The perfect holiday memories center around a beautifully decorated tree. Watch our video and see our step-by-step guide to style your Christmas tree like a pro.
If you’re using an artificial tree, unpack it and set it up according to instructions. Step back from your work often and check to see if your tree looks full and natural. Don’t forget to fluff each branch – if your tree is pre-lit, consider fluffing while the lights are on to get the best feel for how the tree will look in the end. If you’re using a live tree, situate it in the stand and place it where it will be displayed.
Read the Christmas Tree Buying Guide to help pick the right artificial tree for you.
If your tree isn’t pre-lit (or you want to augment existing lights), now is the time to string your lighting. Consider which lighting options you prefer – classic incandescent lights provide a soft glow while energy-saving LED lights last longer. Read our Christmas Lights Buying Guide to find the perfect lights for your tree. Look for your favorite colors and light shapes to get a look you’ll love. Check the lights to ensure they are working and leave them on as you decorate your tree so you can see your progress.
There are a variety of ways to string lights on your tree, but you’ll want to ensure that lights are tucked deep in the tree near the trunk as well as peeking out near the tips of the branches to create the most dimension. Work in segments and try to avoid overlapping the cord for easier removal at the end of the holiday season.
Use at least one 100-light strand per vertical foot of tree. For showcase-style lighting, use up to three strands per foot.
Start at the top of the tree and either wrap ribbon or garland around the tree or cascade it down the tree, tucking it in among the branches to create volume. Add sprays throughout the tree to amp up the sparkle and add volume. Step back and check your work as you go to ensure these accents are evenly distributed while still leaving room for ornaments.
Start with larger ornaments first and hang them in a zigzag pattern to ensure they’re spread out around the tree. Fill in empty spaces with smaller ornaments. Choose a variety of sizes, shapes, and finishes that suit your color scheme to keep your tree visually interesting. Hang fragile or sentimental ornaments closer to the middle of the tree to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Be sure to tuck some ornaments further into the tree to create dimension.
Do one final check from a distance and rearrange any ornaments or décor as needed. Finally, place your tree topper and skirt to complete the look. Now, all you need are the presents!