One of my favorite parts of the start of the holiday season is to put up all of the decorations. Many of you will be getting out the box in the garage or attic of all of your ornaments and family heirlooms.  Sometimes it is really hard to know how to make your Christmas decorations even more beautiful than you have in the past, and sometimes you get stuck in a rut trying to top last years tree.  It is fun to look at the memories and home-made crafts that your children and relatives have made every year.


I have visited relatives homes that have been so carefully crafted and designed for Christmas that it puts my measly little tree and decorating to shame!   Here is how to knock the socks off of your family and friends this holiday season.

Expert designers share their tips for decorating a Christmas tree.

  1. Step one is to select a theme.   Spend some time thinking of what idea you are trying to present.   You can create just about anything by brainstorming from themes such as: a children’s theme, a traditional red and green tree, colors,  antiques, futuristic, a rustic, woodsy tree, a favorite activity of your children’s, or a hobby, sport, or family activity.  If you chose a color theme such as gold, you can add different metal colors to it, such as silver or bronze, and match the metals.   Once you have the theme, carry it out throughout the room so it looks cohesive and consistant.
  2. Several trees are already pre-lit, but if you do string Christmas lights on a tree, start at the bottom.  Make sure to weave the lights in and out of the tree so that they will provide light to your decorations and ornaments.
  3. Step three is to start by placing the biggest ornaments on the tree first, they require the most space.   A good tip is to pattern them in a triangular fashion or zig-zag them so that they are spaced out.
  4. Ribbon is always a nice decoration, and you can use it as a garland, if you do, place it before the ornaments are hung on the branches.  Wired ribbon can be bent into the style and shape of your choice, and there are large wide ribbons available at hobby stores, which work the best.
  5.  After the biggest ornaments are placed, you can then hang the homemade or smaller ornaments.
  6. A personal touch can be added by including pictures.  You can frame pictures and small photographs of your family memories, or something related to your theme to add a warm and interesting flavor to your display.
  7. Once all of your decorations are where you want them to be, add some floral picks and bows, just as you would add sprinkles and decorations to a cupcake.  Fluff up the items before you place them, so they look just right.
  8. Finish your tree by decorating the base.  A complimentary beautiful skirt can be used to match the styles and colors of your tree and your theme.   You can be creative here, surround the base with a quilt, a train, or a Christmas village.
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Shelley Dominguez, Fran Timbrook and Ellen O’Brien are three expert designers who manage a gift shop called Charlotte’s home furnishings in Texas.  The ladies are no strangers to decorating and offered up the above advice and tips to help you decorate your tree this Christmas.