I have no idea what’s in the water this year, but it seems like everyone is on the ball with early Christmas decorating – including me – and I love it! Wanna know why? For what’s seemed like forever, I’ve had a solid holiday theme going where I’ve waited ’til the absolute last second to get ready. With a young child and having moved nine times over the past seven years, I seem to have always been playing ‘catch up’ with something. I’m relieved to finally have my act together.

And since I’m surprisingly ahead of schedule, I’m super excited to share with you my favorite Christmas tree decorating tips just in case you waited a bit too long and are running out of time. Fret not, my friend: this guide is all you’re gonna need.

If You Haven’t Already, Find a Tree – I recommend selecting a tree that’s 8″-10″ shorter than your ceiling height to make the grandest impact and to still leave enough room for a tree topper.

Choose a Theme – This could be based on color, style, or an actual theme. This year, I went with what I like to call, ‘Elevated Organic’ and my color palette is black, white, silver, slate gray, light wood tones, and green. Search the web for inspiration and make note of what you love!

Make Note of How Many Lights and Ornaments You Will Need (See Below) – Trust me, this works! By the time I was done decorating, I had the perfect amount of both.

4 ft. tree – 400 lights, 40 ornaments

5 ft tree – 500 lights, 50 ornaments

6 ft tree – 600 lights, 60 ornaments

7 ft tree – 700 lights, 70 ornaments

8 ft tree – 800 lights, 80 ornaments

9 ft tree – 900 lights, 90 ornaments


Ribbon – If you’re going for a more traditional look, ribbon is a great touch. Stick with 2-4 types for your tree. You can also layer them for more visual interest. For example, a 4″ gold glitter ribbon with a 2.5″ shimmery white ribbon layered on top. As far as how much you need, it really depends on what you plan to do with it: cascade, wrap around, or tuck and tuft. In this case, I recommend over-purchasing and returning the extra prior to the 25th.

Garland – Whether it be wood, pom-pom, corded, tinsel, or grapevine, garland certainly adds a nice touch and an added dimension. The rule of thumb is 9 ft. of garland per foot of tree. Therefore, on a 7.5 ft. tree you’re looking at approximately 67.5 ft. or 22.5 yards. Again, save the extras for returns before the 25th.

Anchor Ornaments – These are extra-large decorations that add an artistic element. Some ideas are lanterns, bird houses, or any oversized ornament. Always use odd numbers here, just as you would any time you are accessorizing in your home.

Floral Picks – I love these for two reasons. One is that they can often be broken up into multiple pieces, and two is that the larger ones fill remaining holes quite nicely at the end. My favorites this year are cypress and pine.

Tree Skirt – I use this term loosely as you really can use anything from a spare throw blanket you have lying around the house to an upside down galvanized bucket (with a hole drilled in it of course) to a basket. Tree collars are also still really popular.

My Favorite Tree Decorating Tips: 

  • Fluff each and every tree branch before you begin decorating. Yes, even the back branches.
  • String lights vertically instead of horizontally…Life. Changing. Quick to put up, quick to take down.
  • Secure the tree topper before your ornaments
  • Work from the top down to avoid ornament casualties
  • Hang ornaments all the way around your tree. It will lend a much fuller look in the end because you CAN see through the branches to the back.
  • Vary the sizes and shapes of your ornaments
  • Layer, layer, layer! Unless you’re going for a more minimalist and natural look (certainly very popular these last couple of years), the more the better. Two years ago, I was able to snag a tree for $53 and it didn’t matter that I skimped on its quality because my decorations made it sing.

I hope my Christmas tree decorating tips were helpful! Comment below with your tree theme this year, and don’t forget to post your Christmas tree pics in my Facebook group as well! I can’t wait to see what you create.

For more Christmas decor inspiration, check out my holiday board on Pinterest.


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