How to Trim Your Christmas Tree Like a Pro…and Some Unusual (and Cheap!) Holiday Tree Decorating Ideas


As you can probably guess from my tree, I’m into unusual holiday decor. “Traditional” has no place in my decorating vocabulary. In today’s blog I’m going to share some secrets of the pros for trimming your tree, and I’ll show you my unconventional tree-ness as well. I used to be a pro. I worked as a floral designer and event planner for over a decade, so I have a few industry tricks up my holiday sleeves. (Note: I am a serious Maximalist, the Liberace of Holiday Decor. If a minimal look is what you’re into, this may not be the DIY for you.)

Much like the last post on Holiday Mantles, the basics are the same: (I’ll not bore you by repeating the details today, if you want to delve deeper click the Holiday Mantles link)

The Basics:

1. Theme

2. Foundation

3. Lighting

4. Balance

5. Layers

6. Details

My tree theme is Indian/Asian in jewel tones. Over the past 4 years we’ve been collecting lovely themed ornaments such as peacocks, elephants, dragons, and even a couple sweet little Buddhas. To fill in I’ve added lots of pretty wired ribbons (a great (and cheap!) alternative to garland.), lots of more simple ornaments in jewel tones, some vintage and antique ornaments, and my favorite, feathers. There are scores of peacock and dyed ostrich feathers (purchased years ago on Ebay, and still going strong! A big visual impact for very little cash.) on our tree, making it rather unusual and really striking. I love unusual themes and color schemes. Try something weird! Go modern with black and white. Elegant with a monochromatic scheme, or get crazy with toys and primary colors. Sky’s the limit! I’ll share some other really fun trees I found at the end of this post.

We upgraded to a larger tree this year. We were lucky enough to find this very well made pre-lit faux tree at Goodwill for $40. I love it! All the lights work and it comes apart and folds up for storage. I saved hours of work because it is pre-lit. Always start your tree out with the lighting! And use a ton of lights. That’s the biggest pro tip I can share. A small 3-4 foot tree should have 600-1000 lights, and a 6-8 tree should have about 1600-3000. I know, it sounds like a lot, but it looks fantastic (ie: professional). Keep the lights steady, as a tree of all flashing lights is rather garish, and no one will notice your pretty ornaments. (I little dose of flickering lights is ok, just not the whole tree.) Do choose lights with green cords, unless your tree is flocked, then matching white cords are in order. Martha Stewart has a good diagram for putting lights on the tree:


She says: “Lights should be added to your tree before other decorations. Our technique will play up the depth of the tree better than draping lights only around the perimeter, while also concealing the wires.

3 thoughts on “How to Trim Your Christmas Tree Like a Pro…and Some Unusual (and Cheap!) Holiday Tree Decorating Ideas

  1. Pingback: My Holiday Decor Video, as Promised. | the Year of Living Fabulously

  2. Pingback: Christmas Houzz – Home Direct

  3. Pingback: Houzz Decorating Ideas – Home Direct

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