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Tips & Secrets for Decorating the Tree

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

I've learned a lot of new tricks this year when it comes to the various ways to decorate a Christmas tree.

In all honesty, there is no right or wrong way to decorate your tree. It's whatever makes you the happiest when you look at it every day. Some of you might prefer a more minimal tree, with only sparkling white lights as decor. And some of you might prefer a tree as chaotic as Eloise's in Eloise at Christmastime! Which reminds me, that definitely should have made it onto My Top 10 Christmas Movies post!

Either way, I think one of the reasons why we all love decorating the tree so much, is because we get to showcase our sense of creativity. Many of us don't think much about home decor or styling our space as intentionally as we think about the best spots for various ornaments on our Christmas tree.

Before I moved to Fancy Cottage, my mom and I would dream up a new theme for our Christmas tree every year. One year, we had a "Frozen" themed tree which showcased blue, white and silver ornaments. Another year, we went classic red and green. We even had a "girly" Christmas tree one year with white, pink and purple accents.

Last year, for my first Christmas in Fancy Cottage, I went rogue. I decided to do something I had never even thought of before, and decorate using natural elements. Thank you Pinterest! I dried orange slices and roses, and placed them thoughtfully around the tree and sprinkled the empty spaces with baby's breath. It was so different than anything I'd ever seen, and I absolutely loved it. You can watch the video of how I did it here.

This year, I'm leaning more into my classic style and decorating the tree in a more traditional way. Focusing on cute ornaments with lots of red, white and baby blue satin ribbon tied into bows. Oh and lights! Of course we have lights.

No matter how you choose to decorate your tree, here are some tips and tricks that will make your life a lot easier, and hopefully give you the outcome you're looking for.


Tip #1: Storage Matters

The way you store your Christmas tree lights the year prior, directly affects your stress levels for the following year. In other words, make sure your store your lights in such a way that they're easy to untangle when you need them! One of my weaknesses has always been wrapping cords, but luckily that is something my fiance is really skilled at! Google or YouTube the best ways to store Christmas lights before just throwing them into a box, letting them somehow tangle themselves up over the year until you need them again. Your past self will thank you.

Tip #2: Test The Lights

There's nothing worse than wrapping a bunch of lights around your tree and plugging them in, only to find that an entire section is completely dark because the lights don't work. Make sure to test your lights by plugging them in before you put them on the tree. This will save you time and heartache.

Tip #3: Light in Sections

I, like many of us, was always taught to light the tree by wrapping the lights around and around and around. But I recently discovered a new way to light the tree that results in a much more vibrant and fully lit tree! It does take more lights, but when you light the tree in sections, instead of wrapping around, you get more lights per section, which creates a much brighter tree! I got the idea from a creator on Instagram, and you can see an example of what this looks like in her reel here.

Tip #4: Fluff!

When you bring your tree home, be sure to take some time to FLUFF! Spread the branches apart, push some of them up, down or in whatever direction they may need to go. Many trees get wrapped up in plastic wire before going on top of your car, so they need a little sprucing before you can decorate. I like to start from the top and push the branches out and down, making my way down to the bottom, before I even consider lighting it. Full figured trees only over here!

Tip #5: Smells of Pine

If you're using an artificial tree, but you still want that delicious pine scent when you walk through the door, grab a pine scented candle from your favorite store! (wow, okay bars.) One of the biggest reasons why I'm team #realtree, is so the house has that delicious Christmas tree smell for the entire month. Plus, I love the process of picking out a different tree every year. But I know that those of you who are team #artificialtree have great reasons for going for a more relaxed route as well. So, if you want a tree without all the mess and hassle, go artificial and light a candle! Fresh Balsam from Bath and Body Works will always be a favorite of mine.


There are truly a million different ways to decorate the Christmas tree and I hope that these tips help you in creating the tree of your dreams. If you want to see my full vlog of tree choosing and decorating, I have a video over on Patreon! Sign up over there for Vlogmas videos, updates, and more!

Happy Holidays, and Happy Tree Decorating!





Just a California girl who believes in a good cup of tea, a fresh bouquet of peonies, page turning novels & romanticizing everyday life.

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