Christmas Tree Ideas

By Interior Designer TRACY SVENDSEN | Published on October 23, 2020 | Updated November 2023

Christmas Tree Ideas: Transform your Christmas tree this year into a mesmerizing centerpiece that will leave your guests in awe. This holiday season, think beyond the traditional ornaments and discover a world of unique decorating ideas that will make your tree stand out.

From whimsical themes to personalized touches, there are endless possibilities to make your tree reflect your style and create a memorable atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you prefer a rustic and cozy look or a modern and sleek design, we’ve got you covered with our curated collection of decorating ideas that will ignite your creativity and bring a fresh twist to your Christmas traditions.

So, grab your garlands, ribbons, and baubles, and let’s embark on a decorating journey that will make this Christmas one to remember. Get ready to make your tree the star of the show with these unique and enchanting ideas.

Whether hunting for the perfect tree at local farms or pulling the trusty faux evergreen out of the attic, setting up and decorating your Christmas tree is a favorite holiday pastime. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your family’s decorating traditions – and create new ones. 

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

The secret to decorating a beautiful Christmas tree is similar to designing any room in your home – style in layers! The standard Christmas tree decor elements are lights, garland, tinsel, and ornaments. Whatever your preferred design aesthetic, these core pieces are familiar to almost everyone.

The best Christmas trees are filled with layer upon layer of memories, traditions, and keepsakes. There is an art to Christmas tree decorating, but there is also a science. While we each have individual decorating styles, the following steps can help anyone create a seasonal showstopper.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

1.  Shape and Fluff

All beautifully decorated Christmas trees start with the foundation. When working with a faux tree, lift and separate the branches and tips to lose the ‘packed away’ look. Doing so will create a fullness that opens pockets to hang lights, ornaments, and garlands. Work in layers – put the first section on the stand, fluff, and work your way up the tree. When decorating a live tree, place the best side outward. You can use a pair of gloves to keep sharp bristles at bay. Gently trim a branch wherever needed to create a more uniform look.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree | Step 2

2.  Crown Your Tree

Consider adding the topper on the tree first to set the tone for decorating and to avoid disrupting ornaments. The classic choices are seasonal symbols such as angels and stars, yet large poinsettias or burlap bows can make an unexpected and unique choice. When using a non-traditional topper, blend it in by filling spaces with picks, flowers, or faux berries.

3.  Light it Up

Many faux trees come with lights already attached. Now is the time to turn them on to ensure they are working. Start at the tree’s base and work up, wrapping lights around every major branch.

Be sure to add plenty of lights to the back of the tree to create extra sparkle and depth. Once the lights are draped around the tree, step back and look for areas that require minor adjustments to allow more or less light through the branches.

How to Decorate a Tree | Step 4

4.  Create Focal Points

Target a few spots on the tree to group ornaments, picks, flowers, and ribbons for dimension. This step will create focal points providing your eye a place to rest. To add depth and interest, vary ornament sizes and shapes. For a cohesive design, try matching the color of these designated areas to the topper.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

5.  Put on the Garland & Ribbons

There are no firm rules to draping garland, but I recommend starting at the top and placing it as far out toward the end of the branch as feels secure. Starting at the top and slowly increasing the garland between each wave helps avoid branches bulging between tightly cinched garland strands. Plan on using about two strands of garland for every vertical foot of the tree.

You can also decorate with ribbon instead of garland by loosely wrapping a wide patterned ribbon around the tree in bands. Use the ribbons to create big bows to decorate the tree branches. Varying the width of the ribbon can add visual intrigue, and tucking the ribbons in at various spots helps to create a flow.

6.  Layer with Ornaments

The amount of ornaments used is a matter of personal taste. Whether you are going for a full and densely ornamented tree, or prefer a minimalist approach, add ornaments deeper inside the branches. If you are working with several colors, disperse each group around the tree before moving on to the next batch to ensure a proper balance of color.

To showcase your favorite ornaments, place them in prime positions on the tree first. Next, begin with the large ornaments placing them as far into the tree’s center as your branches allow. This will keep them sturdy and fill uneven spaces. Hang them as high up on the tree as is comfortable, but plan to use medium and small ornaments farther up. Then it is time to place medium-sized ornaments farther out on the branches. Lastly, put small decorations on the outermost part of the branches, where their scale won’t get lost, and the weight won’t shift the branch.

Hanging some ornaments closer to the trunk will create depth and interest. They reflect the light to make your tree sparkle from the inside. Stand back and study your tree from various angles to determine if empty areas need filling.

7.  Place the Tree Skirt

The tree skirt provides function as well as makes a fashion statement. It catches the needles and sets the stage for beautifully wrapped presents.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

14 Christmas Tree Ideas to Try this Year | Christmas Tree Themes

The Christmas tree is the focal point for all your holiday decor, so it should make a statement. When decorating your Christmas tree, you have two options: stick to the traditional route or go for something unique and unexpected.

While traditional decorations can evoke a sense of nostalgia and bring back cherished memories, unique decorations allow you to express your individuality and create a genuinely one-of-a-kind tree.

Consider classic red and green ornaments, sparkling lights, and timeless symbols such as candy canes and snowflakes if you’re considering traditional decorations. These decorations can create a warm and cozy atmosphere reminiscent of childhood Christmases.

However, if you’re more adventurous, why not try something different this year? Use unconventional colors like blue and silver or non-traditional ornaments like feathers or origami shapes.

Let your imagination run wild, and experiment with different styles and materials to create a tree that reflects your personality. No matter which route you choose, remember that the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of decorating your tree. Let your creativity shine through, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. After all, Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, and your tree should reflect that.

1.  Nordic Christmas Ornaments

Decorating a Nordic Christmas tree can be a wonderful holiday season celebration. There are many reasons why people choose to decorate their trees in this style.

For one, it can be a way to connect with your heritage and celebrate your cultural traditions. Additionally, Nordic-style decorations often feature natural elements like pine cones, berries, and wood, which can create a warm and cozy atmosphere in your home.

Plus, the simplicity of the decorations can be a refreshing break from the more elaborate and flashy Christmas decorations that are popular in other parts of the world. Whatever your reason for choosing a Nordic Christmas tree, it will bring joy and beauty to your holiday season.


Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas: Nordic Tree
Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas: Nordic Tree

Ornament Set Shown Above: Nordic Christmas Ornaments

Celebrate Christmas with understated European elegance. Mix and match plaid and Nordic ornaments with plaid ribbon red berry picks.

2.  Burnished Metal Christmas Ornaments

Burnished metal ornaments add elegance and sophistication to a tree, making it look polished and put together. Of course, there’s also the fact that burnished metal ornaments are beautiful to look at, with their shiny surfaces reflecting the twinkle of Christmas lights and creating a magical ambiance in any room.

Christmas Tree Ideas | Burnished Metal Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Ideas | Burnished Metal Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Ideas | Burnished Metal Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Ideas | Burnished Metal Christmas Tree

Ornament Set Shown Above: Burnished Metals Christmas Ornaments

Create stunning contrast with earthy tones and hints of gold. Add luster to your tree with these metallic ornaments’ glittery glamour and old-world elegance.

3.  Winter Wishes Christmas Ornaments | Christmas Tree Ideas

Decorating with gold, blush, and ivory creates an enchanting and elegant tree. These soft, muted colors create a serene, calming atmosphere that is perfect for the festive season. It also provides a unique and refreshing alternative to the traditional green and red color scheme.

The delicate ornaments and twinkling lights in shades of blush and ivory create a beautiful contrast against the tree’s green branches, making it a