The Ultimate Christmas Tree Decorating Guide

Before we get into the ultimate Christmas tree decorating Guide…


This is how I see the holiday season.

Ya know… When they tell you on the airplane to put your oxygen mask on first before helping those who might need help, like your young children? (or people who act like children)?

I mean, how are you supposed to help others, if you, yourself are incapacitated? And hasn’t the oxygen mask become a metaphor for a simple life rule that most of us forget all too often?


Take care of yourselves first, so that you can then care for others.


It’s a good thing to remember and why I’m beginning with decorating your home. Because it’s too much to have to think about that (unless you’re already all set) AND the gifts AND cooking…

And try not to freak out (too much) about the fact that the holiday season is well-nigh upon us!

In fact, I might be having company this year, for Thanksgiving. I mean REAL company besides my children. They would be happy eating on the floor on paper plates.

Company as I would be embarrassed a million deaths if she knew what I was using for flatware. College students have better. I’m serious.

Why is this so? Well, for 95% of my life, absolutely no money at all. And it’s just a habit not to buy anything for myself. Oh, the irony!!! But, that needs to change.

But, let’s move on because I have sooooo much to share with y’all!

Geeezzz… I think that my eye balls have turned into silver balls! or gold balls. green balls…red balls…


But, I have searched far and wide, for the best looking, best buys in Christmas Tree Decorating


And more.

Inspiration Christmas Trees!

It never fails. I start thinking about this in September. It’s still hot. Oh, I have plenty of time…

And now the season is bearing down on us! Thanksgiving is only 8 days away!


But before I go on…


Yes, it’s the speech. And I feel it’s necessary because of past experience and because the holidays are a hot bed subject, a trigger for some people and while 99.3% of you are beyond delightful, .7% of you are not. And it’s the .7% who need to read this. The rest of you may skip past.

A few things to know

  • All holiday posts and pages are 100% not having anything to do with religion.
  • So, I might very well put a Menorah on a Christmas table or Hanukkah ornaments on the Christmas Tree. Or have a Hanukkah tree, filled with beautiful ornaments and lights.There is no such thing as a Hanukkah tree, some might say. Who says so? And if not, why not? (rhetorical questions)

And this is in no way meant to be disrespectful to your beliefs whatever they may be, but purely to spread love, joy, light and hopefully a way to make your season easier and more beautiful. I’ll leave the religious part to those who do that for a living. Decorating is what I do.

However, if you find my non-secular posts offensive, it still doesn’t give you the right to crap on me, no matter how wrong and misguided you think I am. If it really bothers you that I’m putting a dreidel on a Christmas tree. That should be your worst problem. However, no incendiary remarks either in comments or in my email- please. There is a zero tolerance policy for flaming on this site– even IF you feel justified in giving me a piece of your mind. You’re not.

So many families are of mixed faiths, in any case and the families celebrate everything. I love that!

end of speech.

Let’s get started. I’m so excited!


Do you ever see a holiday tree and go “oh man, I wish that mine looked like that?”


But then, you have no idea where to begin?

Well, hopefully, after looking at these seven (no, it’s really three for this post because as usual, I bit off…) inspiring ideas, you’ll have a better idea.

Our first tree has to be one of the most exquisite I’ve ever seen. I first posted it four years ago in this post about 22 magical Christmas trees.


Christmas Tree Decorating - fantasy green floral tree

I think that all told, I’ve spent an entire week of my life looking at this magical tree. And I am sorry to say that I do not know its source or many of the trees I’m going to share. If you do, please let me know and I will add it in with a link back, if there is one.

This tree looks like it might be in a public space and it is quite large. The branches slope down a little and it’s a fairly narrow tree. I’ve included two trees. It’s actually, the same tree, but two different sizes. Of course, if your room can handle a higher tree, you may do one as tall as you like.

I love how the ribbons seem to appear out of nowhere. On, the tree I had a few years ago (which you can see here), I did it by cutting the ribbon in small pieces and tying or attaching further inside the tree. One thing I am not fond of is wrapping the ribbon around and around the tree. It almost always looks dated and amateurish, IMO.

Please enjoy widget #one which I spent an entire day putting together because I wanted to come as close as possible to replicating this one tree! In each widget, I’ve also included some Christmas trees that I think would work. You can also see more trees here.

You can click on the individual images, if you’d like to know more.



Next Tree is Classic white on white Christmas Tree Decorating


These ornaments can stand alone or get mixed in with others as in most trees, the white feels refreshing.

One thing. Most of the time, I like to see some of the tree. Some trees I’ve seen are so laden with stuff that there’s no tree left. I find that a little odd.


French Country Cottage

Please check out Courtney’s blog if you don’t already follow it. She always has the best trees!

I adore a flocked tree. In fact, every year I love them more and more! You can find some of my favorites here.

But this green and white tree is so fresh. Love this look!


Please enjoy the white on white widget.



Our Final Grouping today is Classic Red and Green.


Tory Burch

However, I find that the best red and green trees have various shades of green. These four are all different, but all beautiful.

Raz Imports

I am wondering if they did the first tree as well, because the leaves look the same ant the style of tree skirt is the same.



And the final widget for tonight featuring ornaments for a red and green Christmas tree



Phew! And I have four more trees coming!!!

  • A yummy celadon tree
  • There’s a pink tree
  • A blue and white tree
  • And yes, a Hanukkah Tree. But it could also be a Christmas tree and vice versa.


Also coming is a separate holiday page which will be in the menu with sub pages to keep things organized for decor and dozens of cool (well, I think so) gifts.


The goal is to be a valuable source for your holiday shopping needs.


Now, I know that some likely questions are…


What happened to Thanksgiving? Where is YOUR tree, Laurel?


Well… part of getting through not only the season, but life in general, once the oxygen mask on, is knowing one’s limitations.

And it’s especially true at this time of year.

But, do not lose hope. I very much am hoping to share some decorating with you, but can’t promise at this time. It’s still just me doing everything which I realize is nuts but that’s the way it is for now.

However, I’m going to leave you with some information that I have gleaned from my research regarding Christmas tree decorating. Sources!


Where to get the best trees/ornaments/holiday decor at the best prices?


Aside from your local tag sales and the like, hands down the best source for all things Christmas is Amazon.

But, it’s not the only one.

Another fabulous source, especially for their Faux Christmas trees is Wayfair. But they have a vast selection of ornaments and other accoutrements for the holidays.

Terrain – Fabulous, fabulous faux Christmas trees and some real ones too!

Pottery Barn – good ol’ PB. What would we do without them? They have some astonishingly beautiful ornaments at great prices too! Oh, crap, their current sale is ending in a few hours. I am going to order some things for myself too! Like my favorite flatware!

Williams Sonoma – has a fabulous new collection of Chinoiserie ornaments.

Crate and Barrel

Etsy – Of course. Fabulous ornaments and gifts. But if you want anything custom, you need to get cracking.

One Kings Lane – New and vintage plus always so many inspiring images!

Wisteria – Plus they are having a holiday sale right now!

Anthropologie – Great gifts and whimsical ornaments.

Target (aka: Tarzhay) – Have to be honest. They are good but not as good as they were six years ago when I did my tree 100% from their store.

Home Depot – has some pretty awesome faux trees. I do love their Martha Stewart trees.

Pier One Imports – Did you know that they have an EXTENSIVE faux floral collection? Well, they do and it is quite nice.

BBB – no silly, not the Better Business Bureau ;] Bed, Bath and Beyond which as we know has gone waaaaay beyond anything bed and bath.


Much to my disappointment, the following three sources cannot be widgetized (not that’s a word) at this time; but I would be remiss not to include them.


And someone will crap all over me if I don’t. :]


Balsam Hill – Exquisite. Trees. Ornaments. Everything. But their trees are sold on Amazon. The Amazon link above takes you there.

Ballard Designs – Damn you Suzanne Kasler! Just kidding. Everything she touches is magnificent. I am supposed to be able to put them in my widget but there’s some hang up, apparently.

Frontgate – Yeah, I know… They’re like the catalog that one dumps straight into the recycling but maybe should reconsider because they have a fabulous collection of home furnishings including some gorgeous Christmas ornaments, etc. And gorgeous, gorgeous blue and white Chinoiserie ornaments.

Well, that was fun! More coming soon!





And a few more terrific sources for holiday decor AND gifts pointed out by Lorri!

World Market – fabulous collection of fun ornaments and affordable gift items.

Macy’s – oh dear! “black friday” is starting Thursday? hmmm… If that were only online, that would be cool, but I fear that means that the store is open on turkey day. Can’t we have our holiday? Well, I guess that they have to pay for those huge balloons and fireworks somehow. Anyway, there’s a preview of what will be on sale. And of course, not to be a hypocrite. I’m all for black friday sales. But on Friday, not Thanksgiving Day!

Jamali Garden – Not familiar with this source but they have some lovely ornaments and decorating supplies

Horchow – Owned by Neiman Marcus, they carry numerous high-end home furnishings and beautiful ornaments, too.

56 Responses

  1. I bought a set of ornaments from Frontgate’s “French Collection” last year and they are so beautiful. Various shades of blues, golds and pearly whites. Yum. And I supplemented with lots of other complimentary ornaments and floral picks and other things and I can’t wait to put up my tree this year!

    1. Oh, you don’t make your own ornaments? haha! You probably don’t have time. But I bet that you could with bits of left over fabric.

      There are a TON of hand-made things on Etsy. And some of it is really nice.

  2. also forgot to mention I love looking at the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows on the gifts put under the tree. I love the great ideas on how to coordinate the gift wrap with the overall look of the Christmas décor!!

  3. I’m doing a couple of tabletop-size tree this year instead of the full-size tree I put on the porch so kitty won’t get at it.
    I’ve found some oontainers for the tabletop trees: a small “peach basket” found at an antique store; a minnow bucket, also found at an antique store.

  4. As you have shown Laurel, there are some really beautiful tree decorations being offered on the retail market nowadays. Many years ago (being a stay-at-home Mom and for pin-money) having seasonally managed a Christmas store three years in a row I use to advise our customers to a) when decorating their tree, keep its lights on to determine placement of the ornaments b) never wrap but instead tuck/weave your ‘ribbon’ garland in ‘n out and c) don’t hesitate to mix high and low end decorations together. To conclude; I am downsizing my size of tree this year and opting for a pre-lit flocked one and am planning on customizing a brass planter for its base rather than use a tree skirt. WISHING YOU and YOUR LOVED ONES A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

  5. We do a Hanukkah tree in our multi faith household! I do it in various shades of blue and silver. Almost more fun to decorate than the Christmas tree perhaps because it’s not traditional in the traditional sense!!

  6. This is exactly what I love about holiday decorating – that it can be whatever you want it to be. Love kitsch? Kitsch is available in abundance. Like sophistication? That’s there in spades as well. Pretty much every color, every style, homemade or store-bought, coordinated or a jumble of gorgeous craziness is both available and allowed. I have never seen a holiday style I didn’t like, even all styles mushed up together.

    For those of us who put up trees, if you do a live tree I offer this bit of advice: the tree you get should depend on the ornaments you have. Most of the trees that are readily available to consumers are the super full fluffy variety, which are beautiful, but not necessarily appropriate for long or heavy ornaments. If you have lots of large or heavy ornaments to display, go for Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, or Blue Spruce, which have sturdy branches that are well spaced out to display ornaments. Small, light ornaments look gorgeous on a fluffier tree like Douglas or Balsam Fir or one of the pine tree varieties. Norway Spruce has the shortest needle retention span of any tree I’ve ever seen, so if you want your tree to be up more than a week I would stay away from Norway Spruce. I grew up near two tree farms and my dad planted Christmas trees so I have experience with the different varieties.

  7. Wow is all I can say about the first tree….it is stunning! Thank you for deconstructing it with the widgets,,,,,you are the best!

    I am one of those who has tried to downsize and have partially succeeded to the stage where the real tree is in a French zinc basket on a round table. I will keep the downsized version and go for the green tree look….so much for downsizing, huh?

  8. Just what we needed. Some prettiness that is so unnecessary! And I DO mean that with the utmost sincerity! Every year for the past few since my daughter was away at college and now out on her own in NYC I queston if this would be the year we’d not ‘bother’ with ‘the big tree’ and just ‘do’ a smaller one- after all, it’s “only us now”. But I can’t. If I did, it would mean I am getting old. And turning into my mother (may she rest in peace). And I don’t want that. Yet. There’t time for that. So for now I will suck it up and discover that that sucking sound gradually turns into a duet with Perry Como as we “do” the tree. Yes it is a pain in the arse. But every night as I sit in th family room supposedly to watch tv I find my self lost in the lit tree in the corner. I still enjoy seeing all my old favorite one of a kind ornaments collected over our lifetime of 37 years married. They are my friends I get to see once a year and every one is special to me, or it is not on the tree at all. (Sort of like my life as I have gradually eliminated nonsensical ‘friends’ who are too much work to keep as well))These old ornaments validate our existence and that of our 26 year old daughter who is still too young to appreciate that Christmas (or whatI’ll ver it is you celebrate) is a moment in time that makes sense of the senslessness in the world. I hope I am never too old not to be in awe of something beautiful. Thanks for reminding me and inspiring me! Will I be buying any new stuff this year? Hell no. I have enough $#!+ to open my own store. But I will be insired yet again by the inspiration you have shared here. Well, on second thought I suppose one pretty new mercury glass ornament (or one box) won’t hurt. Damn.

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Ya lost me with the opening sentence, but the rest makes sense to me. And I hear you about turning into one’s mother.

      Of course, these are general posts. Some people wouldn’t dare dream of changing a thing and that’s fine. Some may want to incorporate a few ideas or edit their annual tradition.

      And then there are others who’ve decided enough with cutting down trees, having the tree turn brown in three weeks, with needles all over the place……….

      And then, one-quarter of the readers (according to google analytics) are under 35. So, they may very well only be just starting their traditions.

      Still others have down-sized. Others want a change. Some are sentimental and others not so much.

      And some have multiple trees.

      If only I had someone to do the heavy lifting. That’s all I want and an occasional date for dinner and a movie. haha

  9. Well you just saved me a lot of money and effort. I never thought about cutting the ribbon into pieces and then adding them to the tree. Wrapping the ribbon and poofing it out as I encircled the tree used up so much ribbon, and then looked like crap, that I always gave up doing it. Thanks for a great idea, and I’m going to try it your way this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your readers.

  10. Don’t late my name fool ya! I am anything but “Merri” when it comes to the holidays. Thanks for ramping up my anxiety, lol!
    I have returned to a live cut tree, very small, 5 ft or so, and enjoy decorating myself as no one else is interested in helping. Beads, lights, ornaments, in the green red gold theme with a train circling. But now you got me re-thinking….!
    I spend more time decorating rooms, with holiday themed pottery, plates, framed vintage xmas art, fresh greens on the mantel.
    My mantra has become, less is more, fresh is more. As for the kiddos’ ornaments that we lovingly gifted to them every St Nick’s night for the past 20+ years….no one wants them! Oh well, they still sit in my attic, waiting for the day when they come to their senses.
    Beautiful post with lots of inspiration!

    1. Hi Merri,

      Well, I believe that your situation is probably more the norm than the exception from what I’ve heard.

      I always grew up with “it’s not our holiday.” sad face.

      My big sis has taken care of that, however. That’s my sister, “Holly.” haha! or rather hoho! Her entire living room, for probably two decades now is a permanent Christmas mini-museum. It’s incredibly charming, actually.

  11. I love all your sources, Laurel.

    Also add World Market (whimsical), Jamali Garden (DIY supplies), Macy’s (boxed sets), and Horchow if you really want to splurge.

      1. Macy’s doesn’t have as many fabulous boxed sets choices this year, but I’ve gotten some of the most beautiful sets from them in the past.

  12. I love the white-on-white tree from French Country Cottage.

    You know what’s weird about flocked trees? They were popular in the 1960s when I was in elementary school, yet most of us hated them.

    Now we have flocked trees again and they are stunning! I can’t figure out why. Maybe they look more realistic?

    1. Hi Lorri,

      Yes, more realistic and also the tiny lights. I prefer the warm white or clear is usually okay, too. Not usually the multi-colored lights, but of course, there are probably exceptions to that as well.

  13. Hi Laurel,
    I love reading your posts – all of them!! Love flocked Christmas trees too, and here is the but! I’ve always thought that flocked trees are like artificial plants above the kitchen cabinets – they should not have “snow” on them in the house.
    What say you?

    1. What about all the Christmas ornaments that have faux snow on them? What about snowflake ornaments?

      I think Christmas is all about fantasy!

  14. …I love Christmas decorations ! Not teaching anyone to suck eggs, but I always buy ONE gorgeous decoration for my tree every year. I also buy my grandchildren ONE special decoration every year, too & they are a lovely gift for special friends that do not cost the earth but are greatly appreciated.

    its lovely to build up a tree this way & ensures a diversity of memories that the little ones don’t even know yet they are accruing. I still get special joy getting the box of decs down from my loft & opening it for a helping of evocative memories . There is always a fond surprise in there…a favourite decoration I have forgotten about, that immediately brings back memories. My adult children really love seeing the decorations they have grown up with, too & get quite cross if one is not included. (I have to hang their smurf ones, bought in Italy when they were 2 & 3, at the back, I admit !).

    So laurel, have a wonderful thanksgiving & it does appear appropriate at this time of year to thank YOU for the joy, the laughs & knowledge you bring to your on line ‘family’, each time you post your wonderful blog. xxx

      1. aah..laurel. my message to you must have sounded a smug perfect life Christmas & your reply reminds me that Christmas is a difficult time for many. Christmas, as a child for me, was horrid…not having parents who loved me, sent me away & for much of my early life, I felt my nose was pressed up against the windows of perfect families who had Disney -esque Christmas’s. Not so I ! I was determined to enjoy Christmas one day & I do now. Over the years Christmas’s have changed, this Christmas,like last, my husband & I will be alone, our daughter in Australia & my son & his family in Canada, but we are grateful to have each other & there is Skype & friends ! Having been institutionalised in an English boarding school ( which I loved !) & not going ‘home’ for 10 years (a relief !) growing up, I think that is why I am so into interiors & friends! I am grateful for the love I have for my own children & the cosy Christmas we will have in our cottage. All families are different & if we are blessed with good friends they become the ‘family’ we choose. much love to you, Laurel, & I hope you make happy new memories this thanksgiving & Christmas xxxx

        1. Hi Joanna,

          No, I didn’t think it sounded smug at all! But one thing I’ve learned is that even IF everything looks all perfect and rosy, it seldom is as good as it appears. Some people are very good at hiding the truth.

          But here’s to good times with loving family and friends!

  15. I am fairly new to your posts and I think you are a hoot. Love your decorating style and enjoyable writing style. I look forward to your posts every day.
    Thank you for all the time and effort it takes to do what you do. It is recognized and much appreciated. I am not an Interior Decorator by trade but love decorating and can’t get enough looking at decorating magazines and reading all I could about it. I took a couple of courses and know just enough to be dangerous. LOL Thanks. Keep up what your doing and don’t listen to those who are jealous of you.

    1. Hi Ronnie,

      Thanks for such a sweet message! As for knowing enough to be dangerous. I think that goes for everyone in this business. There’s always some peril awaiting at every turn, no matter how much experience one has. I always say that I just try not to make the same mistake twice! lol

  16. What a great post Laurel! Christmas trees are my weakness! Last year I had six, and I’m looking for the perfect size tree to add to another spot this year. MaryAnne, I would have no problem using ALL the ornament collections you have! LOL I start putting them up right about now, and it’s often Valentine’s Day before they’re all put away!
    So looking forward to the rest of the inspiration trees!

  17. Hello Laurel,

    it looks like your first tree is a RAZ tree “porcelain #1 found at this site:

    If you use Chrome as your browser you can right click on an image and do an image search. Think of it as a reverse phone directory for pictures. The librarian in me needed to share that feature.

    Hope that helps and thanks your your work collating beautiful images and sources.

    1. Hi Becca,

      Thanks for the info and not to one-up you, but this is what I do for a living. :] I actually have the google images bookmarklet shortcut installed which does the same thing.

      I use Firefox and chrome when I want to be incognito to my browser. I have to be honest. I didn’t try to find that one again. I figured that I failed the last time. But it does remind me of the red tree, as I suspected which is also from Raz. They are a wholesale outfit so won’t benefit most of us including me. But that tree sure is lovely and thanks so much for the link. I’ll add it in now.

      1. RAZ is a line that usually sold in local Christmas shops, though there are some online retailers that sell the brand. However online retailers don’t usually offer the entire RAZ range because it is very large.


        Laurel, you were both right. It is a tree from Raz, and in the link, there are 60 trees from Raz. The green one is almost at the end, so you’ll find it more quickly if you go backward. Lots of nice trees there! Some great ideas. And I love it that you combine holidays. More and more people are doing so, and it makes all kinds of sense, plus it’s more…friendly. Happy Holidays!

        1. Hi Cynthia,

          Oh sorry, I believe that you misunderstood. I found the tree, but I only link to original sources and that is not the company but a store selling the brand. In this case, it’s probably a tree from a tree show is my guess, or their catalogue or something like that.

  18. Great post, Laurel! Would love to know what other folks do with their desire to have a lovely, decorated, themed tree when they also have the heirloom ornaments, traditions they don’t want to abandon, and the endless collection of ornaments from their kids nursery schools. Your suggestions, Laurel? I would love a new decor-inspired tree, but what do I do with the boxes of ornaments we’ve collected each year of our marriage, not to mention the vintage glass ones we’ve now inherited from our parents’ attics?
    Oh, and btw: you’re totally right about Target losing the mojo on great Chrismas decorations in the last few years. Happy Thanksgiving, and Fa-la-la to All…

    1. That’s a very good point Maryanne,

      Well, this is my philosophy about inherited items, plus stuff children made a decade or more ago. The kid’s stuff, ask them if they would like to keep it. If they do, then put it away for them somewhere. If it’s really important to have it on the tree, then put it on the tree.

      Inherited things: If you’re not that interested in them and nobody else is in the family then I would either sell it or give it away.

      And this goes for everything. Dishes, furniture, art, whatever it is. Lightning will not strike and you will feel so much lighter not to be burdened with stuff you don’t really want. Of course, if something has sentimental value or one of your kids might like it one day, then put it away for them.

      Also, I would take an inventory of what you have because I bet that a lot of it could be incorporated into a new design with some new pieces added to keep it fresh.

    2. Maryanne,
      We too have a tree that is a collection of meaningful ornaments. If it ain’t special, out it went years ago and I have not looked back (like people in your life- be ruthless- they take up too much space to be given special real estate) So yes, our tree is a hodge podge of one of a kinds. But years ago I decided to try to tie all the pieces together and Laurel has many ideas here to do just that. Use a single color ribbon to embellish here and there. Or a neutral gold or silver (or red, or green, or blue or whatever “goes” with the LR sofa) plain ball ornament to fill in. I also bought faux poinsettia bushes at Michael’s and HobLob and cut the stems off the bush.Stick them in here and there. Much more cost effective than buying a gazillion smaller picks. The poinsettias dotting the tree tie everything together and your tree looks like a designer tree but up close it is made up of all the little pieces that is the story of your life. Use these pics as inspiration but just like decorating your home, make your tree “yours”. There’s no ‘wrong’ when you just love it whether it ‘goes’ or not.

  19. Great post, my friend!
    I have a beautiful red velvet with white ermine edged tree skirt. I for one, always look through Frontgate. This year, they’ve got some really flocked trees. We owned one that had a bit of flocking AND pine cones…a client bought two sets of their ornaments, and they are beautiful.

    Have to say, might have to do a second tree this year, because there is no way I’m not getting one of those Leopard tree skirts😎

    Your Designer Pal,

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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