How to Decorate a Christmas Tree
November 02, 2021

The Christmas tree. AKA the star of the show. The long-standing pinnacle of the festive season.

This pièce de résistance of Christmas deserves special treatment, and that means the perfect decorations. But - to tinsel or not to tinsel? To string lights around or up and down? 

If you’re not sure how to decorate your tree, we’ve come up with some dazzling Christmas tree decoration ideas to help you dress up your sparkling showstopper. In fact, we’ve compiled everything you need to know, from how to put lights on a Christmas tree to how to decorate it the best way possible. We even have a handy video to guide you through how to decorate a Christmas tree step by step. 

May the inspiration commence!

Real Christmas Tree vs Artificial: Which is Best?

Both real trees and artificial trees have their pros and cons. Real trees smell and look amazing and are better for the environment (when they’re grown sustainably that is, like our range which is grown here in the UK to reduce carbon emissions from transporting). But you’ll be battling with its dropping needles and will need to get a new one every year. 

However, artificial trees have the benefit of no needles and they’re cheaper in the long run – plus you can get them pre-lit so you’ll save time decorating. 

For a more comprehensive guide on whether to go real or artificial, check out our Christmas Tree Buying Guide.

When to Put Up a Christmas Tree

When it comes to the question of when to put up a Christmas tree, the answer would be, traditionally, the beginning of Advent. Some people opt to put theirs up later, or earlier if they’re real Christmas lovers, but the 1st December is the norm. 

Also wondering when to take a Christmas tree down? This would be the Epiphany on 6th January. It’s when the three wise men are said to have given baby Jesus his gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

When decorating, put the lights on your tree first and then move on to your decorations. (See more on exactly how to put lights on a Christmas tree in the next section, and check out our Christmas Lights Buying Guide to help you choose the perfect set.) 

Now - to tinsel or not to tinsel? If you opt to include this traditional added sparkle, wind it around in a spiral horizontally. If you have a large amount of baubles and you just can’t resist adding all of them, think about perhaps not adding tinsel as it may be a little too much. However, it all depends on the look you’re going for! Sometimes piling everything on creates a real showstopper. 

As for how to decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments and baubles, pick a colour scheme – will you go with traditional red, gold and green or a more contemporary palette such as blue and silver? Once you’ve decided on your theme, it’s a good (and cost-effective) idea to place a decent amount of basic, different-sized baubles on first to get a good overall canvas, which you can then build on with more extravagant and interesting baubles or decorations. Help your tree look full by placing some baubles a bit further in, rather than solely on the end of the branches. You don’t need to hang them - just push them in to be held in place by surrounding branches. 

Here are some of our favourite Christmas tree decoration ideas...

You can’t go wrong with classic red and gold. Always stunning, year in, year out. Dress your tree with lots of baubles for maximum effect.

A snowy tree creates the ultimate wintry scene. Decorate yours with gold or silver baubles (or both!) and go heavy on silver or frosted tinsel.

Gold, frankincense and - no, just more gold, please! This traditional colour looks incredible when the decorations are piled on.

The Scandi look is always a gorgeous option. Simple, modern and the colour of snow, this style looks best with a modest number of decorations for a cleaner, contemporary finish. 

Read our blog on Christmas Tree Styles to Try for more ideas!

You could also try a tree skirt for added effect. We stock these stylish additions in copper, grey, wicker and more.

Another idea is to put a beautiful seagrass mat underneath. These are especially good if you have carpet and a real tree as any falling pine needles will land straight on the mat ready to be simply shaken off.

Check out our video below with our wonderful Visual Merchandising Manager, Janine, for more tree decorating ideas and a little more detail on how to decorate yours professionally, step by step.

How to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree

It’s a good idea to put the lights on your tree first. This will prevent wires getting in the way of hanging decorations and give you a nice sparkly base to work from. If you’re wondering how many lights for a Christmas tree is the right number, add 100 lights for every foot of tree. This means if you have a 6ft tree, for example, you’ll need 600 lights; if you have a 7ft tree, 700 lights. And then voila - the perfect sparkle.

Here’s how to put lights on a Christmas tree step by step. 

  1. First, test that they work! You don’t want to go to the effort of putting them on your tree to then find out they don’t work. 
  2. Check that you have enough space from where you want to put your tree to the plug socket. If your tree is outside, consider an extension lead. 
  3. Before adding any other decorations, the best way to put lights on a Christmas tree is to wind them around horizontally in a spiral from bottom to top.
  4. When winding, space the lights evenly and leave enough for the top. 

If you don’t have the time to or simply don’t fancy putting the lights on yourself, a pre-lit tree might be the best option for you. Browse our range for some great options, like this Bon Noel 6ft model, or Robert Dyas 5ft Grosvenor Fibre Optic Pencil Christmas Tree


To Sum Up...

Decorating your Christmas tree and making your home festive for the season is a special time of year, so it’s important to get it right! We hope we’ve helped you decide on the type of tree that’s best for you, how to put lights on it, whether to opt for tinsel or not, and your colour scheme and decorations. 

If you need any more guidance and inspiration, you know where we are - just check out the Christmas section on our blog. But for now, feel free to have a browse through our full, exciting Christmas range and get in the festive spirit!