Easy Tips for Decorating a Christmas Tree

Wintry Tabletop Christmas Tree
The elements that go into decorating a Christmas tree -- lights, garland, tinsel, and ornaments -- are familiar to nearly everyone. But when it comes to creating a holiday tree that expresses your style, personality, heritage, and surroundings, the options are virtually unlimited. Use this diverse set of beautiful, doable trees to inspire you this season in decorating a Christmas tree that's truly your very own creation.

Give Your Christmas Tree a Contemporary Update

Contemporary Christmas decorating schemes often allow the natural beauty of the tree to stand out. This tree skips the lights in favor of bright, clean-lined elements, including wooden birds and balls, as well as a paper garland that mimics the modern shapes.

Use Christmas Lights to Accent a Tree

Lights are one of the best ways to decorate a Christmas tree; they can be used subtly or for more dramatic effect. In addition to the bright lights, this tree features an unusual collection of colors as well as a standout tree-topping star made from palm fronds.

Get some great tips for adding lights to your Christmas tree.

Video: How to Light a Christmas Tree

Watch this video for simple, step-by-step instructions for how to light a Christmas tree.

Display Handmade Decorations on Your Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are a great way to display handcrafted items. This tiny tabletop tree nearly overflows with made-from-scratch decorations, including handmade bows and paper-and-clay ornaments (a fun project to make with kids).

Use Fewer Decorations for Dramatic Effect

Some varieties of Christmas trees provide dramatic focal points, such as this fir with sparse branches. To decorate it, carefully choose a few artful decorations, including white lights, silvery garland, and oversize stars.

Give Classic Decorations an Updated Look

Traditional decorating styles don't have to be stodgy -- this classically inspired collection includes old-style ornaments with some contemporary twists. Patterned ornaments, draped ribbon, and metallic pinecones are the perfect fit for this tree.

Create a Vision in White

Using just one or two colors can be an easy way to organize decorating a Christmas tree. This flocked fir provides a dramatic backdrop to silver baubles, white owls, and other vintage ornaments. By picking a two-tone color scheme, you can coordinate packaging and wreath accents to match your tree (here, wide silver ribbon and oversize initials on gift boxes).

Showcase Your Collections on a Christmas Tree

Some homeowners start from scratch each year when decorating a Christmas tree, while others build on traditions or collections. This homeowner lovingly displays ornaments that her mother has gathered for her since birth. Sticks -- found in her yard -- add a woodsy accent.

Add Unexpected Accents to Christmas Tree Decorations

While evergreens are standard decor at holiday time, there's no limit to how trees are decorated. In place of a tree skirt, think outside the box for your Christmas tree base and use pincones or a collection of apples. Simple white lights keep the setup classic but not overdone.

Add Country Charm to a Christmas Tree

Decorating a Christmas tree offers an opportunity to use unusual items in new ways. For example, a galvanized metal tub can substitute as a tree stand. A moon -- a treasured nursery decoration in traditional holiday colors of red and white -- serves as a pretty tree topper, while a collection of mittens and dolls offers country-inspired decorating charm.

Try Unusual Colors in Your Holiday Decorating

Don't be afraid to try unusual color combos when decorating a Christmas tree. Here, old-fashioned paper chains get a fresh update in orange and turquoise and updated, retro-inspired ornaments include photocopied family photos in black and white.

Use a Wintry-Theme for Tree Decorating

One or two types of ornaments can provide a unifying theme for decorating a Christmas tree. This gorgeous tree relies on snowflakes and icicles, and it's accented with just a few holiday balls and some pinecones. The theme plays up the wintry color scheme of white and blue to reflect the weather outside.

Create a Tabletop Christmas Tree

You don't need just one Christmas tree when it's so easy to make multiple! Simply wire together three or more evergreen branches, prop them in florist's foam, and tuck them in a pretty urn to make this fun tabletop tree. Accent with mini ornaments or tied ribbons, and display in a guest room or anwhere around the house for the holidays.

Draw Decorating Inspiration from Your Heritage

Different countries have different traditions for decorating a Christmas tree. In Denmark, colors are typically red and white, a ritual that guides the adornments on this lovely tree. A delicate white garland adds subtle textural interest, while homespun ornaments -- striped holiday balls, stockings, and snowmen -- provide charming accents.

Wrap a Christmas Tree in Wide Ribbon

Garland has long been a pretty accent for Christmas tree decorating, but there are new twists on this old standby. For restrained country charm, try wrapping your tree in wide burlap ribbon, tying bows here and there for accents. White and gold ornaments, including out-of-the-ordinary mini pie tins and hand-dipped holiday balls, complement this neutral color scheme.

Go with Tradition When Decorating a Tree

Decorating a Christmas tree doesn't have to mean reinventing the wheel year after year -- some of the most beautiful holiday trees include classically styled versions like this one. Decorate the boughs with metal, ball-shape garlands as well as tinsel, heirloom ornaments, and white lights to maintain a classic, traditional look.

Try a Retro-Inspired Decorating Scheme

Vintage is cool again, even when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree. Choose a color scheme that integrates bright colors, such as orange, turqoise, and pink, as well as retro finds from secondhand stories and online auction sites. You also can exercise your creativity and round out your decorations with unusual items, such as an old crocheted blanket for a tree skirt.

Keep Your Decorating Style Simple

There's no rule that says decorating a Christmas tree has to be complicated or time-consuming. Many trees are beautiful all on their own or with a few strands of mini white lights. Here, two container-grown evergreens star on a sleeping porch. Elevate one on a side table to give the illusion of staggered height.

Focus on Small Trees for Big Impact

Feather trees are a trend-worthy idea to consider for smaller spaces in your tree-decorating plans. This one uses a galvanized pail as a base and displays dozens of jingle bells as ornaments. Other decorating ideas for feather trees include tiny ribbons and miniature holiday balls.

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