O Christmas Tree

Choose one of these elegant ideas as the holiday centerpiece of your home or use them all to give a seasonal lift to every room.

These three decorating ideas bring a touch of winter beauty indoors, highlighting the natural grace of the tree itself.

Blanket of Snow

Start by stringing all-white lights on the tree. Then create a convincing effect of thick snow by laying lengths of rolled cotton, available at drugstores, on the branches. For a final touch, sprinkle crystal snow over the cotton. Note: The cotton will tend to stick to the branches. Keep this in mind if you're decorating an artificial tree you plan to reuse.

Hydrangea Bouquets

Another way to suggest the effect of snow is to nestle clusters of dried white hydrangea on the branches of your tree. For garlands, use thick gold cording. Drape the cording in asymmetrical loops and weave gold-mesh wire-edge ribbon among the branches. Pinch and crimp the ribbon so it traces an interesting, meandering line through the boughs.

Tabletop Tree

Tabletop trees can be big enough to be a focal point.

If you don't have room for a floor-to-ceiling tree, try a short, fat tabletop tree instead. This one has been nailed to a thick slice of wood for a natural base. Grapevines make a free form garland, which wraps randomly through the branches. Blown-glass pinecone ornaments accompany real pinecones dipped in white paint. The red ornaments are inexpensive red glass balls that have been dipped in white paint. (See "Snow-Dipped Ornaments.")

Why not show off your favorite collection on your tree? Or continue the decorating theme of your home with all of your holiday decorations. We've created several that offer plenty of ideas for putting your collectibles to a new use.

Country Inspiration

Add contrasting texture and color to your tree by inserting broad-leaf evergreens among the boughs. If you live in an area that has mild winters, perhaps you can collect magnolia, elaeagnus, mahonia, or nandina from your own yard. Or purchase salal or eucalyptus from a florist or collect branchlets of dried oak leaves or beech leaves and spray them gold, copper, and silver. On a fresh tree, these branches effectively fill holes and help balance the shape. To duplicate the oversize red mittens, start with plain red oven mitts. Stitch or glue wide ribbon at the opening to make a cuff. Attach a Santa ornament and a bow.

The Well-Dressed Tree

Straw hats and kid gloves dress this tree. You don't need a whole hat collection to adapt the idea; two or three strategically placed bonnets will do the trick. The same holds true for the gloves. Add ribbon streamers and clusters of dried hydrangeas to evoke a garden-party feeling.

Time for Tea

Almost anything is fair game when it comes to creating a themed tree. If you have a collection of mismatched teacups and spoons, tie them to the sturdiest branches with ribbons. You can even glue cups to their saucers with dots of hot glue (the cups can be gently pried from the saucers and the glue popped off after the holidays). Check specialty Christmas shops for ornaments in the shape of cakes and petits fours. For a Victorian accent, weave lengths of lace among the branches.


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