Christmas tree decorating has come a long way over the years. When I was growing up it was so simple…… lights, ornaments, garland or silver icicles, tree topper (in that order) and BAM, you’re done. Now, it’s way more complicated with so many elements to choose from in pretty much any color pallet you’d like. Although more complicated, the trees of today are so darn beautiful that keeping them up all year round, when they match the entire room, is quite tempting. I mean, they’re basically another piece of furniture.  Right ladies?!

I can really get into to this stuff, and I try not to think about the fact that whatever I put up has to come down in a month. As long as I block that fact out of my little, blonde, over analytical head, then I’m all in.  My favorite trees to decorate are the ones we have in our foyer. I’m changing them up this year because we have a new color scheme in this area, and basically in the entire house. For years they were red and gold, but now a gorgeous white and champagne, with a touch of silver, simply and beautifully pops!

On these trees, and on most of our trees, I use about every decorative option there is (ornaments, large floral decor, stems/ sticks, stuffed animals, feathers, ribbon, you name it). These trees are a little more formal than others in the house. The kids have a super fun, and a ridiculously cute, elf tree in the room where Santa leaves his gifts.  Yep, we have a little bit of something for everyone.  But, no matter the tree, I have my own strategy and order to how I decorate.  Because after lots of tree attacks, you finally have to figure out the best way.  Here are my steps, and a few tips, to ensure your tree looks like it was decorated by a pro.

1. Fluff :  The obvious first step is to fluff that tree. Fluff it baby. Do this on every side, even the side that might be going against the wall. Don’t skimp here, as tempting as it might be.

2. Focal side:  After fluffing, decide which side you want to be the focal side and turn that tree accordingly. This is why you should fluff every side. Usually after fluffing, there is one side that stands out as the side you want facing the room. Don’t do this after you decorate. Ha!

3. Sort: Sort your decorations and group each kind and color together before you start adding them on.

4. Floral Stems or Ribbon:  Decorate away! If you’re using floral stems, put these on first because the petals take up a large area on the tree, and you don’t want to have to adjust them between ornaments. I bought large floral stem bundles and then cut each single stem off the large stem. This is often a more cost effective way rather than buying single stemmed florals, and you can spread them out and group them as you wish. On a bare tree you can create different patterns with the flowers (i.e. spiral them down a tree, criss-cross them, or just pepper them in like I did here). There are so many options. (Note: if you’re using ribbon, which I didn’t on these trees, make this a first step as well (even before the large flowers) so that you can weave the ribbon in and out of the tree easily and create a pattern).

Tip: Choose the color of your flowers (or ribbon) based on your primary color of the tree. If you want a white and silver tree, with white being your main color, choose white florals.

5. Tree topper: If you’re going to be using fun stems and branches as your tree topper, like I did, then this will be your next step. If you’re using a traditional tree topper (star, angel, Santa, etc.) then you can wait until the end and skip this step. But, with stems and branches it’s easiest to put these on before ornaments so that you aren’t knocking ornaments off, stabbing ornaments inside the tree with the long stems, and most importantly so that you know where your topper is going to stop. I tend to create toppers that take up the top 18” to 20” of the tree. I broke my own rule and put a few ornaments on beforehand on this first tree and ended up moving them down. So, make it easy on yourself and create that stem filled tree topper first.

6. Ornaments:  Next, you can start adding your ornaments. I always put them on in order of my favorites to ensure that I can place them in the best, most prominent, places on the tree.

Tip: use hooks, not the loops that come on the ornaments. Tuck the loop behind the ornament or cut if off, if it’s a less expensive ornament. The hooks give you more control over exactly where you’re putting the ornament because you can bend the metal hook around the branch for perfect placement.  And the worst is seeing a bunch of silver and gold loops hanging all over the tree.

7. More stems:  Now, if you have more stems (and I’m not referring to stem florals, just basic little decorative stems and sticks), put them on about half way through your ornament adding so that you still have room on the tree, and again so that you’re not fighting ornaments. About half way through ornament placement is when the best areas for filler stems will pop out at you. One rule of thumb here though, if I have stems that are made where they waterfall out and down the tree, I wait until the end to put these on. I know, so many rules!

8. More ornaments:  Finish putting on traditional ornaments.

Tip: be sure to place ornaments on the inner branches of the tree, not just on the outer. This will add depth and fullness, and it just looks so pretty!

9. Tree skirt/floor decor:  Finally, add your tree skirt. If you have multiple trees, and are decorating one under which presents won’t be stored, be sure to strategically add floor decorations that complement the tree, like I’ve done here. If your tree is a present storing tree, wrap the gifts in paper that shares the same color palette as the tree. You want to compliment your masterpiece, not take away from it with off colors.  Don’t you dare clutter up what you just worked so hard making beautiful!



And there you have it.  That’s how I roll with big beautiful trees.  And I have to give a huge thank you to the following stores for carrying the perfect decorations to help me create these beauties!


It’s all in the DETAILS:

FLORALS and STEMS: Jo-Ann Stores





P.S. – If you come visit me this spring and they’re still up, don’t be surprised. Furniture, remember? 🙂

BYLYLY- Bethany Sharp

24 thoughts on “Christmas tree decorating like a pro

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot. Decorating isn’t easy…..especially during the holidays because the choices and themes are infinite. It can get a little overwhelming. And the stairs do look so much more beautiful with these trees. Might have to leave them there a while 🙂

  1. Woah. This tree is amazing. I’ve been looking for some inspiration for this year and I love your all white theme. Sometimes Christmas decorations can look so cluttered but this looks so clean and cozy!

  2. Your trees are gorgeous!!!! I’ve been slowing learning how to add more than just ‘the basics’ to our tree, I really loved adding some wired ribbon this year! Cheers!

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