While it may seem early, many people choose Thanksgiving weekend to start putting up their Christmas trees and holiday décor. We asked local decorator and florist Lori Reilly to share her top tips for decorating like a pro this holiday season.
Artificial vs. live trees
The advantage of an artificial tree includes the ability to set up your tree earlier and enjoy it longer, since a live tree’s cut life is approximately 4-5 weeks. To enjoy the scent and beauty of a live tree for an extended period, consider cutting your own tree so there is less lag time between cutting and hydration. Make sure to have a freshly cut trunk before setting it into a tree stand. To prolong the freshness of a live tree, add a tree preservative and water daily. If you want that fresh pine scent without the maintenance of a live tree, hide pine scented rods inside your fake tree. When it comes to decorating, artificial tree limbs are stronger than a fresh tree for holding heavy ornaments.
Make an artificial tree look real
Making an artificial tree look realistic involves “fluffing” each branch. Begin with the lowest branches, and separate the mini branches from the main branch by twisting and turning them away from the main stem. Repeat throughout the entire tree from bottom to top. Don’t forget to push the lower branches down to mimic how a natural tree hangs. As you fluff, natural space will appear between branches where longer ornaments can easily be featured.
Does a pre-lit tree save time?
Stringing the lights on a tree is arguably one of the most time consuming tasks of tree decorating and why many people prefer pre-lit trees for their ease and equal spacing of lights. Adding additional novelty lights in different shapes and sizes can add extra interest. The downside of pre-lit trees is when a strand of lights isn’t working, it can be very difficult to remove them.
What order should I decorate my tree?
Begin with ancillary lights and then tuck larger, less special ornaments into the empty spaces. Place keepsake ornaments front and center. If you like, you can add artificial stems of “icy branches” or florals and bows. Make sure that longer ornaments, icicles, teardrops, etc., are hanging freely and not touching the branch beneath them so they appear to be ‘dripping.’
Create a balance with decorations
While it’s important to balance the overall appearance of your tree, it’s not necessary to use large items only at the bottom and smaller at the top. Instead, you can tuck larger items into the upper-middle area of the tree to create a cohesiveness throughout the tree. Spread matching, simple ornaments equally throughout the tree and fill spaces with unique, one or few of a kind items to create balance.
Use a theme or color palette
You can stick to traditional red and green holiday colors or use colors that blend with a room’s décor which helps create an overall cohesive look. If you choose to use red and green, ensure all your accents are in the same color family.
Choosing a tree topper and tree skirt
The crowning element of your tree, the tree topper, can be anything from a paper angel your child made to a lighted star that belonged to your grandmother. If you’ve twined ribbon throughout your tree, you could use the same ribbon to create a large bow for a topper. Tree skirts finish the bottom of the tree. You can use a traditional tree skirt or something nontraditional like a beautiful piece of fabric, a favorite tablecloth or a fur throw.
Storing your artificial tree
If your storage space doesn’t allow you to wrap the tree tightly in heavy cellophane and cart it to a storage closet (best option), undecorating and gently folding the branches and placing in a box or storage bag is the next best choice.
Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to trim your tree. Ultimately, it’s your tree and should reflect your enjoyment and traditions of the season.
For inspiration, visit the Akron Children’s Annual Holiday Tree Festival being held at the John S. Knight Center from Nov. 11-19.