How to Decorate a Stunning Christmas Tree: Step-by-Step Guide for a Festive Wonderland

Looking to transform your Christmas tree into a dazzling centerpiece that will leave jaws dropping? Look no further! In this article, we'll show you how to decorate a Christmas tree like a pro, guiding you through each step and sharing expert tips along the way. From choosing the perfect tree to adding the finishing touches, you'll discover all the secrets to creating a show-stopping holiday masterpiece. Get ready to unleash your creativity and make this year's tree the most extraordinary one yet!

Step 1: Choose Your Christmas Tree

When it comes to Christmas trees, you have the choice between fresh or faux. Whether you opt for a real tree or an artificial one, you can follow the same decorating steps. There are plenty of options available for artificial trees, and I have had both good and bad experiences with them. Personally, I recommend getting a pre-lit tree, as it saves a lot of time and ensures that the lights are evenly spaced.

If you are willing to spend a bit more, Balsam Hill trees are absolutely beautiful. I have their pre-lit 6.5' Noble Fir tree, and I think it is stunning. It is full, easy to set up, and the branches look realistic even up close. Take a look at the image below to see how it looks:

This faux Christmas tree is a favorite - SO full and realistic!

Balsam Hill now also sells trees on Amazon, offering more affordable options that are exclusive to Amazon. One example is their pre-lit 7-foot tree, which is about half the price of their other trees and comes in different heights. You can find it here.

Another great Balsam Hill tree that I have is their 7.5-foot frosted fraser fir. It is slightly narrower than the other tree, which was perfect for the space I needed it for. Plus, it is flocked with faux snow, giving it a beautiful wintry look. Check out the image below to see it fully decorated:

If you're looking for a great faux Christmas tree that's flocked with snow, I love this one!

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, I used a 7.5-foot flocked tree from Walmart in my girls' room last year. It is not as full as the Balsam Hill tree, but once you add the ribbon and ornaments, you can hardly tell the difference. Take a look at the image below:

A great budget friendly faux flocked Christmas tree that doesn't look cheap!

Lastly, I decorated a snow-flocked tree last year, and it turned out beautifully. It is full and comes in different heights. Here's a picture of it:

Christmas gift ideas for couples!

Invest in a High-Quality Artificial Tree

Opting for a high-quality artificial tree can make a significant difference in your Christmas decorating experience. These trees are crafted from premium materials, providing sturdy support for your decorations. They are also more durable and can withstand years of use without losing their beauty.

When choosing an artificial tree, it is best to go for a traditional design that won't go out of style quickly. Traditional trees serve as a great base for layering and decorating as you please. While pre-lit trees are popular for their time-saving benefits, an unlit tree allows you to choose your preferred style of lights. Consider the size of your space when selecting a tree, ensuring it fits without making the room feel cramped. Slim Christmas trees, including narrow pencil designs, are great options for tight spaces. Additionally, look for models with advanced features that make setup and storage easy to prevent wear and tear.

Don't forget to invest in proper Christmas tree storage, such as storage bags and boxes, as well as storage solutions for wreaths, garlands, and lights. This way, you'll be fully equipped to take down your tree and pack everything away once the holiday season is over.

If you prefer a real Christmas tree, you can find a great selection at tree farms, markets, or home and DIY stores. Popular varieties include Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce. For more information on real Christmas trees, check out our Real Christmas Trees Guide.


Before decorating your tree, make sure to fluff all of the branches and ensure that the tree is standing straight from top to bottom. It's important to check that all the lights are working properly before adding decorations. To make the decorating process easier, keep the tree lights on while decorating. Also, gather the following supplies: ornament hooks, floral wire, pipe cleaners, zip ties (for heavier or bulkier items), wire snips, and scissors.

Gathering all the supplies for decorating the flocked Christmas tree.


Begin decorating your tree by focusing on the tree topper. The topper is considered the highlight of the tree and sets the tone for the entire decor. However, it is best not to place the topper right on the tip-top of the tree. Instead, position it slightly lower, about a hand's width down, so that it looks more aesthetically pleasing. Attach the topper securely using floral wire or zip ties. Remember to combine the topper with additional elements such as picks and ribbon for an enhanced look.

A woman putting Christmas tree topper using red roses.

Most ornaments, like stars or angels, look best when paired with other items such as picks or ribbon. It is recommended to start adding the first layer of topper picks slightly below the main topper, using three long spikey picks. If you are not using any other item on top, start the first layer of topper picks slightly down from the tree's tip. Continue adding layers of picks, opting for shorter and fuller ones as you go. Don't hesitate to experiment with different directions and combinations to create interest and depth.

Christmas tree topper with a reindeer and feathers.

Step 2: Add Ribbon

Adding ribbon to a Christmas tree can be a challenge, but it can greatly enhance its appearance. Rather than simply wrapping a long roll of ribbon around the tree, try different techniques to achieve a more visually pleasing result. Here are seven methods you can use to add ribbon to your tree:

  1. Single Loop: Cut a small piece of ribbon, approximately 18 inches long. Tuck one end deep into a tree branch, then let the ribbon form a loop and tuck the other end into another branch.
  2. Twist & Tuck: Use a longer piece of ribbon, around 3 feet in length. Tuck one end into the tree, loop it to another branch, twist the ribbon 360 degrees, tuck that part into a branch, and continue until all the ribbon is placed.
  3. Faux Bow: Create two or three loops of ribbon with a tail off one end, and staple through the layers. Insert this bow into a hole in the tree, fluff it out, and it will resemble a fancy bow.
  4. Single Loop with Tail: Cut a piece of ribbon about 24 inches long and loop it as in method number 1, but leave a tail sticking out for added variety and cuteness.
  5. Florist Wire Twist: Use florist wire to secure the ribbon. Tie the wire in the center of the ribbon and attach it to a branch, tucking the loose ribbon ends into other branches. This technique works well to keep the loop and tail looking fluffy.
  6. Droopy Bows: Tie a bow with long tails and place it on top of a tree branch or wire it into place using a piece of wire through the back of the knot. This look works best with non-wired ribbon, such as velvet, satin, or grosgrain.
  7. The Curly Q: Use the Twist & Tuck method or the single loop method, but twirl the ribbon before tucking it in to create a curly look.

Remember, the ribbon placement should have varying directions, heights, and a sense of organized randomness. Start with the boldest ribbon, consider using wired ribbon for easy shaping, and ensure you have enough ribbon to cover the tree adequately. Mixing contrasting ribbons adds visual interest to the tree, and allowing the ribbon to flow naturally creates a more organic look.

how to add ribbon to a tree curly style

Step 3: Add Large Ornaments

After the ribbon, it's time to add your largest ornaments. These ornaments will serve as focal points on the tree. Place them strategically across the tree, aiming for a triangular pattern at different heights. Nestle them deeply into the branches, filling in any natural gaps. These large ornaments help create visual balance and add interest to the overall look of the tree.

how to add large ornaments to a christmas tree

Step 4: Add Small Ornaments

Now it's time to add medium and small ornaments to add color and shimmer to your tree. Mix different sizes and styles of ornaments to create a visually pleasing arrangement. Hang them at different depths, incorporating ornaments right on the tips of branches and placing some deeper within the tree. This layering technique creates depth and dimension in your tree's decor. Consider using various shapes such as stars, houses, or snowflakes to add variety.

christmas tree decorating tips and tricks


To make a statement and elevate your tree's design, consider adding oversized decorations. Let your creativity run wild with this step, as the possibilities are endless. Add 2-3 oversized items to a 6-foot tree and 3-4 items to a 9-foot tree. Stagger them around the tree, avoiding direct alignment. Place the largest decorations closer to the bottom of the tree and feel free to mix and match different items for a unique and eye-catching display.

Riding boot wired to a Christmas tree.


To give your tree a fuller appearance and enhance the reflection of lights, add less expensive plain round ornaments deep inside the tree. These filler ornaments will only be glimpsed, but they contribute to the overall fullness and help occupy any empty spaces within the tree. This step is easier to do when the outer parts of the tree are already decorated with larger ornaments.

Step 5: Add Natural Elements

Adding natural elements to your Christmas tree brings it to life. Consider incorporating berry sprigs, eucalyptus leaves, or any other natural elements you desire. High-end Christmas boutiques often mix different types of greenery, such as cedar, magnolia, olive branches, holly, lamb's ear, maidenhair fern, dusty miller, or juniper sprigs. Alternatively, you can gather twigs, branches, or clippings from your yard. The addition of natural elements adds texture and visual interest to the tree.

adding eucalyptus to a christmas tree

Step 6: Add Additional Christmas Tree Decorations!

I enjoy incorporating unique Christmas tree decorations, even if it's as simple as a few berry sprigs or flowers! You can use tree picks, such as adorable pinecone picks, or floral sprays mounted on a long wire or piece of plastic. Another option is faux floral or berry branches that you can find in the faux flower aisle at Michael's. Simply cut them apart into individual flowers or sprigs of berries. I decided to include white poinsettias and berries on my tree, and I even let some of the smaller poinsettias cascade down from the top:

I admire how she adorned her Christmas tree with flowers and berries. This is a fantastic how-to post!

I purchased a bundle of poinsettias (I found them at Michael's a few years ago) and simply cut them apart:

I love how she added these white poinsettias to her Christmas tree!

Then, I evenly distributed them around the tree:

Stunning ideas for decorating your Christmas tree!

I also added some sprigs of white berries similar to {these} by cutting them into smaller pieces and scattering them throughout the tree:

I love the combination of ribbon, ornaments, poinsettias, and berries on this Christmas tree!

For a more traditional Christmas tree, you can add tinsel, candy canes, or any other decorations you desire.

Step 6: Final Touches

Don't forget to choose a tree topper and a tree skirt or collar. Personally, I like to wait until everything is exactly how I want it and all the boxes and loose tree flocking are cleaned up before turning on the lights. It's a small reward that keeps me motivated to finish. LOL.

If you want to go the extra mile (we love going the extra mile here), consider wrapping all the gifts under the tree in coordinating wrapping paper!

Instructions for decorating a Christmas tree
  • Choose a color scheme or a strong theme to create a cohesive look for the tree.
  • Remember, more is more. Keep adding layers of decorations!
  • Step back frequently and view the tree from different angles to ensure a balanced appearance.
  • Don't feel like you have to spend a fortune on a tree. You can gather natural materials, make your own ornaments, or buy second-hand items. Collect items over time and make small changes instead of replacing everything.
  • Consider adding a secondary type of lighting to your tree. Whether it's mini fairy lights or giant bulbs, they add an interesting touch. I have a DIY hack for globe lights that you can try. You might have noticed them in the photos.

Step 7: Add a Christmas Tree Topper

Adding a tree topper is my favorite part of decorating a Christmas tree! Last year, I used {this capiz star tree topper} that lights up, and it was absolutely stunning:

Gorgeous capiz star tree topper!

Another simple option is to tie a large bow on top, or you can opt for a traditional angel. If you prefer a tree skirt, now is the time to add it along with the tree topper.

STEP 8: Enhance the Tree with Additional Embellishments

  • Add decorative embellishments like ribbon, lightweight garland, and glitter tape once you've added all the picks, ornaments, and oversized pieces to the tree.
  • When adding glitter tape, start attaching it near the top, but below the topper. Wrap it around the tree in a similar manner to how you applied the garland in Step 3.
  • Remember, glitter tape tends to have a mind of its own, so allow it to twist and turn as you go. That's what makes it look so great!
White, gold, and yellow tree decorations.
  • You'll use less ribbon if you cut short pieces and tuck the ends into the tree instead of using one long continuous piece. This method also gives the ribbon a more natural appearance.
  • If the ribbon won't stay in place, twist a tree branch around it.
  • When adding ribbon to the tree, start at eye level and work your way up and out from there. Although I can't explain why, this method tends to yield better results!
  • Place the ribbon in different directions to avoid it appearing as if it's simply wrapped around the tree.
White Christmas tree with red and green decorations.

Congratulations, you're done! Now get ready to enjoy the awe and excitement of your family and friends, and be prepared to answer all those questions about who you hired to decorate your tree!

How to professionally decorate a Christmas tree poster.

Step 1: Add Garland

If you plan to use any type of long garland on your tree, whether it's beaded garland, pom pom garland, popcorn strings, or anything else, this is the first step. I've found that it's best not to wrap the garland in a spiral all the way around the tree. Instead, I recommend placing it in a zigzag pattern along one area and then moving on to another area until the entire tree is covered. This not only looks better, but it also eliminates the need to spin around the tree to prevent the garland from getting tangled. IYKYK.

Christmas tree decorating tutorial Note: Like with any design "rule," there are exceptions. If you have a garland that you want to be the focal point, you may want to add it later. The first layer added should be the one you want deeper within the tree branches, and any decorations you want on the outermost layers of the tree should be added last.

In just a few simple steps, you can transform your ordinary Christmas tree into a stunning centerpiece that will leave everyone in awe. Start by choosing a high-quality artificial tree that will last for years to come. Then, carefully ready the tree and gather all the necessary supplies. From adding ribbon and large ornaments to incorporating small ones and oversized decorations, each step brings new life and beauty to your tree. Don't forget to sprinkle in natural elements and other decorations to complete the look. And of course, no tree is complete without a dazzling Christmas tree topper. Plus, for that extra touch of magic, don't hesitate to embellish the tree with extras like garland. So go ahead, let your creativity shine and create a Christmas tree that will truly capture the holiday spirit.

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