A well-decorated tree is at the heart of a memorable Christmas. The decorations you use can be lovely odes to cherished Christmas traditions. Likewise, your decorations can demonstrate fresh ideas that will ward off any winter blues.

christmas trees with beautiful themesWhichever way you choose to decorate, we’re here to help you with the “how?” in this ultimate guide to Christmas tree decorating. From planning your decorating, to topping off the tree, and everything in between—discover the methods and ideas to decorate your Christmas tree like a pro in this guide.

Planning for the Best Dressed Christmas Tree

Before we dive into the elements that of an expertly decorated Christmas tree, here are some tips to help set you up for success.

Idea/Mood Board

Want to create a tree that looks like the work of a professional? Then you’ll need to start with a cohesive decoration plan. Make an idea/mood board like interior designers do. A board with all of your ideas in one place will help you organize your decorations by category, types, and colors for easier ideation and arrangement.

mood board for decorating treeFurthermore, an idea board will help keep your color theme on track, as you have access to many shades of red, green, gold, and similar holiday hues. But why limit it to "Christmas colors?" Here's where you can get exciting and shake up traditions with a unique tree color theme. Organizing through mood board will help you arrange your colors and tones by categories of brilliance, such as bright or muted.


A cohesive theme is what results from using a mood board. Stick to your theme, and your Christmas tree decorating will stay consistent.

You have nearly endless ways to bring your Christmas tree to life with all of the available combinations of decorations. Let your imagination run wild! Here are some great ideas for tree decoration themes:

  • Candy and gingerbread men, usually done in red and white
  • Grinch green and red palette with the iconic imagery
  • Metal tones of silver, gold, or copper
  • Jewel tones of ruby, sapphire, or emerald
  • Pastel in pink or blue
  • Monochrome decorations in all red, all silver, etc.

Keep in mind that elements with shine, shimmer, and glitter are important to any tree because they help reflect the Christmas lights in your tree, adding more beauty and volume.

tree with candy theme

Want to do more? Then don’t limit yourself to just one tree. You can put up a smaller tree in your room, the dining room, foyer, or children’s rooms. On your extra tree, you can put up family decorations that carry special memories and nostalgia.

Decoration List

The best way to do Christmas tree decorating is to plan out all of the decorations you’ll put on your tree and put them onto a definitive list. This is more efficient than sporadic decorating followed by purchasing more decorations, and then repeating. But if you already have a set of decorations ready for use or you’re going with a usual set, you can always expand and build onto what you have by piece.

And don’t forget to include useful supplies that will help keep your Christmas tree decorations in place, such as ornament hooks (or small ribbon, which we’ll talk about later) and zip ties.

Types of Artificial Christmas Trees — Your Foundation for Evergreen Christmas Decorating

Your tree is the foundation for synthesizing everything in your Christmas tree decorating. A number of artificial trees are pre-fitted with lights, flocked with artificial snow, or may include a set of pre-selected ornaments such as round ornaments or natural looking pinecones. As you build your list of ornaments to put on your tree, coordinating with any pre-fitted or included decorations will help turn your tree into a captivating Christmas marvel.

Pre-Lit Christmas Trees

This type of tree is the perfect choice if you already plan on using lights, which takes the work out of lighting your tree for many Christmases to come! Pre-lit artificial Christmas trees are easy to find, and are often outfitted with either warm white or multi-color lights.

These trees provide lots of creative room for a range of decorations and themes to explore in your Christmas tree decorating.

Flocked Christmas Trees

These trees instantly imbue the magic of winter vibes within any indoor space, featuring artificial snow flocked onto the needles and branches. Some flocked artificial Christmas trees are pre-lit with warm white lights that pair beautifully with flocked artificial snow.

flocked christmas treeFlocked trees are great for natural Christmas tree decorating themes. Ornaments that resemble natural features are excellent decorations for these trees. Picks and sprays, such as red berry picks, also make tasteful additions.

Colorful Christmas Trees

Vibrant and eye-catching, colorful Christmas trees eschew natural looks for a canvas of color. Trees in colors such as glacier white or tinsel red are interesting alternatives to natural looking trees. They’re great foundations for creative decorating, and make a lovely centerpiece to original Christmas arrangements.

Personal or Family Trees

Here are some trees that you can try something completely new with, or dress in treasured Christmas heirlooms, family photos, and the most beloved of your Christmas decorations. Personal or family trees are perfect when placed in dining rooms, by antique furniture such as pianos or chests, in guest bedrooms, or children’s rooms.

small personalized christmas tree ideasTable Top Trees

These cute trees turn small spaces into happy Christmas places. Table top trees are perfect on the surfaces of common room furniture like end tables.

Pencil Trees

Indicative of its name, the pencil tree is a thin tree. It makes a great tree for any area that’s limited in space.

Ribbon — Wrapped-Up, Top-to-Bottom, or All the Way Around

If you’re going to decorate with ribbon, start with it: ribbon works best as part of the base layer. Ribbons come in many colors, materials, and designs. We recommend using one to three types of ribbon depending on how you’ll decorate your tree. The more ribbon on your tree, the less room for ornaments and other decorations. Ribbon can play a major role in Christmas tree decorating, or it can be a unique way of filling in gaps. Tucking long strips of ribbon into your tree does wonders to help spread light, especially with shimmery or glittery ribbon.

Types of Ribbon

Red, green, or gold are wonderful colors for ribbon in your Christmas tree decorating. You can also find ribbon in a number of patterns: plaids, stripes, repeating designs of holly, snow flakes, and other Christmas imagery. And for finishes and materials, ribbons can be glittered, embossed, sequined, and more. For Christmas tree decorating, go with ribbon 2 inches or wider, up to 4 inches, so that the ribbon appears substantial enough across the surface of your tree.

ribbon in christmas treeHow to Decorate with Ribbon

You can put the ribbon on your tree in classic fashion, or try different styles of ribbon that breathe new life into this area of decorating. The classic way of putting up ribbon is the spiral that wraps around your tree, top-to-bottom. But you have plenty of other ways to decorate with ribbon, too.

You can create your columns in one of two ways: tie one end of ribbon near the top of the tree and curl down and around branches toward the bottom, or tuck the ribbon around the back of the branches in 6 to 12 inch intervals as you bring the ribbon down to the bottom of the tree. The first way puts a lot of curve into the columns, while the second creates a ripple effect.

You can also cut your ribbon into shorter, two to three foot sections and intersperse the curl or ripple column style across your tree. Short ribbon sections can also be tied into bows and spaced out atop different branches of your tree.

The more creative ways of decking your tree out in ribbon are easiest on artificial indoor Christmas trees because the wire branches are easier to work with. Techniques for putting ribbon on your tree abound. Use these styles or try your own!

Lights — Brighten Your Holidays

These are the most brilliant of pieces in Christmas tree decorating! Beautiful lights on a Christmas tree are positively enchanting, and can delight your friends and family with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.

So what are the perfect lights for your tree? It depends! But one thing is for sure—LED lights are the way to go. In fact, LED lights are far and away the best type of light you can use thanks to improved durability, longer life, greater energy efficiency, and maybe most important of all, a more brilliant shine. And since we’re on the topic: a tree that’s pre-lit with LED lights means you won’t have to worry about branches burning out or tree light replacements nearly as often as with incandescent pre-lit trees.

We’ve narrowed down your lighting options to a list of lights that are sure to be a spectacle on your tree:

Explore which lights are best for your tree and how to choose the right style here!

Join us for part two as we dive into one of the biggest keys to decorating most trees—ornaments—as well as other decorations that will make your tree a Christmastime phenomenon. And in part two, we’ll also share the most important part of Christmas tree decorating…

For all of your Christmas decorating questions, please reach out to us at our email: info@christmasdesigners.com. Or, call our number: 1-800-391-5280. We’re ready to serve you with premier expertise in all things Christmas decorating.