Step 1: Lights
My Dad (to whom we lovingly refer as "The Wizard") would tell you that this step is the most important one. He has a 10ft tall faux Frasier Fir that he puts over 1100 lights on every year. You have to put your sunglasses on just to enter his home through the front door. I am not as patient as he is, though I do believe you need a well-lit tree. If you have a pre-lit tree, then just plug in and you are ready to roll, unless of course some of your lights won’t come on! If you are putting your own lights on your tree then start at the bottom of the tree at the back and begin to work your way around. You also want to run the lights up and down the branches as you work your way around so that your tree has lights in the center as well as the outer branches. Remember you should have no more than 3 strands of lights connecting to each other. If you have a large tree you may need to run an extension cord up the center of the trunk to start a new strand of lights. If you end up with extra lights at the top of the tree you can run them down the center of the tree to help illuminate it from the inside out.
Step 2: The Topper
Many would save the topper until last but I like to put it on before I do anything else. If you choose to use a classic simple topper then this will not take you long. If you like to have a bow at the top of your tree, it is good to put it on first so you can place the tails where you want them without having to worry about bumping your ornaments. I like to put unusual things in the tops of my trees. You will see from the sample pictures that the sky is the limit! From wooden reindeer to chandeliers, we are willing to try anything!
If you are using any type garland or ribbon around the tree, now is the time to do it! You want to wrap the tree before you fill it with stems and ornaments. With paper or stiff garland you want to tuck it in at certain points to create a billowy effect. If you are using beaded or glass garland, you want to drape it loosely so it doesn’t look too tightly wound on the tree.
I love to add glittery stems or berries of some sort. I even love to add picks of pine and different greenery. You can see in the sample pictures that I added butterfly picks to the garden tree. This really adds some depth and interest to your tree and helps to create a nice full look. I usually have a higher concentration of picks at the top and then intersperse them through the tree all the way to the bottom.
I like to put on all the larger ornaments first. Be sure to work your way from the inside of the tree outward. You don’t want all of your ornaments dangling on the end of the branches and have emptiness in the middle. The larger ornaments are great for filling the spaces between the branches on the inside of the tree. Concentrate most of your large ornaments in the middle and the bottom of the tree. Sometimes they can be a little overwhelming at the top.
Finish the tree by decking it out with the rest of your ornaments. If you have any ornaments that clip (i.e. flowers, birds, candles etc.) clip those on the outer tips of the braches very last. Don’t be afraid that you are using too many ornaments. It is my opinion that less is not more when it comes to your Christmas tree!
Last but not least, add the tree skirt. If you have a premade tree skirt that you love, go for it. If not, don’t be afraid to use an old quilt or yardage of fabric that matches your décor. I have even used table cloths before! Just find something that really goes with the personality of your tree and your room.
If you like some of the items you have seen in the pictures, head on over to the store page and treat yourself to some new Christmas Décor! http://www.southernmercantile.com/store/c7/Seasonal.html