the ultimate Tree Decorating Guide

We've created the ultimate Tree Decorating How-To. Whether this is the first tree you have put-up on your own or you are just interested in decorating more efficiently, our Tree Decorating Guide outlines everything you need to express your style and give your space that wow-factor. 

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helpful tips

To Get Started

Fluffed and Full

To keep your tree from looking scraggly, you have to fluff before you put anything else on it. Take the time to spread out all the branches. If you notice that there are a lot of holes, you can add extra greenery sprigs to make it look fuller. A trick of the trade we love to make your tree look higher-end is to add sprigs that contrast with the tree. For example, if your tree is the traditional evergreen, add flocked sprigs or vice versa. It creates contrast and appeal. If you do not have enough sprigs, you can also use your ribbon to strategically hide holes later on. 

Fluffing Tips

Trimming Order

The order in which you put your lights, ribbon, and ornaments on matters. To avoid a tangled mess, start with the lights. You are going to need a lot of lights, 100 per foot of height. So, for the average 8ft tree, that's 800 lights. We prefer soft white lights, but if you like color, go for it. Next, put on your ribbon. All of our Merrymakers agree that designer ribbon is the ultimate way to elevate your tree. (A blog post dedicated to ribbon decorating techniques is coming, so stay tuned!) Finally, put on your ornaments. We suggest starting with the largest first, and place in a triangle or diamond pattern. If your tree is in a corner, focus on the parts people will see- there is no rule that the entire 360 circumference has to be decorated. 

Trim Sequence

Top It Off

The final element to make your tree look like it was decorated by a professional is: more Sprigs. Depending on the look your are going for, pick out some artificial glitter sprigs, florals, or berries in complimentary colors to your ribbon and stick them into the tree. We recommend having them extend out further the closer you get to the top. Finally, add your topper. Our favorite way to tie the tree together is a sprig topper: it adds height and dimension to your tree, not to mention visual appeal. You will need around 10-15 sprigs in a topper and should start by placing your largest ones first. The shortest sprigs go in the front. Tip: use wire to secure the sprigs to the top of the tree and maintain the weight distribution to keep it balanced and the tree from falling over. 

Sprig Topper

tree decorating


Things I Would Never Do

1. Wrap the ribbon horizontally around the tree. There are so many better techniques. 

2. Overdo a singular color or pattern. Instead, mix and match complimentary colors and textures. 

3. Only have one or two ball-shaped ornaments. You need odd numbers of these accents with a minimum of three.

4. Buy a live tree. There. I said it. Bring on the controversy, but they are so difficult to work with! 

5. Be trapped by tradition. Get inspired, try new styles, and have fun with your decorations.

What Not To Do

On average, it takes me around two hours to fully decorate a 6-7 foot tree. The taller it is, the longer it takes, especially if you have to climb up and down a ladder. Yes, it is a lot of work. But it's worth it. A beautifully decorated home or business sets the tone for the holidays. It encourages you to invite guests over and creates a festive atmosphere. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out.


No time to decorate? No Problem. Hire a Merrymaker today!

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