Steps to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Tinsel and Ornaments
Have you ever found yourself getting tangled up in a tinsel tornado of a mess in a vague attempt to decorate your Christmas tree?
Good, because we most definitely understand that struggle far too well for our liking.
You want your tree to look elegant, bold, and brighter than the sun. But it’s hard to do that when you don’t know where the lights fit, how to wrap tinsel around each branch, or what order to hang your baubles in.
No need to panic though, since our savvy little elves here at OpenforChristmas have been working hard gathering all the info and tools you need to put that troublesome tinsel on your tree the right way.
Read on to find out just how to put tinsel on a tree and hang your tree decorations like a Christmas pro!
Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Tinsel: A Step-by-Step Guide
Part 1 – Preparing your Christmas Tree
To prepare and decorate your Christmas tree, you must first decide which kind of tree would be best suited to your home and lifestyle.
If you abhor the dreaded clean up that comes with real traditional trees, then we recommend opting for an artificial Christmas tree.
However, if the scent of natural pine and a wood trunk fill you with festive warmth, then check out these potted Christmas trees from ChristmasTreesDirect.
Once you’ve found your forever tree, you can now move on to getting it primed and prepped for decorating.
Step 1: Measure Your Tree
To measure your tree, you must take into consideration two key elements:
In their guide on how to choose an artificial Christmas tree, leading Christmas tree brand Balsam Hill recommends buying a tree that is at least 15cm (6 inches) shorter than the height of your ceiling/room, to ensure that there will be enough space for a tree topper.
Ask yourself this, when deciding how tall of a Christmas tree you want: will this height of [—] cm/inches allow enough room for all of the decorations that I want to hang on this tree?
Certain decorations such as LED lights or tinsel garlands differ in length according to where you buy them from. Therefore, you need to make a decision: do you want to pick a tree that’s tall enough to accommodate the length of your decorations? Alternatively, do you want to cut your tinsel to length to fit your tree?
If you opt for the former, you will need to find a tree that will allow you to drape your lights and your tinsel in a staggered manner, from the tip of the tree right down to the base. On the other hand, if you opt for the latter, you can pick any tree length that you want, and even if it’s short, you can cut the tinsel to size.
2. Width of Floor Space Needed
One of the first things you should do before deciding which kind of Christmas tree you want to buy is to: measure the spot where you intend to display your Christmas tree; then choose a tree that will best fit within your desired space.
If your tree is too thin, you would be better off decorating it with fewer decorations, as the traditional style of decorating (lights, tinsel, baubles, ornaments and candy canes, etc.) will overcrowd your tree and damage the branches.
However, if your Christmas tree is too full, the decorations could appear too sparse and you may have to invest in twice the amount of decorations to fill any voids.
To get around this, we recommend opting for a ‘Slim’ tree. Slim Christmas trees represent the midpoint between the two extremes and allow you to decorate your tree to your heart’s content.
Step 2: Tweak the Branches
To get that authentic, natural appearance on your artificial tree, you must tweak the branches on your tree. Whether or not your tree is artificial, Christmas tree branches often need some major tweaking to get that full, vibrant look.
Well-positioned branches with fluffy pines offer a perfect blank canvas on which to hang your lights and tinsel. Without a well-planned tree structure, your decorations can look uneven, unbalanced and messy.
As John Lewis Assistant Buyer Christmas, Scott Bartle advises, “If you’ve fluffed your tree and the lights are even, you can’t go wrong.”
Step 3: Choose a Colour Scheme
Choosing a streamlined, vibrant colour scheme for your decorations and lights is key to crafting a well-balanced Christmas tree that adds warmth and Christmas joy to your home.
If you mix colours that don’t blend well, then you’ll end up with an eyesore rather than an elegant work of art.
Traditionally, most Christmas trees are decorated in warm, festive colours such as reds, greens, golds and yellows. Red symbolises fire, love, excitement and joy, while greens imbue a sense of life, vivacity and nature, bringing the forest right into your home.
Golds are mainly used to imply luxury and decadence and mimic the ribbons of Christmas presents. The combination of these three colours blends flawlessly to give your home that extra oomph of Christmas joy.
For an authentic winter glow, you can add white Christmas tree lights. White tree lights are particularly bright and eye-catching, which is why we recommend also using these for outdoor Christmas lights. Check out our full guide on the best LED Christmas lights here.
Remember: How do you want your space to feel? For a cosy, fireplace-adjacent experience, blend rich, warm colours. For an icy, North-Pole-esque vibe, consider mixing blue and white.
Part 2 – Decorating your Christmas Tree
Step 1: Lead with the Lights
The first step in decorating your Christmas tree is to add your Christmas tree lights.
As logic would dictate, the best way to decorate a Christmas tree is to start from the top and work your way down. Believe us, we’ve made the same mistake dozens of times over.
However, to ensure that you have enough room for your tree topper, it’s best to start at the base of the trunk, winding the lights around the branches from the bottom up to the tip of the tree (and back, if you still have excess lights).
The best Christmas tree lights are well distributed with no obvious gaps or voids between the branches. There should be gaps of no more than one inch between each bulb, and no more than six inches between each branch.
For a great set of lights that will turn your tree into a glittering winter wonderland, look no further than the LED String Lights from Mygoto, available on Amazon. These lights come with 8 different light modes, perfect for transforming your living room into party central!
Step 2: Time for Tinsel
As decorating trends go, the tradition of decorating your Christmas tree with tinsel has certainly seen a decline in popularity over the years.
However, with inflation ever-growing, and the cost of Christmas reaching record highs in a nationwide pandemic, we’re all looking for cheap alternatives to the luxury norms. Tinsel garlands provide exactly that: a fun, low-cost way to decorate your tree in seasonal style.
So, how do you decorate your Christmas tree with tinsel?
The most important step is to first choose tinsel garlands in colours that match or blend well with your lights. For example, if your lighting scheme is a blend of warm yellows, reds and greens, then we suggest picking copper or gold tinsel to add to the cosy atmosphere.
Alternatively, if you’re opting for more of a wintery theme with your lights, then we recommend blue or silver garlands of tinsel.
Now, to hang your tinsel, simply drape one strand across each level of branches, working your way up from the trunk in stages.
You can check out their full range here.
Step 3: Baubles, Bells and Balance
Here’s where the whole family can join in with the fun!
As with your tinsel, you must choose baubles that match the overall colour scheme of your lights and Christmas tree in general.
For example, red and white Christmas tree décor works really well.
Hanging baubles is a bit like a math equation: you should start from the inside of your tree and work outwards, making sure to leave reasonable gaps between each.
Start with a plain base of baubles for the deeper sections of the tree then as you work outwards, add baubles with some sparkle. Use bigger baubles to fill the interior, adding depth and volume; then, place the smaller baubles along the tips of the branches for boldness.
This 24-piece Christmas Bauble set from YXC offers a mix of both plain and decorated red and white baubles for that traditional theme. To match your blue or silver scheme, we recommend picking up the Mini Christmas Tree Baubles from Christmas Concepts.
Alternatively, if you want to go all out and decorate your tree to the hilt, we recommend the Xmas Tree Hanging Christmas Balls 100-piece set from Aitsite, available on Amazon.
Step 4: Top it All Off with your Tree Topper
Traditionally, whenever we think of the crowning masterpiece, we think of religious symbols like the Star of Bethlehem or angelic icons and cherubs.
However, there are so many unconventional tree toppers out there to choose from.
You could add a sense of childlike whimsy and fun with a Santa-esque topper, like the Swedish Gnome Xmas Tree Topper from Amosfun, available on Amazon.
Or, you could bring the festive frost inside, with this Snowman Tree Topper from Dee Banna, also available on Amazon.
Or, if you happen to be a stickler for that traditional Christian vibe, we recommend checking out this beautiful 3D Geometric Star from Lewondr.
Unusual Christmas Tree Decorations
Taking a frosted leaf out of the Big Book of American Christmas Traditions, you could partake in the old-fashioned tradition of wrapping your Christmas tree in garlands of popcorn.
A tradition that was brought over to America by German immigrants, using popcorn as a holiday decoration became popular in the 19th and 20th centuries due to the failing economy, and the fact that cheap snack foods were seen as a fun Christmas treat by many youngsters.
As a way of making the popcorn festive and fun, they would colour the popcorn using various dyes, load other snacks onto the strings, such as nuts, fruits and seeds.
How to Make Your Own Popcorn Garland:
1. Use wax-covered dental floss, fishing line, or sewing thread, and a tapestry needle.
2. Tie a knot at one end of the string so that the kernels don’t fall off.
3. Use popcorn that is at least a day old (newly-popped kernels break very easily).
4. Thread the needle cautiously through the middle of the popcorn.
5. Move each kernel to the end of the string once you’ve loaded them individually.
6. If you want to include dried fruits or nuts, load your string in an alternating pattern; for example, popcorn-nut-popcorn, or popcorn-fruit-popcorn, etc…
Bear in mind that if you’re using fresh fruit instead of dried, you will have to prepare for potential juice stains by wearing some old, unused clothes and to protect the area that you’re working in with newspaper or cloth.
Final Thoughts on How to Put Tinsel On a Christmas Tree & Decorate Like a Pro
There you have it: the fruits of your labour actualised in a well-balanced, striking tree decorated to the very stars Mary and Joseph walked under all those centuries ago.
Now, in the dusk of the start to a new decade, all that’s left to do is find, wrap and put the presents under the glittering masterpiece that is your Christmas tree!
Related Christmas Decoration Articles:
- The Best Artificial Christmas Trees 2020
- The Best Christmas Tree Topper for Your Tree
- How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbon
- Ultimate Guide to Victorian Christmas Decorations
- Christmas Tree Baubles: The Best Ultimate Guide
- The Best LED Christmas Lights in the US
- Best Red and White Christmas Tree Decorations
- The Best Farmhouse Christmas Ornaments and Easy DIY Ideas