While Christmas decor trends pop up and fade away, Christmas trees are a timeless part of the holiday home. However, the decorations themselves can become a bit outdated…and maybe even a bit dull. If you’re looking at your blank canvas wondering how to make it shine, you’re not alone!
We’re going to provide you with both time-tested and contemporary ideas for ornaments, lights, garland, tree skirts, and more. You’ll find DIY decorations you can create with friends and family, ways to put a modern spin on classics, and a few ideas that may become new traditions.
The History of Christmas Trees
Before we dive into Christmas tree decorations, we’re going to uncover some of the history surrounding this holiday tradition. While it may seem like decorated evergreen trees were always around during Christmastime, this wasn’t always the case — decorated Christmas trees didn’t appear until some time during the 16th century.
However, pine and firs were an important part of winter decorating before the advent of the modern Christmas tree. Everyone from the ancient Egyptians to Romans to Druids decorated their winter homes with evergreen branches to remind them of the return of spring and life.
The beginnings of the modern Christmas tree emerged sometime during the 16th century when German Christians began adorning “trees” with decorations like cherries and communion wafers. These “trees” weren’t always the pines or spruces we use today; they could be wooden pyramids adorned with branches and paper or small cherry trees.
Another big milestone happened in the 16th century when German Protestant Martin Luther brought a pine tree into his home and decorated it with candles. He believed the candles would remind his family of stars twinkling through evergreen forests.
Even after Christmas trees became popular in parts of Europe, they were considered strange in the United States. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that decorating Christmas trees became an American tradition. Since then, decorated trees have become a staple in December homes. The question of “should I get a tree?” has transformed into “how should I decorate my tree?”
Ornaments are a crucial part of Christmas tree decorations. Whether you’re looking for modern, traditional, eclectic, or heart-felt, we have some ornament ideas for you.
An Ornament for Each Year
Christmas often evokes feelings of nostalgia as we think back to cherished times with loved ones. So why not use Christmas as a time to reflect on years passed?
Each year, purchase or make an ornament that signifies a big personal event or milestone. You can pick an ornament for each family member or opt for one for the household. Did you move to a new city? Find an ornament with the city’s skyline. Did your daughter start ballet classes? Add a tutu or pair of ballet shoes to the tree.
As you decorate your tree, you’ll be reminded of all that has happened over the years.
Citrus and Spice
If you’d like to keep things natural yet fresh, you can’t go wrong with some dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks. When you combine them with the scent of pine, you’ll find your house smelling like a storybook Christmas cabin. While you can buy dried citrus at craft stores, drying your own in a dehydrator or oven will make your house smell like an orange grove.
Twigs and Pinecones
If you’d like to keep a natural look, create some ornaments from twigs and pinecones. Try arranging and gluing twigs to create stars, snowflakes, and picture frames. To finish the tree, find some big pine cones. You can hang natural pine cones for some rustic charm or coat them with metallic spray paint for a more elegant look.
If you’re looking to keep things personal, make and swap handmade ornaments. These can be anything from a paper snowflake to a 3D printed Santa. Once everyone in your family has made an ornament or two, have family members swap their creations. You never know what you’ll end up with, but that’s part of the fun!
Looking to sweeten up the holiday? Then decorate your tree with sugary goodies. Candy canes and gingerbread men are classic options, but you can also fill clear ornament bulbs with gumdrops, malt balls, and other goodies. It probably goes without saying, but you’ll want to keep an eye on kids and pets if you put real candy on your tree.
If you want sweetness with none of the sugar, you can opt for ornaments that resemble sweet treats.
An Ode to Family
Whether you’re spending Christmas with your whole family or you’re miles apart, it’s always nice to be reminded of the important people in your life. Collect some old family photos and turn them into ornaments. To do this you can use picture frame ornaments or create your own using some scrap wood and glue.
Creative Cut Outs
Do you have a collection of cookie cutters you’ve been waiting to break out? Christmas is the perfect time! If you’d like to eat some of your creations, opt for gingerbread or sugar cookie dough. Otherwise, you can whip up a salt dough perfect for sturdy ornaments.
Invite some friends or family over and get to work rolling out dough and cutting shapes. You can choose classic shapes like stars and bells or show some individuality with shapes like dinosaurs and palm trees. Don’t forget to add holes to your cutouts so you can hang them on the tree.
Even if you don’t have much experience with a needle and thread, embroidery is easy to pick up. Grab some small hoops, a bit of fabric, and some thread. From here you can follow a pattern for a bell or star or freestyle to create a one-of-a-kind creation.
Flower Filled Vases
While you might not think of hanging your Christmas flower delivery on a tree, small vase ornaments allow you to do just that. Fill a few of them with water and then add single stems.
If your style is a mixture of traditional and eclectic, try adding brightly colored globes to your tree. The round shape will keep things familiar while colors like lime green and teal take a step away from classic red and gold.
While replicas of classic Christmas balls and figurines resemble vintage ornaments, there’s no replacement for originals. Check with older family members to see if they have ornaments from their childhoods or head to Ebay to grab some antiques.
A Woodland Delight
Just because your tree has been plucked out of the forest it doesn’t mean you can’t take a note from its original home. Find some felted squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons to nestle in among the branches, and then add some nuts and berries. To finish your tree, decorate some log slices with pressed flowers and leaves.
Ribbons and Garland
Whether you opt for ribbon, popcorn, or lace, wrapping your tree is a quick and easy way to dress it up.
Sometimes you can’t beat the classics. Back in the day, people used to string popcorn and use it as garland. While you’re welcome to put on a Christmas movie and get to work, you can also buy artificial popcorn garland to save some time.
If you want to add a touch of the Victorian era to your home, wrap a thin piece of lace around your tree. This lace will pair especially well with vintage ornaments and old-time photos.
To make your tree shimmer, decorate with strings of gold, silver, and bronze beads. They’ll sparkle in the light and add a bit of Hollywood glam to your tree.
Classic Red Ribbon
If you’re someone who doesn’t like to stray far from tried and true ideas, red ribbon is a great choice. You can wrap the ribbon around your tree or use multiple vertical strands.
Grab some friends, mix up some hot chocolate, and spend an afternoon creating paper chains. Making chains is easy, so it’s a great activity for all ages to help with. And since there are so many types of paper available, you can customize your chain to fit your decor. Newspaper adds an old feel, brown paper brings rustic charm, and shimming paper brings some glamour.
There’s nothing like waking up to a twinkling Christmas tree. Check out these ideas to help your tree shine.
To keep things classic, opt for strands of white twinkle lights. These lights pair well with traditional ornaments and also allow eclectic and creative elements to shine.
If you’re looking for that old-time charm, swap out string lights for a crowd of hanging candles. To keep things safe, opt for battery-operated lights rather than real flames.
If you want a blast from the past, choose strings covered with big, colorful bulbs. If you’re really looking to the 80s, don’t forget to add silver tinsel!
Bursts of Blue
Blue string lights add a bit of unexpected yet subtle color. These look great on snow-themed trees as well as white artificial trees.
Tree Skirts and Stands
Whether you’re using a real or artificial tree, you’ll need to use a stand to keep it upright. If you’d like to hide a gaudy metal stand, check out these ideas.
A Big Basket
To keep a rustic look, place a wicker basket collar around your tree. This style works well with natural ornaments such as pinecones and orange slices.
Handprints and Pawprints
If you’re looking to add a touch of family to Christmas, start with your tree skirt. Obtain a solid colored skirt and then gather your human and animal family members. Have each member dip their hand (or paw) in paint and place it on the skirt.
When the weather turns cold, it’s time for velvet to shine. A velvet tree skirt adds a touch of simple elegance.
After you’ve decorated your tree with ornaments and lights, it’s time for the final touch: the tree topper!
Big, Beautiful Bow
A big bow made from a wide ribbon puts the finishing touch on your tree. Since there are so many ribbon patterns and colors to choose from, you can create a topper that perfectly matches the rest of your tree.
Dried Flower Bouquet
Who says flowers are only for the table? While a fresh bouquet will quickly dry out on a tree, dried bouquets will live up to dry winter air. If you don’t want to dry flowers yourself, just add a dried bouquet when you order wreaths online.
Stars are a classic Christmas topper and for good reason! You can choose from options like a simple five-pointed star or a more complex Moravian star.
If you’re a fan of monograms, add a big one to the top of your tree. Craft stores often sell wooden letters that you can decorate with glitter, spray paint, sprinkles, or whatever else you like.
Mini Christmas Trees
If you don’t want to bring a big tree into your home (or you don’t have the room for one), opt for a tabletop Christmas tree.
Candy Covered Tree
While you’ll smile at any little tree sitting atop your table, you’ll really smile if this tree is also a candy dish. Hang mini candy canes from the tree’s tiny branches and then scatter some wrapped chocolates around the base. Pro tip: these decorations are likely to go missing to hungry mouths, so keep a stash for redecorating.
Perfect Paper Decorations
While you can find mini ornaments that match your little tree, you can also opt to make ornaments yourself. With a few sheets of paper and some scissors, you can create tiny snowflakes, gingerbread men, bells, and more. If you have seasonal cookie cutters on hand you can trace the cutters and then cut out the shapes.
A Tiny Forest
One great thing about mini Christmas trees is that it’s easy to fit more than one! Add three or four trees to your table for a simple, seasonal centerpiece.
How to Decorate Your Christmas Tree with Flowers
We noticed floral trees have been trending this season and knew that you all would want to know how to make it, too. So without further ado, here is how you flower bomb your tree.
- Colorful flowers (we suggest using bright roses and spray roses)
- Your choice of base covering. We recommend linen, muslin, or burlap.
- Place your tree on top of the open fabric. Pull up the cloth so that it wraps over the pot, then gather up the extra cloth in your hands and either roll it into a knot or tie it into a bow.
- Next, trim your flower stems to various lengths between 2-10 inches. Keeping the stems is the easiest way to get your flowers to stick in the soil and prop up in your Christmas tree.
- Now, it’s time to decorate! Place your trimmed flowers in whatever pattern desired throughout the tree. You can make a simple garland or dot the tree with your blooms for an all-over floral effect!
We would love to see your holiday flower tree! Share photos by tagging #bouqlove on Instagram.
Start Decorating Your Home for Christmas
With so many decorating ideas to choose from, the hardest part will be deciding on just one! Once you’ve finished your tree, don’t forget to spruce up the rest of your home. Order holiday flowers online, hang some outdoor lights and get ready to enjoy the holidays with loved ones.Shop All