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Christmas Tree Decorating Tips

You do not have to be the design guru to create a Christmas tree worthy of a display window. Just follow these general guidelines to give your tree maximum impact this year.

A complete tree traditionally is composed of lights, garland, trim, and ornaments, arranged in that order. Add a tree skirt for a finishing touch. It is customary to add the topper last, although this is mostly for ceremonial purposes.

Lights
Thread lights from the base of the tree to the tip, and the inside branches to the outward ones. For trees taller than 4 feet, use up to 100 small twinkling lights per foot. Trees 2-3 feet tall need 35-80 lights. If you prefer to use the larger C-7 or C-9 bulbs, multiply the height of your tree by its dimension. For trees up to 7 feet divide this number in half. Divide by 3 for trees over 7 feet. Check the packaging of C-7 and C-9 bulbs, since not all brands have been approved to use with artificial trees.

Exercise caution when using strings of lights end-to-end. As a general rule, do not hook more than 3 sets of lights together, as doing so can overload the circuits and blow the fuses. Some commercial grade sets are safe to hook up to six sets. Hook together only strings of the same lights; for example, never hook a string miniature twinkling lights to a line of C-7 bulbs. This is also true when hooking your tree topper to the light sets. Use a 3 outlet cord instead. Discard any damaged light sets or decorations and turn everything off when you go to bed for the night!

Garland
Garlands can be made of tinsel or beads, and some ambitious revelers still make their own garlands out of popcorn, cranberries, and/or linked paper. Ribbons of various widths, styles, and colors also make fabulous garlands. Hung in large loops, garland adds drama to your tree, although how you drape your garland is a matter of taste and sometimes depends on the size of your tree. (Large loops can look silly on a smaller tree.) Nowadays you can also string garland vertically, by securing it at the top and looping downward. Experiment to see what looks best. Garlands may slip, particularly if the tree is delicate or droopy. To keep them in place, wind the garlands around the branches or secure with ribbons or wire.

You will probably need about 10 feet of garland per foot of tree. Any extra garland can be used to decorate around the house, and is particularly lovely used on the mantle or in wreaths. You may use up to three different types of garland, but make sure these coordinate with each other.

Ornaments
Whether you have hundreds of one-of-a-kind collectibles, or a box of shabby hand-me-downs, your tree can look fabulous if you hang your ornaments well. First, create depth and interest by hanging some ornaments on the inside branches. Use plain or inexpensive ornaments for this, using the outside branches to showcase collectibles, if you have them. If you are still building up your collection, shoot for 10 special themed ornaments per every 2 feet of tree. Hang similar ornaments in a group, taking care not to crowd them, but keep them together for maximum impact. You really canít have too many ornaments, the key is in the spacing.

A word about metal hooks: save them for fishing! Instead, use loops of ribbon, raffia, or cord to hang ornaments. These can be a unifying factor if your ornaments donít all match, and are much lovelier and easier to handle than metal hooks.

Skirt, Trim and Toppers
This would include tinsel, bows, or whatever else you want to throw on your tree. Trim can be used to tie together different types of ornaments, but itís completely optional. Whatever you do, donít spoil your tree by drowning it in trim. Use a little for enhancement. As far as the skirt goes, it should be big enough to cover the stand, but not bigger than the average branches. Add some wrapped presents and you are ready to go!

The most common toppers are stars, angels, and finials, but these days you can use almost anything to top your tree. A big bow that matches the garland would be a fine example of a tree topper. Your tree topper is a significant piece, so choose wisely!

About the Author:
Emma Snow is a creator at for Ornament Shop http://www.ornament-shop.net and Craft Kits http://www.craft-kits.net leading portals for crafts and ornaments.

 


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