The Ultimate Christmas Tree Decoration Guide

Last update: 7 months ago

18 min read

Christmas tree decoration

It’s Christmas time! You have probably bought your Christmas tree already or you’re waiting for it to be delivered to your door and installed as well. Getting your house into the festive Christmas mood is the fun part of the holiday.

We offer you an extensive guide on how to decorate your Christmas tree. It contains all of the information you might need as well as some handy tips and tricks, take a look below.

Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?

Real Decorated Christmas Tree

The tradition of having a Christmas tree on this holiday started back in the 19th century. Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to the Britons in the mids of 1800s. It was brought from Germany and placed in Windsor Castle. An illustration of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria and their kids standing around their Christmas tree was published in a newspaper, which made the tradition popular.

Why Do We Decorate Christmas Trees?

During the first years of putting Christmas trees up, they used to be decorated with candles. People used cakes and sweets along with a ribbon to hang them on the branches. The Christmas tree topper is usually a star or an angel, which represents the angel who brought the happy news of Jesus’s birth to the shepherds in the fields.

But where does the Christmas tradition come from actually? It was started long before that – in the 16th century in Eastern Europe.

The evergreen trees we know as Christmas trees today were associated with this holiday at the beginning of the 1500s. They were a winter decoration at first, but later they became a symbol of Christmas because they were used in nativity plays. However, many of them were banned in the 16th century, so people added Christmas trees to their holiday decoration, making them the star of the show.

Why Do We Put Ornaments On The Christmas Tree And Where Do They Come From?

Putting ornaments on your Christmas tree is known as one of the traditions that are associated with Christmas. Nowadays, baubles, ornaments, angels and little Santas come in all shapes and colours and can be bought from anywhere in the world. Back in the time, baubles were first manufactured from glass as they were meant for wealthy people. Soon after that, plastic Christmas ornaments were made as well so that everyone could afford them.

The first Christmas baubles in the world were produced in Germany. They were invented by Hans Greiner in Lauscha by the end of the 1840s. Baubles were first manufactured in the shape of glass nuts and fruits but got a more spherical shape later on.

If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it has an excellent needle retention, such as a Nordmann Fir. It is perfect for hanging heavy ornaments.

How Tall Should My Christmas Tree Be?

First, you need to pick the right spot for your tree. This will help you find out how much space you have. You need to determine the height and width of your Christmas tree. Make sure to maintain a distance between your ceiling and your tree of about a meter, if not more. You will use this leftover space for your Christmas tree topper and your tree stand.

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How Many Ornaments Should Be On A Christmas Tree?

In order to get a better idea for how many ornaments you need to put on your Christmas tree, check out the table below.

Christmas Tree HeightApprox. Number Of Ornaments Needed
4 ft75
5 ft112
6 ft135
7 ft182
8 ft220

What is the average size of a Christmas ball ornament?

Christmas ornaments come in all sizes, shapes and colours. This way they fit Christmas trees of different sizes. Smaller ornaments fit perfectly with smaller trees whereas taller ones need larger baubles to catch the eye. The average Christmas ornament size is between 3 or 4 inches (7-10 cm). 

How To Measure The Length Of The Christmas Garland?

If you want to avoid spending extra money on Christmas decorations you are not going to use, better determine how much of each piece you are going to need. Check out the table below to find out how much garland you’ll need for each tree size.

Christmas Tree HeightGarland Length
4 ft20 ft (6 meters)
5 ft25 ft (approx. 8 meters)
6 ft30 ft (9 meters)
7 ft35 ft (approx. 11 meters)
8 ft40 ft (12 meters)

How Many Lights Do You Need For Your Christmas Tree?

Christmas lights are gorgeous and make each tree stand out, but too much of something is not always necessary. Just as it goes with garlands, holiday lights might not be quite enough for your tree. Or it may turn out you have way too many of them than you actually need. The table below will help you find out how many lights you need for your Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree HeightChristmas Lights Needed (Natural spread)
4 ft101 Christmas Lights
5 ft138 Christmas Lights
6 ft190 Christmas Lights
7 ft236 Christmas Lights
8 ft285 Christmas Lights

When Is The Best Time To Put Your Christmas Tree Up?

Decorated Real Christmas Tree

As a matter of fact, there isn’t a specific time of the year you must hold on when it comes to festive decor. It all depends on each and everyone’s preparation and preference. If November is too early for Christmas decorations in your opinion, then you might as well wait a bit more. If you can’t wait though, don’t worry about it. Early decorations won’t do any harm to you as it’s not a bad luck to put your Christmas tree up early.

Most people tend to stick to the tradition of waiting up till Christmas to finally decorate. If you are one of them, then don’t hesitate to put up your tree on Christmas Eve. However, according to other beliefs, Christmas trees should be put up at the beginning of Advent. It usually starts four Sundays before Christmas.

Christmas Decoration Declutter Tips

If you want to enjoy the decoration process itself, better throw away all the unnecessary stuff first. You can declutter your Christmas items before the holidays in a few easy steps. You will definitely feel much better as soon as you are done with it. Here is what you need to do:

  • Take all your Christmas decor out. Get everything out of the boxes you store them in and lay them down in front of you. This way you will actually understand how much stuff you have and what you don’t really want to keep at home.
  • Sort your decor pieces into three piles – one for donations, one for the things you want to keep and another one for the decorations you will throw away. If you don’t know what to do with broken glass ornaments that you can’t fix, better let go of them. Keep your sentimental pieces in a separate box if they don’t match your current festive theme. You can donate the stuff that doesn’t make you happy or you won’t use anymore.
  • Christmas lights are one of the things that we tend to stock up on a lot. Don’t miss to go through your festive lights. Check for burnt light bulbs and untangle them to see if there are any broken Christmas lights cords. Don’t postpone fixing them if you know you will never do it. Throw away lights with broken cords, don’t say you’ll fix them with tape. They can cause a potential fire and ruin your holidays, as well as burn down your home.
  • Check your Christmas garlands. You certainly don’t need those which have lost their glamour as well as those that are far too old.

When Decorating A Christmas Tree What Goes On First?

When decorating a Christmas tree, the Christmas lights are the first decor item that goes up. Putting them first makes the job so much faster and easier. Various designs are sold on the market so your options are endless. However, have you ever asked yourself what do Christmas lights symbolize? They are considered a symbol of hope and good in the world and light.

Up next come the Christmas garlands in all their glory and there are no specific ways or rules you should follow to put them on your tree. How many garlands you will need to decorate your tree really depends on its size. Normally, two strands per every vertical foot will be enough. Ribbons are the most popular alternative to Christmas garlands, so don’t hesitate to use those if you prefer.

Decorating Christmas trees with ribbon is not difficult at all and there are no rules on how it should be done either. You just need to cut strips of the ribbon and tuck it in your tree. But how to decorate a Christmas tree with ribbon vertically? It isn’t hard either. Start from the top of your tree. Let the ribbon follow the height of your tree all the way to its base. You can leave it like that or tuck the ribbon into your tree as well.

Did you know that people used to decorate Christmas trees with candles back in the day? They resembled the stars on the sky. However, using real candles was quite dangerous. Not to mention how difficult it was to attach the candles to the branches. People used some melted wax which acted as adhesive. They tied the candles to the branches with a wire or string and pinned them down with a needle. However, a clip-on candle holder was invented in 1878 and it made things so much easier.

How To Toddler-Proof Your Christmas Tree

Even if you buy a real tree with soft foliage, such as the Nordmann Fir, both your tree and your toddler might be in danger. Christmas lights, ornaments and garlands are colourful and interesting to the little ones. Therefore you should consider a Christmas tree guard for toddlers.

One of the most popular ways to get this done is to go for toddler-proof Christmas tree fence. They literally look just like the typical fence you might already have outside your property. Decorate your tree first and then surround it with a Christmas tree fence. This will ensure your calmness as both, your kids and your tree will be safe.

If don’t want to surround your tree with a fence, then you might as well go for other options. One of the ways to toddler-proof your tree is to add your ornaments on the upper part of your tree. In case you find this too overwhelming, then you can hang plastic ornaments to the lower half. This way your children won’t get hurt in case one of the ornaments gets broken.

A good tip to prevent accidents with your Christmas tree is to position it in a corner. This way there won’t be many chances for it to fall down.

How To Pet-Proof Your Christmas Tree

So while you can decorate your tree while your toddler is sleeping, you might not be able to do the same thing if your cat or dog is in the room. If you want to secure your tree from your pets, follow these tips:

  • Pets love playing with small items so make sure they are not in the room while you are decorating. Moving your Christmas decorations around might seem like a game to them and they can replace your decor pieces later on.
  • Choose your location wisely – avoid placing your tree nearby other pieces of furniture. Cats will find it so easy to jump off them right on to your tree.
  • Make sure your pets won’t drink from the water in the Christmas tree stand. Firstly, the water may contain dangerous bacteria that can harm your pet’s health. Secondly, your Christmas tree will dry out fast.
  • Secure your Christmas tree from pet attacks by stabilizing it. You will need a stable base for your Christmas tree to make sure your pets won’t tilt it over when passing by around it.

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10 Festive Decorations Safety Tips To Consider

No matter how excited you might get during the holidays, safety must be the first thing you should keep in mind when decorating your house. Here are our 10 Christmas holiday safety tips you may find useful:

  • Keep your real Christmas tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, air conditioners, electric heaters, etc. This will make your tree dry out fast and it will lose its needles.
  • Keep your Christmas tree hydrated. Dried-out trees are more flammable than those that are regularly watered. Keep the water level above the base of the trunk to ensure it stays put for longer.
  • Check your Christmas lights. Loose connections, damaged sockets and wires can be a great source of danger and cause a fire. Don’t forget that traditional Christmas lights produce heat which can lead to a fire. On the other hand, LED Christmas lights are fireproof, don’t produce heat and are more energy-sufficient.
  • Turn your Christmas lights off before you go to bed or when you intend to leave the house.
  • Scented candles contribute to the holiday atmosphere wonderfully, but open flames are really dangerous. Never leave the house or go to bed without blowing them out first.
  • Put candles on a stable surface, where kids or pets can’t reach them.
  • When buying artificial trees, look for the “Fire Resistant” label to ensure your property’s safety during the holidays. This label indicates that fake trees are more resistant to catching on fire, but they still can so be cautious.
  • Make sure to turn off the electricity to the outlet supply before considering any operations with the wiring.
  • Check your extension cords. They must be safe for use, without any broken parts or exposed cables.
  • Child-proof your Christmas decorations. Avoid sharp and weighted pieces as well as decor items which are food-related or resemble candy. This way you kids will not be tempted to grab them or hurt themselves.

Christmas Decorating Mistakes To Avoid This Holiday

Sometimes people tend to overdo it when it comes to festive decorations and some houses end up looking like Christmas decorating disasters. Below you will find several quick tips on how to avoid that:

  • Pick the right spot for your Christmas tree. If you place real Christmas trees near fire sources they will dry out. Also, think about rearranging your furniture so that your pets can’t jump right on top of your tree and pull it down. A lot of damages can be done to your tree and ornaments, and your pet may get hurt.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights consume a lot of energy and they may also bother your neighbours. You can buy Christmas lights on timers instead. What you will need are two or four plug-in modules to install your exterior Christmas lights safely. Opt for LED lights as they don’t emit such a strong and disturbing light.
  • Make sure you don’t overload extension cords and outlets.
  • Don’t go overboard when decorating your property. Stick to your colour theme and add just 2 or 3 festive decor pieces per room to avoid a cluttered look.
  • Measure the height of your ceiling before you buy your Christmas tree. If your tree is taller than your room’s height, it will never fit in your house.
  • Keep a good distance between your fireplace and your stockings. They can catch on fire quite easily.

Read also:

What is Better: Real or Artificial Christmas Tree?

Easy Ways To Incorporate Nature Into Christmas Decorations

Eco-friendly gift wrapping

There are many ways to add cosiness to our homes when decorating for the holidays. But you can also use elements from nature to celebrate this occasion. Decorate with naturally scented candles instead of artificial ones and make your own wreaths and centrepieces. Here are some ways you can achieve that:

  • Wreaths symbolize eternal life and make each home more inviting. You can make it yourself using greenery branches as well as pine cones. Add some berries to accentuate it.
  • Natural Scented Candles are a must. But what scents smell like Christmas? Orange, cinnamon and gingerbread are just a few of the most popular aromas which remind us of Christmas all the time.
  • Dining table decorations don’t need to be overwhelming. Grab a few lanterns of different sizes. Add a tall plain-coloured candle in the middle and surround it with two or three greenery branches. A couple of tiny pine cones will look great as well. Keep it neutral or add berries for some pop of colour, if you prefer.

Eco-friendly Gift Wrapping Tips

Each year, thousands of trees get cut for the production of new wrapping paper. In order to cut down the paper waste we create and save money on gift wrapping, we can use more eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper.

  • Fabric gift wrapping is a Japanese method you can take advantage of. Fabrics come in various colours and patterns which resemble the traditional wrapping paper.
  • Use old maps, brown paper bags and old newspapers to wrap your presents. Newspapers are known for being a more sustainable material. Brown paper bags that you get from your local supermarket are simple and plain. It won’t be difficult to add a festive touch to them. Old maps will make your gifts look extra special.
  • Tie a colourful ribbon around empty cookie jars, mason jars or old jewelry boxes you are not using anymore.

Eco-friendly Christmas Decorations

It takes almost no effort to create something unique fast and easy with supplies you already might have on hand. Making Christmassy decor is quite fun but it can be just as elegant while using eco-friendly materials. Check out our ideas below:

  • Recycled Paper Christmas Decorations – You will need some old books or newspapers as well as a ribbon with a colour of your choice or twine. Don’t forget to grab a stapler and get creative! Cut strips with the same thickness and varying length. Arrange the strips however you like and staple the top and the bottom. Make a hole at the top and add a piece of the ribbon or twine so that you can hang it on your Christmas tree or your ceiling.
  • Make your own eco-friendly Christmas candle holder – Most candles come in containers anyway. They carry Christmassy scent but they don’t always match our decor. You can change that using cinnamon sticks, a hair elastic and a ribbon for festivity. Attach the hair elastic to the container and then add the cinnamon sticks alternating them one by one. Add a red ribbon for some festive finish.
  • Pinecone wreath – A greenery-free wreath will not look bad on your front door at all. It is just another option you can go for but consider tying a big red bow on its top. This will make it Christmas-special. Glue all pine cones evenly in two or three rows to keep it balanced.
  • Hot Chocolate Centrepiece – What says “It’s Christmas time!” more than a cup of hot chocolate? Make your own hot chocolate mix and use it as a centrepiece or as an edible gift. You will need a few jars as well as red ribbons and hot chocolate ingredients. Find the recipe that you love most and present it on your dinner table. Don’t forget to include several holiday mugs. Tie the ribbons around your jars to match them with your overall holiday decor.

When Should You Take Your Christmas Tree Down?

There are numerous opinions on when we should remove Christmas decorations. Traditionally, Christmas trees are removed on the Twelfth Night after Christmas. It is usually on the 5th of January or the 6th. By the 19th century, Christmas used to be celebrated for 12 days starting from the 25th of December. This is where the name of the Twelfth Day comes from.

This tradition was started ever since the Victorian era. It is believed that leaving your holiday decor up after this date may bring you bad luck. Also, a lot of people find it unlucky to remove their Christmas tree before this date.

Can You Replant A Christmas Tree?

Don’t forget that real Christmas trees are plants as well. Taking care of them during the festive season helps maintain them alive. Certainly, replanting Christmas trees is absolutely possible. If your choice was a potted Christmas tree, don’t get rid of it as soon as holidays are over.

Pick a spot in your garden, avoid wires and your house foundations, and then dig a hole. It should be around 12 inches wider than your Christmas tree’s root spread. All that is left to do is fill the hole with mulch and remove it somewhere in January or February. After this is done, you can finally fill the hole with soil.

Check also:

Replant, Reuse, Recycle – 3 Responsible Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree

Christmas decorations bring joy and create a cosy mood, preparing us for the upcoming holidays. But sometimes it can get too overwhelming and we don’t always approve the final results. However, festive decorations can be dangerous, too. Therefore it is important to keep our Christmas decorations balanced and safely installed.

Did you find this article helpful and worth sharing? Or do you have any other interesting ideas on how to improve your front garden look? Then, please, tell us about them in the comment box below!

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you so much for this useful article. It was a fun read. Much props to the writer. It has everything we need to know.

  • Wow, this is an extensive Christmas tree decoration guide. Love your emphasis on an eco-friendly Christmas. As well as recycled wrapping materials, you could also use more recycled materials for your tree. Love the hot chocolate idea too.

  • Great tips and wonderful article! I wish I had read it before putting my decorations. I will definitely use your tips next year.

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