How to decorate a Christmas Tree

First, the Lights >

Sparkle and shine comes primarily from the tree lights. Faceted glass bulbs will refract more light and appear brighter.

Small twinkle lights and colored lights also have impact when you layer several strands and pair them with ornaments having reflective surfaces.

To illuminate the tree from the inside out, string lights around the trunk and the branches.

Starting at the base of the trunk and working up, wrap the lights around every major branch, moving from the trunk to the tip and back.

Don’t skimp on lights! For every vertical foot of tree, use a strand of 100 lights.

And don’t be afraid to mix and match lights. There’s no rule stating that you can only use one kind.

A “background” of white or clear lights can be highlighted with strands of colored lights that wrap the outside of the tree.

Experiment with different lighting schemes until you get one you like.

Second, the Garland >

There are no firm rules when draping garlands on a tree (as long as you don’t create a sausage effect, with branches bulging between tightly-cinched garlands).

Start at the top, stringing less garland, and work your way down, increasing the amount of garland.

Thin bead garlands look best swagged from branch to branch; thick paper, ribbon, or foil garlands look best wrapped loosely around the entire tree.

Use a variety of garlands, from plain to fancy, to avoid a busy look. For every vertical foot of tree, use about two strands of garland.

Third, the Ornaments >

To showcase your ornaments, start with the most important ones. Then hang the largest ornaments, spacing them evenly apart. Fill in around them with medium and small sizes, balancing the overall look.

Finish with specialty shapes, such as bird clip-ons. For interesting variety, include all shapes, from icicles to teardrops. And create depth by hanging some ornaments closer to the trunk.

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