Seven Steps to Fabulous
Tips for a Perfect Holiday Tree
December, 2007 - Issue #38
1. Consider Artificial
You can purchase a live tree every year at your local discount store, but I find that the pre-cut option is usually dead and droopy by Christmas Eve, when most of us host get-togethers with friends and family. Specialty decor stores sell many varieties of pre-lit, pre-hung (meaning the branches are attached) trees in sizes from two feet to 12 feet.

2. Let there be Light
If you are pulling your tree out of a box, be sure and check the lights before you are ready to decorate. Chances are high that you need to replace some bulbs. And if you are putting lights on a natural tree, check your lights before you hang them. Nothing is worse than decorating a tree and then discovering the lights don't work.

3. Add more Height
Give your tree more height by putting it on a small table. This allows the tree skirt to be seen, and the presents can mound up under the table. It also turns a six-foot-tree into an eight-foot-tree, making it look much more grand.

4. Choose a Theme
For a fashionable tree, select a color or style and go with it. For a color theme such as silver, use silver ornaments, silver ribbon and garlands of silver beads. Add a touch of red for a striking silver and red tree.

For an elegant theme use rich velvet or satin ribbon, ornaments with a deep sparkle, and floral such as poinsettias or hydrangeas stuck in.

For a woodland, country theme use berry garlands, plaid ribbon, pinecones and ornaments reflecting outdoor activities.

Don't be afraid to put small trees in different areas of the house; just choose a theme to coordinate with the room's decor. In the kitchen, use utensils tied with ribbon, dried herbs, or make a garland out of popcorn and berries. A candy cane tree is also a festive "food" touch.

5. When Decorating, Start Big
When decorating the tree, start with the largest item - usually the ribbon, organza or garland. This allows you to tuck ribbon into the empty spots and drizzle it into the tree. I like to wrap organza and ribbon together to give it added dimension.

To make a tree look like it has more lights put some reflective larger ornaments deep inside the tree next to the trunk, from top to bottom.

Large ornaments used to belong at the bottom of a tree, but that is old school. Put the large ornaments into those large spaces in the tree and wire them in.

Keep the tree looking symmetrical. If you place a large ornament on one side, be sure and place a few staggered around the tree, some high and some low. If you look at the tree and can only focus on one thing, change it. You want the eye to travel and really take in the entire tree. Don't forget - some trees look better with less ornaments.

6. Tip Top
If you have a heirloom tree topper, use it. If not, you can use so many other things for the top of a tree. Floral stems, peacock feathers or huge ribbon bows with their ribbons trailing down the tree all look fabulous.

7. Shine On
Now, turn on the lights and let it glow!
Carolyn McLintock is the manager of The Decor Store.
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