to 12 light per foot are used. Everlasting Trees usually come pre-lit so these calculations are already done.

When installing lights on the tree (Fresh Cut or Everlasting) the light string should run along the branch starting at the tip and run back to the trunk. The light string is then moved to the next branch on the trunk and run to the tip. Alternate this “In-Out” pattern until the branches are lit. No more than 300 lights should be strung in series, that is, one light string plugged into another. Once the maximum 300 lights is reached, that series of light strings is then plugged into a “Drop” or extension cord. The number of lights that can be plugged into the drop is dependent on the size of the drop. Please refer to the electrical rating of the cord. With Everlasting Trees, this is usually already done for you.

IMPORTANT: Never plug the tree lights directly into the wall outlet. Tree lights should ALWAYS be plugged into a power strip with overload protection.

Determining the Theme of the Tree

Start the decorating process by determining what you would like the tree to look like when it is completed. Determine: 1. What colors should it include 2. What type of ornamentation is going to be used (hanging ornaments, floral elements, or some combination) 3. What type of Topper will be used (Star, Angel, etc.) 4. What is the focal element on the tree – what is the first thing upon which the observer will focus.


ChristmasThe Decorating Process

1. Start with the focal element, place it on the tree, then work out from it.
2. Organize your materials by item type: Floral, Ornaments, Sprays, etc.
3. Once you begin, work with one type of item at a time to help achieve proper balance of materials on the
4. Place the larger ornaments (or floral pieces) on the tree first. Tip: Using hooks for ornaments instead of strings allows for better control.
5. Place the garlands on the tree prior to the ornaments to insure proper draping and spacing
6. Glass, shimmering, or twinkling ornaments should be placed closer to the lights
7. Fill in around the larger pieces with smaller pieces.
8. Step back periodically and look at the tree as a whole.
9. When using floral elements, run the stem into the center of the tree so that the flower or leaves extend out near the end of the tips of the tree.
10. Generally, spacing for ornaments and floral elements should be no more that 7” apart and no closer than 3” together.
11. Place valuable and breakable ornaments nearer the top of the tree, out of reach of children, dogs, other pets, and (with live cut trees) the watering process (see discussion in the Tree Skirt Section).
12. Be creative. Birds, dolls, gift boxes, animals, ice skates, etc all are wonderful additions to your Christmas tree. If you are using an Everlasting Tree, don’t forget to hang the Scent Ball ornament within easy reach so that the fragrant oil can be replenished.

The Topper: There are a couple of ways to top your Christmas tree.

1. Install a Star, Angel, Elf, or the like on the top
2. Create a Head Dress which is a series of stems, sprays, and picks that start about 10 inches below the top of the tree, are installed so the stem projects upward at a 45 degree angle outward, with the angel getting more acute as it nears the top of the tree. The Head Dress needs to coordinate with the color and theme of the tree and should not project too far out from or over the top of the main tree trunk.

The Skirt: After the tree is decorated to your satisfaction and the lights are plugged into the plug strip, then it’s to put down the tree skirt. If you are using a Fresh cut tree, sweep up any needles that have fallen. Install your watering tube (that device that allows you to replenish the water to the tree). Then place the tree skirt around the bottom of the tree. If you are using an Everlasting Tree, just put the skirt around the stand.

After the Skirt has been installed, all that is left is for you and yours to enjoy the magic of the holiday season amidst the glow of your beautifully decorated tree!

baisch-footer-logoCopyright © 2014 – Direct Export Company. This article was made available with compliments of Baisch & Skinner, Wholesale Floral Distributor, Phoenix, AZ, welcoming Interior Designers, Decorators, Hotels, Caterers, Retail Florist, Event Planners, Restaurants and Church Organizations to our gorgeous 14,000 square foot, air conditioned, showroom conventionally located in Central Phoenix.


clovelogoLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

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