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How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

A decorated Christmas tree makes for a very jolly home during the holidays. Make your home festive by following these easy steps.


EditPutting the Lights on your Tree

  1. Test your Christmas lights before you hang them on your tree. Plug your Christmas lights into an outlet. Ensure that you don't have any burnt-out bulbs.
    Decorate a Christmas Tree Step 1 Version 4.jpg
  2. Put lights on your tree. Make sure to do this before putting ornaments on your tree. LED lights are best for live trees as they do not heat up too quickly.[1]

    • The Around-and-Around Wrap: Wrap strands of lights around the top of the tree and work your way down to the base of the tree. For a 6-foot tall tree, you will need about 6 strands of lights with 100 bulbs each.[2]
    • Put your first light at the very top of the tree to begin. This light will shine on the star, angel, or snowflake that you will add later.
    • Secure your light strands by weaving them in an out of the tree’s branches.
    • The Vertical Wrap: Divide your tree into 3 sections. Each section will have its own lights.
    • Begin at the base of the tree and weave the lights up through the branches to the top of the tree and back down to the base. Repeat.
  3. Connect your light strands to an extension cord and plug it into a nearby outlet.

EditHanging the Ornaments on your Tree

  1. Wrap the base of the tree in plastic. The plastic will collect any needles that fall off your tree. Cover the plastic with a festive Christmas tree skirt.

    • These skirts add to the beauty of your tree and also keep the tree’s needles from collecting on your floor.
  2. Hang your ornaments on the tree. Look for branches that are wider apart so that your ornaments won’t rest on lower branches.

  3. Hang heavier ornaments further up on branches, closer to the trunk of the tree. The tree is strongest near the trunk and can bear more weight.

  4. Hang ornaments near lights to highlight certain ornaments. This works particularly well with shiny bulb, glass, or metal ornaments as these types are the most reflective.
    Decorate a Christmas Tree Step 7 Version 4.jpg
  5. Spread ornaments evenly throughout the tree. Make sure not to hang too many ornaments on each branch.

    • If a branch starts to get too weighed down, ornaments could fall off or the branch could break.
  6. Add additional decorations. These extras can include bows, strands of popcorn and cranberries, and candy canes.

  7. Add tinsel (optional). Tinsel makes your tree glitter. Hang tinsel near lights for the shiniest look possible.
    Decorate a Christmas Tree Step 10 Version 4.jpg
    • Be mindful with the amount of tinsel you place on your tree. Too much tinsel could take away from the beauty of your ornaments.
    • For a more modern look, buy colored tinsel rather than the traditional gold and silver.
  8. Add the star (or decoration you wish to have at the top of your tree.) Make sure that it is secure and not crooked.

  9. Turn off the lights in your house. Admire the festive tree you have created and be jolly.

EditGathering Ideas for Themed Christmas Trees

  1. Create a traditional look with solid red, white, silver and gold orbs. The orbs can be glass or plastic.[3]

    • Add fake winterberries and silver bells to complete a traditional tree.
  2. Place silk flowers throughout your tree for a blooming theme. Hang white lights instead of colored lights to accent the flowers.[4]

    • Silk roses, magnolias, and hydrangeas are good options for a wintery feel.
    • Add richly colored ribbons and little silver orbs or glittering glass ornaments for a twinkling, flowery look.
  3. Create a nature-inspired look with rustic metal or glass ornaments. Place pine cones throughout the tree.[5]
    Decorate a Christmas Tree Step 15 Version 3.jpg
    • Mix bird ornaments in with fake leaves.
    • White lights are best for this natural look.
  4. Hang red, white, and blue ornaments for a patriotic look. Mix glass and plastic ornaments alongside white lights for a tree that could rival the White House's own.[6]
    Decorate a Christmas Tree Step 16 Version 3.jpg
    • To get even more patriotic, hang red, white, and blue lights on your tree.
  5. Hang large, brightly colored orbs for a more modern look. Mod colors include lime greens, purples, bright blues, and hot pink.[7]

    • Light strands with large light bulbs mixed with bright small and large ornaments will give your tree a contemporary, edgy feel.



  • When buying a Christmas tree, look for trees that have even branches all the way around.
  • Avoid trees with large bald spots where no branches are growing because you will be able to hang less ornaments (and it will look awkward.)
  • Craft sales may have different ornaments that you may like to add to your tree.
  • Know what colors look good together. Blue and silver, red and gold, silver and gold, and purple, gold, and silver, are some color combinations that look great. Combinations like blue and pink, pink and gold, and red and blue look too bright and will not look dainty and pretty on your Christmas tree.


  • Never hang candles on the tree as they are very dangerous and can cause a fire.
  • Do not overload the power outlets! This is a common thing that many people do at Christmas time, and can lead to a fire.
  • If your light bulbs gives off heat, be careful not to burn yourself, or the tree.
  • Be careful if any ornaments are broken, the shards can be very sharp. Don't put glass decorations on a tree if you have pets or young children who could break them and cut themselves.
  • Never leave incandescent lights on the tree all night long, especially on a live one. Unplug the lights when you go to bed, or you can use a timer.

EditThings You'll Need

  • A Christmas or a small pine tree (live or fake)
  • Christmas tree stand
  • Small plastic tarp
  • Tree skirt
  • Ornaments
  • Beads and extra decorations (optional)
  • Bows (optional)
  • A star or other topper to place on the top of the tree.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

EditQuick Summary

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from How to of the Day