Thursday, November 29, 2018

How I Decorate A Christmas Tree

I'm not a big fan of spangles/floral stems shooting out at the top of a Christmas tree. It looks a little like fireworks to me. I'm not opposed to it on other's trees but it's just not something I was ever able to pull off.
It's a little like cowboy boots with a mini skirt. Not my scene. If it works for you - go for it.
 I prefer the classic cone shape of a traditional tree.

That being said, once the tree is up, plugged in and all the lights work, it's time to wrap the ribbon in and around the tree. If the tree lights up, the ribbon is the most challenging part. If the tree doesn't light up, I'm sorry for your luck.

Getting the ribbon right makes the difference. It makes the tree look designer no matter what else goes on the tree. 
I try to change the ribbon from year to year in my trees because it never looks the same to me once it's been played with. 
Once I pick my color scheme, I start hunting for ribbon. This takes place usually in August or September once summer decor has been put away and I get a feel for my current color crush.

This year, I've been crushing on blue and white.
My furnishings are all neutral so changing my accent color isn't that big of an ordeal. 
The previous color schemes get moved to another room or they go on hiatus much like your favorite T.V. show. All my favorite T.V. shows seemed to get cancelled, however. 
Me liking a show is the kiss of death for it - sorry.

My method for adding ribbon is always the same. 
At the top on the right side, I tuck the ribbon around a branch. I pinch the ribbon or bend the branch whichever is easier on the tree I'm working on. I swag and tuck the ribbon cascading down and around the tree toward the southwest moving clockwise.
You can go counter clockwise if that is more pleasing to you.

The ribbon is tucked in at about 10 inch increments. I make sure that the ribbon billows out a little in between each tuck. I usually pinch the branch around the ribbon to hold the tuck. This tree, a flocked tree from Hobby Lobby, has stiff branches so I wired my tucks in place in spots where they didn't want to stay tucked in. I cascade down around the back of the tree as well. This is easier than cutting the ribbon and just doing the front that shows.

Every once in a while the ribbon will get a twist or two to get a nice loopy feel. Ideally, I would have one huge bolt of ribbon that would cascade around the whole tree but it usually takes two 10 yd. bolts. I've taken to stapling sections of ribbon together so that it can be a seamless section. 
My tree has four passes of ribbon that go around the front of the tree if that makes sense.

 This time I used some blue and wheat colored farmhouse looking ribbon. I found it at Hobby Lobby. I knew it wasn't really wide enough on its own so I also used some blue and white checked fabric that I tore into 3 1/2 in wide strips.
I held these two together as I went around the tree. 
I prefer a heavier weight ribbon as opposed to something gauzy. The easiest type of ribbon to use on a tree is burlap but the burlap craze has wained.
 Something of that texture and weight is ideal. If it is wired, all the better but it's not a deal breaker. 

I found the fabric as the thrift store. The $10.00 piece had about 3 1/2 yards on it. I've had plenty for other bows and even a pillow. I probably wouldn't have even tried fabric except for a post I saw on Miss Mustard Seed. She couldn't find ribbon last year so she used fabric. I'm so glad I saw that post. She's always an inspiration.

Once the ribbon was in place, floral stems are added to the tree. Several years ago, I invested in some beautiful stems that look like frosted rose hips. I also found some hydrangeas with frosted ivy and deep red berries. This is the third year to have them on our tree and I still love them.
Bill wondered how they stayed fresh the whole season so I guess they look pretty real.
Eight or nine of each stem were strategically placed in the tree. 
Having the floral stems has cut down on the number of ornaments needed for the tree.
I used to go all out with vintage German glass ornaments. It was very Charles Faudree. 
It took at least six hours to decorate the tree. I've paired down our ornament collection considerably which has been freeing. 

We've spent the last decade collecting dated Lenox ornaments. We also have a few Waterford, Gorham and Wallace ornaments as well. Many of these came from garage sales or thrift stores but we've also paid retail. 
I've ordered some custom dated ornaments from Bill usually finds one or two at Macys as a Christmas gift. 
It took at least a decade of collecting but we finally have one for every year of our marriage.
EBay helped fill in the gap years.

The soft ivory of the Lenox and the Waterford crystal look good no matter the color of the ribbon.

A few glass balls in the color scheme have been inserted deeper into the tree. 

All of our trees usually have a nest and birds. A nest for good luck and birds because I love them so much.

I've called this tree Homespun Glam.
Homespun because of the torn fabric ribbon. Glam because of the ornaments.

I like it a lot.  
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Try ribbon in your tree. It makes all the difference. 


  1. It looks terrific, Katie. I see a lot of ribbon on trees that DOESN'T look terrific and I've always been sort of "off" it because of that but yours is so beautifully integrated, it doesn't detract from the beauty of the tree. You see the ribbon but you aren't immediately looking AT the ribbon. Bravo!

  2. Beautiful tree, Katie. I've always envied those who could deftly handle ribbons and create lovely bows. Mine usually look like they were made by Charlie Brown! You've inspired me to try it again.

  3. I will never forget the wonderful times of childhood, when I was waiting impatiently for New Year and Christmas presents. I still like to find them under the Christmas tree. This is a miracle!