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7 Tips For Decorating A Real Christmas Tree

Ideas to Help You Decorate Your Tree This Holiday Season

Christmas tree in living room

Every year I get so excited to go to the tree farm and pick out a real Christmas tree. My birthday is right after Thanksgiving so it’s become a tradition that we go and get our tree as part of my birthday celebration. My favorite part though is decorating a real Christmas tree. Whether it’s the smell of the tree, the twinkling lights, or the trip down memory lane going through ornaments, I love it all. Today, I’m going to share with you 7 tips to help you decorate a real Christmas tree.

Our 2020 Noble Fir Christmas Tree from Green Ridge Christmas Tree Farm in The Dalles, OR

Festive & fun christmas tree blog hop

I am so honored to be a part of the Festive and Fun Christmas Tree Blog Hop! Thank you to Stacy from Bricks N’ Blooms for organizing this Christmas Tree Hop! If you’re stopping by from Amber’s house at Follow The Yellow Brick Home, Welcome! I just love Amber’s 1921 vintage home!

Christmas Tree Blog Hop

Decorating your tree

Putting Christmas Lights On A Real Christmas Tree

Once you have your fresh Christmas tree inside your house, it’s time to get started with the decorating. You will first want to put your Christmas tree in a good tree stand and make sure it’s standing level and screwed in tight. Once the tree is secure, I add water to the tree stand so the tree can start drinking water.

real Christmas tree in the house

Now it’s time to add the Christmas lights. I always test out my Christmas light strands before getting started to make sure they are working properly. There’s nothing worse than getting half way through a strand and having to start over and take it off. For my 9’ tree, I use between 5 and 6 strands of LED clear warm lights on my tree. I like lots of sparkle lights!

Start at the top of the Christmas Tree

With a strand of Christmas lights plugged into an outlet, it’s time to get started! I like to begin at the top of the tree. This allows you to be able to plug in a tree topper if it needs an outlet plug. I carefully wrap lights around each branch of the tree weaving around the branches. I go in a circular motion around the tree. Before doing a complete circle, I switch back so that the strand does not get stuck around the tree. I like to put the lights on the tree when they’re lit so I can frequently step back and make sure the lights look evenly spread out throughout the tree.

Adding a Tree Topper To Your Christmas Tree

Christmas tree with red bow on top

Once all lights have been strung on the tree, it’s time to add the tree topper. We’ve done all sorts of tree toppers over the years. We’ve had a lit star, a Saint Nicholas, an angel, and this year a bow. There’s so many fun ways you can top your tree and no right or wrong way! I do like to put the tree topper on at this point so that I don’t knock any ornaments or decor off the tree later on in the process.

Here’s a quick video showing how to make a bow like I used on the top of our tree:

Add Beads and garland to your tree

After the lights have been strung around the Christmas tree, it’s time to add beads and garland to the tree. At this point you may want to turn off your Christmas lights so you can better see where any gaps might be on your tree. I start at the top of the tree and gently put beads around the tree. Depending upon how full you want your tree to look, you can either add a lot or little.

Add Bows and Flowers to Your Tree

After adding beads and garland to your tree, it’s time to add bows and any artificial or dried flowers. I like to use wire ribbon and I tie little bows all over the edges of the Christmas tree branches. I also use faux poinsettias with clips and I clip them onto the tree.

triangle shape decorating
The red triangles show how I placed bows and artificial flowers on the tree to create a triangular shape that’s visually appealing.

I was once told that when you decorate with bows and flowers you want everything to make a shape of a triangle. So as you add to the tree, follow a pattern so that you’re making a triangular pattern.

It’s time to add ornaments to the tree

With your Christmas tree lights still off, it’s time to start putting your ornaments on the tree. In our family most of our ornaments have been collected over the years and represent family trips and memories. This is always a special time as we get to walk down memory lane.

I like leaving the lights off for this step as it allows you to see all the gaps remaining in the tree. It’s always amazing to me that we somehow get all of our ornaments on the tree.


Once you have finished decorating the tree, it’s time to clean up the mess! Real trees drop a ton of needles when you’re decorating. I like to vacuum and sweep up as many tree needles as possible at this point. Once everything is cleaned up, it’s time to put either a tree skirt or tree collar around the base of your tree.

Ta Da! Your Christmas tree is complete. Now it’s time to turn on the Christmas Tree lights, sit back, and take in the splendor of your Christmas Tree!

Christmas tree with lights on

Add A Bird’s Nest To Your Christmas Tree For Good Luck

bird nest in Christmas Tree
Legend has it that putting a bird’s nest in your Christmas tree is good luck.

Years ago my mother-in-law gave us a bird’s nest for our Christmas tree. Along with the nest, she had a sweet little note that said:

bird's nest legend

Every year we put the nest on our tree and it’s such a lovely reminder. If you are looking for a great welcome home gift or a special holiday gift, consider giving a bird’s nest. If you fill out the form below, you can download a little gift tag that includes the quote above. Wouldn’t this make a great welcoming home gift?


The Legend Of The Bird’s Nest | Gift Tag

Give the gift of a bird’s nest and be sure to download this free gift tag to attach to your gift.

Thank you!

Thanks For Joining Our Festive & Fun Blog Hop!

Thank you so much for stopping by to see how we decorated our Christmas Tree! I hope that my tips have helped and inspired you for decorating a real Christmas tree! Next, be sure to head on over to my friend Julie’s home at My Wee Abode. I know you will love seeing her festive Christmas tree too!

Wait Until You See These Amazing Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas!

Bricks ‘n Blooms // White Arrows Home // The Ponds Farmhouse

My Thrift Store Addiction // Down Shiloh Road

Dabbling and Decorating // The Tattered Pew // J Dub By Design

Simply2Moms // Blue Sky at Home

County Road 407 // Shiplap and Shells // Follow The Yellow Brick Home 

The Flowering Farmhouse // My Wee Abode // Calypso in the Country

Cottage on Bunker Hill // This is Simplicite

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  1. Jen I love your decorating ideas. You have such a beautiful family and your home looks beautiful all ready for Christmas! I love how you decorated your Christmas tree! xoxo

    1. Aww thank you so much Stacy! I so appreciate you including me in today’s Christmas tree blog hop! Happy holidays my friend!

  2. Great tips for decorating a real Christmas tree, Jennifer! And thanks for the drawing of the triangles… that helps those of us that learn visually! The legend of the nest is so sweet… great for a bridal shower gift or wedding! Pinned!

    1. Yes! The bird nest would be perfect for a bridal shower gift or wedding! We were given the nest our first married Christmas. I just love the meaning of the nest in the tree. Happy Holidays Julie!

    1. Yes! Putting a nest in the tree is one of my favorite traditions now! Happy Holidays Jennifer!

  3. I did not know about the bird’s nest being good luck! Your tree is beautiful and I enjoyed the helpful tips. Each year, we buy one real tree for the living room and then decorate a few artificial trees around our home. Yes, watering it is key. It’s amazing how much they drink up in the first couple of days. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful Christmas!!

    1. Yes, that’s a great point! Real trees drink so much water! We always ask for a fresh cut at the tree farm too to help the tree drink more water. Happy Holidays Shelley!

  4. Jen your noble fir is stunning! I bet it smells amazing too. I love how you decorated it and I love the birds nest tradition. I have never heard of that…so fun! Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you Kelly! It does smell great! I also diffuse YL Fir oils and the house smells of Christmas! Yes, we love the birds’ nest tradition. Happy Holidays!

  5. What a beautiful tree! How fun to pick it out together and I love how you decorated it! I love the legend of the bird’s nest!

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