How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

Make decorating your Christmas tree a simple task with these easy lighting techniques

One of the most memorable moments of each holiday season is trimming the tree. Make sure this year’s tradition goes off without a hitch by following these quick and easy tips.

What You Need

Prepare to Decorate the Christmas Tree

Decorating your tree

1. Start with the lights. Choose indoor lights that are UL Listed with the same color cord as your tree. Incandescent lights offer a warm glow, energy-efficient LEDs have a cool glow, and bubble or novelty lights add personality.
2. How many lights do you need? Determine the tree’s height. For low coverage, use 100 mini-lights per foot of tree, 250 for medium cover and 350 for heavy coverage. So for a 7-foot tree, low coverage will require 700 mini-lights. Reference this guide for more information.
3. Determine a light stringing technique. Choose between draping the lights, making a triangle or wrapping branches.
4. Check for dark spots. Once your lights are placed, stand back six to eight feet and squint your eyes until the tree becomes blurry. This will reveal any spots you may have missed to string lights.
5. Gather ornament hooks. Have a variety ready to accommodate all sizes and weights of ornaments.
6. Hang large ornaments. Hang symmetrically from top to bottom, and try to have three for every foot of tree.
7. Hang medium ornaments. Place these ornaments farther into the branches, with eight to 10 for every foot of tree.
8. Fill in small gaps and branch tips with small ornaments, with 20 for each foot of tree.
9. Drape garland and ribbon, using two to three different shapes or kinds of garland. Drape one kind in a looping pattern around the branch tips, and drape the second garland in a similar pattern, but overlap the swag shapes.
10. Top the tree.
11. Install a smart plug so you can control the lights from an app on your smartphone.

Light Stringing Techniques

Light stringing patterns

1. The draping technique uses the fewest lights. Start at the top and drape lights around the tree.
2. When using the triangle technique, divide the tree into three vertical triangles in fill in each.
3. The branch wrapping technique is when you start at the trunk of the tree and wrap each branch to two inches from the tip and back again.