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My 5 Step Formula for Decorating a Dreamy Christmas Tree

Easy tree trimming hacks that will transform any Christmas tree to the tree of your dreams!

5 step formula for decorating a dreamy Christmas tree, The ultimate tree decorating hack

Have you ever put so much time and hard work into decorating your Christmas tree only to step back and realize that everything you just did looked completely awful and sloppy?

I used to drive myself nuts, looking over my tree and checking it more than twice fidgeting around moving an ornament over here, moving a bow over there with an unpromising hope to achieve an aesthetically pleasing looking tree. It became an exhausting mind game.

So I gave it some thought and did some hands on practicing to come up with an easy and super organized approach for decorating a dreamy Christmas tree without the hassle of chaos and a constant desire to "fix" the tree.

Trees for under $200

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My 5 step formula is a real game changer and has thoroughly made my tree decorating experience more enjoyable! I hope you'll find it to be helpful as well.

Here is my easy 5 Step Formula for Decorating a Gorgeous Christmas Tree of Your Dreams:

Step 1: String the Christmas lights first (pre-lit trees skip to step 2).

I'm stating the obvious, but stranding the lights around the tree first before you begin to decorate helps to prevent the cords from getting tangled up with the ornaments and decorations. Here are some commonly asked questions when it comes to putting up tree lights:

What is the best way to string lights around a Christmas tree?

The easiest way to string lights around a tree is to start at the very bottom branch nearest your power outlet. I like to have my string of lights plugged in and turned on while I strand so I can see the effect it will have on the tree as I strand from branch to branch moving upward to the top of the tree.

Another tip I find to be helpful is instead of stringing the lights entirely around the whole width of the tree, I like to weave the string of lights behind the back of the tree and then reverse back towards the direction I started from so that I do not have to toss the cord of lights directly overtop of the tree to get to the other side as I continue to string. This technique comes in handy if you have a really small space to move in behind the tree such as a corner wall space.

If your tree is in a full 360 degree view where you can see all the way around the tree, this technique will still cover each branch accordingly as long as you don't leave any space between the string of lights as you weave the lights back and forth around the tree.

How do I make my Christmas tree lights look magical?

I find that creating depth with your lights is a beautiful way to add dimension which gives the tree a magical starry look. This method will require a few more strands of lights, but will definitely enhance the ambiance.

To achieve this look, you will strand your light according to step one, however you are focusing on placing the lights towards the inside of your tree close to the bark. Once you have completed the inside layer and have reached the top of the tree, you can now attach more lights to the end of that cord (if needed) to begin placing the lights onto the outer branches as you work your way down the tree to where you originally began by your wall outlet.

For a wow factor add a few strands of twinkle lights to achieve that magical glow.

Life Hack: plug your lights into a portable tree timer outlet so that you can effortlessly enjoy your lights with a simple click of a remote control button or have them automatically turn on and off with a timer!

Step 2: Add garland and or ribbon

If you plan to add ribbon to your Christmas tree, you will want to do this right after your tree is strung with lights. If you already have a pre-lit tree this will be the first thing you'll want to do before adding ornaments and decorations.

How do I put ribbon on my Christmas tree?

Here are two easy and gorgeous ways to add ribbon to your tree:

Black and white ticking stripe ribbon with a pinch and twist technique to tuck into a tree branch while creating half moon shaped loops. How to add ribbon to a Christmas tree.
pinch, twist, and tuck ribbon technique for decorating your Christmas tree

  1. Pinch, twist, and tuck method: This works best if you have a whole roll of ribbon to use. Simply start by tucking the end of the ribbon fabric to a branch at the top of your tree, then create a half moon loop. At the bottom of your half moon shaped loop you will pinch the fabric with your fingers and twist the fabric. Tuck the twisted fabric into the back of the tree and gently secure it in place with a tree branch (The ribbon is easiest to work with if it has wired edges and double sided print). Let the ribbon unroll so that you can repeat the process with the remaining fabric draping from the roll.

  2. Cut and Tuck: This method works best if you do not have a lot of ribbon to work with. Measure out your ribbon to the size of loop you would like to add to your tree. Cut the ribbon to that size and fill in any holes in your tree by tucking and creating a half moon loop shape with the ribbon between the branches and the space you wish to cover. It will give the illusion of ribbon tucked all throughout your tree.

pro tip: If you do not wish to add ribbon to your tree, but would still like to add a wow factor, try draping wooden beaded garlands, or garlands with glitter, or ones with a design such as a snowflake garland, or pom pom garlands around the tree to list a few examples.

Wired two sided print ribbon create loops and tuck ribbon inside the Christmas tree securing with branches.

What type of ribbon should I use on my tree?

To create a sophisticated and elegant look, I would suggest incorporating ribbon that has texture and sheen such as velvet and satin. These two types of fabric give off a luxurious look and will immediately elevate the outcome of your decorated tree.

Another thing to consider when choosing ribbons for your tree is to be sure to select patterns and colors that will compliment your tree decorations.

To create a trendier designer style tree, try mixing stripes, plaids, and different prints together. Really have fun with this to create a dreamy statement piece.

If you really would like to achieve a fuller statement look with your ribbon, try combining two to three different loops of ribbon together as described in step 2.

Step 3: Add additional greenery stems

This step is where you will start to see the tree transform. There is something so gorgeous about adding a mix of seasonal greenery and texture to a real or artificial tree. It really adds attention to detail by filling in any gaps between missing branches.

Add additional holiday greenery stems such as fir, cedar, pine, and juniper leaves to your Christmas tree for texture and to help fill in any gaps or holes.

What type of greenery stems should I add to my Christmas tree?

The most popular type of holiday greenery to add to your Christmas tree are evergreens such as fir, cedar, juniper, and Norfolk pine.

Step 4: Add larger ornaments

I highly recommend adding the larger ornaments first before polishing off the tree with the smaller ornaments. This way you'll know if you have enough space for them to be used.

Merry Christmas metal sign to use as an ornament to add on a Christmas tree

What type of large ornaments can I use to decorate my tree?

Large ornaments can make an eye catching statement piece! Some fun ornament ideas to use on your tree are: wood or metal signs, farm truck decor, gift boxes, large bells, and picture frames to name a few.

I found this black metal Merry Christmas sign (pictured above) at Target in the Hearth and Hand section a few years ago, but intended it to be used for something else. However, I tried it out on my tree just for fun and fell in love with the warm season greetings it showcases to my guests as they enter the room.

How do I secure large ornaments to my Christmas tree?

Heavier decor ornaments can be secured to the branches of your tree with zip ties. (Make sure your decoration is not too heavy for your tree first though.)

Step 5: Add small ornaments

Lastly, polish off your tree with your smaller ornaments to complete the tree of your dreams.

Use your small ornaments to fill in any remaining gaps and to accessorize your Christmas tree with a pop of color and texture.

Elegant Christmas tree decorating, How to put ribbon on a tree.

Jelly fish ornaments, pine cones, starfish, Christmas tree ornaments.

How to begin decorating your Christmas tree if you are not feeling creative?

I would recommend establishing a Christmas tree theme first. For example, I have a Coastal Christmas Beach theme for my downstairs tree (as pictured above) and upstairs I have a traditional red and green tree with colored lights that feature my kids homemade ornaments.

Establishing a tree theme will allow you to plan and prepare for the items you will need to decorate the tree. It will also help you to coordinate colors, ornaments, and accessories accordingly.

Think about the things that make you happy during the holiday season and try to creatively incorporate those warm magical memories into your theme.

Beach themed Christmas tree, burlap, shell ornaments, bows, and ornaments

Galvanized tree stand base, tree trimming hacks, how to decorate a Christmas tree, Coastal Christmas tree

Hopefully this easy 5 step tree decorating process will guide you in the right direction as you spend time trimming your tree this season.

It really does take the guesswork and stress out of designing and decorating a beautiful Christmas tree.

These doable tree decorating tips will enable you to enjoy your tree decorating experience a little more by having an organized system and supplies method put in place.

Once I regrouped and started over by taking all of my tree decorations down to implement my 5 step decorating formula, I have not felt the need to change or fix anything on my tree since. I have a new found discovery of comfort and joy as I sit by my tree at night relaxing in the starry glow of the lights surrounded by my beautifully arranged ornaments that bring fond peaceful memories to mind.

Before and after Christmas tree decorating decor, Coastal Christmas Beach themed tree with shell ornaments, farmhouse ticking ribbon, and starfish

I encourage you to go ahead and fix yourself a cup of hot chocolate, turn on a hallmark show in the background or play your favorite Christmas music playlist, and make your holiday dreams come true whether you will be decorating your tree on your own or with family or friends, you deserve it!

What tree theme will you be decorating this year?

Beautifully yours,


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