Traditional Decorations: How to Tree Decorate

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Written By Eva Stock

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





When I was growing up it was my job to decorate the tree with our traditional decorations as soon as a step stool would allow me to reach the top. Dad was forever the back-seat decorator, insisting that this ornament and that light needed to be moved just a smidge. While I balked at his insistence, I did learn a lot of good decorating ideas from those years.

What Are Traditional Decorations?

Traditional decorations are usually made out of wood or metal and have been around for hundreds of years. They’re also called “old fashioned” because they were used in homes before electricity became common place. The most popular types include wreaths, garlands, bows, balls, angels, stars, snowflakes, bells, candles, pine cones, holly berries, evergreens, and more! Some people even use them year round like we do now.

Traditional Tree Decoration Examples

Christmas tree decorations that are seen as traditional include :

  • Wreath – A simple circle of greenery tied together with ribbon is often considered a classic holiday decoration. It can be hung on your door or window sill during the holidays. You could make one yourself by cutting green leaves into circles using an old cookie cutter. Or buy some inexpensive ones at any craft store.
  • Garland – This type of decoration has long been associated with Christmas trees.
  • Ball-Balls – These decorative spheres come in many different sizes and colors. Use these to add color and sparkle to your home.
  • Bow – Bows are another favorite way to dress up a plain looking Christmas tree. Look for pre-made bow kits at crafts stores. If you want to create your own, cut strips of paper about 1/2 inch wide and fold each strip lengthwise twice. Then tie the ends together to form a loop shape.
  • Angels – Angels are beautiful little figures dressed in white robes holding their arms open toward heaven. Angel figurines are available in all sorts of shapes and styles.
  • Stars – Stars are always fun to look at. There are so many ways to display them. Try making your own star lights by stringing colored fluorescent lights through wire mesh. Hang them over windows or doors.
  • Snowflakes – Snowflakes are easy to make and very pretty when displayed.

Living Trees

First, those of you working with real trees need to get them into water and let them adjust to your home’s temperature and humidity. Do not decorate your tree for at least 3 days. During this time the branches will hang out to where they’ll remain pretty much as long as the tree continues taking water. Now you can really see where you want to put ornaments.

Decorating Your Tree

Step 1 – Lighting

The first step for all trees is the lighting. After testing your lights, begin with at least one strand of lights that go very close to the tree’s trunk, stringing them from the bottom up. This creates an inner glow to the tree that accents everything else you put on it. It doesn’t matter if you use one color or many – we opt for white ones. The next strand(s) of light go a little closer to the surface, again from the bottom up (this positioning also helps with plugging the lights in safely).

Step 2 – Garland

Experts tell us that you need about two packages of garland per foot of tree. You don’t want too much garland because it will eat up the room reserved for ornaments. People who have pets can have the satisfaction of knowing that garland is pet-friendly whereas tinsel can harm digestive systems. Unlike lights, you wan to apply your garland from the top down.

Step 3 – The ornaments

As soon as id learnt how to put lights on a tree I’d always hunt down my favorites first and put them where they really show off on the tree. After that, put on larger ornaments being careful to evenly disperse them and remember to account for their weight when choosing branch sites. Last, unbreakable ornaments can go near the bottom or places where people and pets are likely to brush against the tree.

Final Step – the tree top

To be honest I do this first – it sets my mood and the tone of the tree, but most people leave it for the end and the inevitable first lighting. Now’s the time to grab a cup of eggnog, dim the lights and enjoy!

In conclusion , there are no hard rules for how to decorate a Christmas tree. Just follow these simple steps and you should find yourself enjoying every moment of holiday cheer. Happy Holidays!

If your interested in seeing how a professional, and yes there are professionals that are paid to decorate trees, does it then click this link for a YouTube video on tree decorating.