After staring this article, I realized that it was going to be long so I’m doing a two parter. Part One of How to Decorate A Christmas Tree Like A Professional will cover picking a tree, lights, and ribbons. How to Decorate A Christmas Tree Like A Professional Part Two will cover ornaments and decorations, because there are so many options, I could write on that forever, but I’ll try to keep it short.
How to Decorate A Christmas Tree Like A Professional Florist
I have decorated many Christmas trees in my years at Enchanted Florist, both indoors and outdoors. One year I think it was close to 50 trees of all sizes for a special project. We do commercial decorations for hospitals, businesses, and for homes as well. And after all that if we have time, we decorate our store. Don’t even get me started on my house. Until I had children, I never even bothered putting my own up, now I feel a little guilty if I don’t decorate for the holidays.
Trying to fit in so many installations is challenging, one house has seven Christmas trees all on it’s own. Lucky for me, there is a science to it all, a formula you can follow for the perfect professionally decorated Christmas tree.
First, The TREE!
When choosing a Christmas tree to decorate, remember it doesn’t have to be the most expensive tree, but you do get what you pay for. An artificial tree from Hobby Lobby may be cheaper, but it will probably only last a few years at most. The cheaper pre-lit trees just don’t last that long. Are you the type that gets tired of something after a few years? Then this may be a perfect option for you. Cheaper trees are also great if you’re doing a theme tree that you don’t intend to reuse next year like our snowman family.
In my opinion, artificial trees are better, unless you are going to buy the really nice expensive fresh trees. You need good sturdy branches that usually just not there with the $40 trees from Walmart or the grocery store.
Colored and Flocked Trees
If you are thinking about a colored or flocked tree, first think of the ornaments and accents you will be using. A lot of times, people choose items that match the tree and everything ends ups blending in and hides. So for instance if you chose a pink tree, all black ornaments would bed a good option and will show up nicely.
I love flocked trees but not everything shows up on one. When using flocked Christmas trees, choose bold bright colors: reds, golds, and blacks show up real well. Every other year or so, my mom Debbie gets a flocked tree and uses reds, golds, and leopard print. I absolutely love this, and it shows up so well on her flocked tree.
Lights Lights Lights!!
I only use white lights. When we go to market every year, 99% of all trees use white lights. And unless it is a specific theme where colored lights will highlight your items, most other professionals use white lights too. Of course the kids always want the multi colored or colored lights, and I recommend giving the kids a tree they can do themselves in a game room or their own room so they are happy, and so you don’t have to look at it. But, light colors seem to be a personal choice so pick what you like and stand by your choice.
As far as how many, a good rule of thumb is 100 lights per foot of tree, 6 ft tree = 600 lights. And I like a lot of lights, the sparkle of it all. On an artificial tree, I usually cover each branch with lights weaving in and out from the trunk and around and then move up to the next row. It’s good to come up with a plan and stick to it so you know how to take them off as well.
I know many of the trees now are pre-lit, but if its a cheaper tree, the lights usually don’t last that long. And nothing is worse than having an already decorated tree and a few strings of lights go out, so make sure your confident in your lighting before move on to the next step.
Rolls and Rolls of Beautiful Ribbon
Wired ribbon makes the tree! When picking out a ribbon, know what you need. Will you want to use this ribbon for many years, or replace it every year for a new look? You absolutely get what you pay for with ribbon as with most things. We generally buy professional grade high end ribbon when our customers want something that can be used for many years to come.
I usually use two different ribbons when decorating a Christmas tree, and prefer for them both to be #40 (4″ wide), but sometimes I’ll use a #40 and #16 (3″ wide) when cost is a factor. When using two ribbons, I try for one to be shiny or metallic and the other to be more muted, this gives a nice contrast. In the picture above, the top ribbon gives you the flash and the leopard ribbon gives interest. We chose not to use the bottom ribbon, but it’s always good to hold a couple together to see what it will look like.
To Bow or Not To Bow
If it were up to me, there would be big bows in a couple spots throughout the tree as well as the top, but that can get expensive so we usually only do a bow at the top of the tree. Well actually it’s three bows. I tie each bow separately and then add them to the top of the tree before it’s put on. The idea here is to get a seamless look with your bows. Even though most trees are up against a wall in most homes, the top of the tree is skinnier and tall and can be seen from most angles in the house. You don’t want guests (or yourself) seeing where you missed a spot.
If we are using two different ribbons, I tie the ribbons at the same time into the same bow. Don’t know how to tie a bow, most family owned and smaller flower shops will tie you a couple bows for a small charge or for free, especially if you’re a regular customer.
It is important that your bow be secure because it will help keep an angel or star straight and give it more support. And if you’re using something else at the top like feathers, berries, or other artificial floral stems, the bow will give you a grid to work with.
Streamers- Which Way Do They Go?
I always do my streamers top to bottom. First I don’t cut my streamers more than I have to, and I keep the bolts they come on to wrap them up each year. I start at the top, tuck one end under the bow, then kinda just throw the bolt(s) down towards the ground. Ever so often I tuck them into the tree (towards the trunk) and secure it with a tree branch. When you get to the bottom, I finally cut the ribbon and start over. I usually do about four “stripes” down per ribbon depending on the tree size and a few more if it’s a tree you can see all the way around.
Ok as far as “How to Decorate a Christmas Tree Like a Professional Part 1” we’re all done. If I have left anything out, or you have absolutely any questions, dont hesitate to ask. I have a flower shop full of professionals that are here to help. And remember to have fun and enjoy!
4416 Fairmont Pkwy #104
Pasadena, TX 77504