How to Hang Christmas Ornaments on Your Tree

Decking out your Christmas tree can be as much a science as it is an art. You've got your favorite ornaments, like those precious glass ones from your first family Christmas or the unique handmade ones from a European Christmas market. But how do you arrange them on your tree for maximum effect?

young girl helping decorating

In this article, you'll discover some professional tips and tricks that even the choosiest of decorators will appreciate. From sorting your decorations to deciding on the perfect placement for those big, bold ornaments, we've got you covered. 

Preparing the Tree

Before you dig into the boxes of ornaments, there are a few steps you want to ensure you take to ensure your Christmas tree looks its best. 

Fluffing the Branches

To give your tree a fuller, more natural appearance, you'll need to start off by fluffing the branches. This may seem like a time-consuming task, but the end result is worth it. You'll find a properly shaped tree, whether you're going minimal or lavish with your decorations, provides a visually appealing backdrop.

girl enjoying christmas tree at home

With an artificial Christmas tree, you'll want to separate each branch so they fan out to cover as much area as possible. Feel free to bend individual branches to fill in gaps. If you're working with a live tree, give the boughs and needles a day or so to settle. You'll quickly notice your positive and negative spaces for decoration. 

Placing the Tree Skirt

Once you've adequately fluffed and shaped your tree, it's time to place the tree skirt. Not only does a tree skirt hide the base of the tree and provide an attractive setting for your presents, but it also provides a beautiful finishing touch to your tree's overall design. It should be wide enough to cover your tree stand but not extend past the bottom branches of the tree.

Checking the Lights

With your tree shaped and skirted, the last step in your prep is checking your lights. Many designers recommend having the lights on your tree while you decorate. It helps create the perfect mood and allows you to see any gaps in your tree that need addressing.

mother and daughters near fireplace

Arranging the Ornaments

Once your Christmas tree is properly fluffed and lit, it's time to start decorating. While placing your cherished ornaments on the tree can seem like a daunting task, a little planning and a few key strategies will help ensure every ornament shines.

Hanging the Biggest Ornaments First

Start with your largest ornaments. These impactful pieces do more than just add visual interest: they actually help create the structure of your tree's decoration scheme.

  • Place these ornaments near the trunk, where branches are sturdier and can support their weight.
  • Distribute the biggest elements evenly throughout the tree, and not just on the surface. Nestle some of them a few inches back into the branches, creating depth and visual intrigue.

Balancing Colours and Sizes

Once your largest pieces are in place, begin filling in with the rest of your ornaments. Balance is key here – not only in terms of physical weight but in colour and size distribution.

  • Use a color scheme that complements your overall design. You might choose all earth tones, deep jewel tones, pastels, or even metallics like gold, silver, copper, and bronze.
  • Matte or shiny? It's your call. Mix the finishes of your ornaments to add variety and visual interest. Metallics are great neutrals and work with virtually any colour.

Mixing Different Styles

The beauty of a decorated Christmas tree lies in its uniqueness. Nobody has the same collection of ornaments as you do, so your tree will always be one of a kind.

Don't limit yourself to just one style of ornaments! Mix up the shapes, colours, textures, and sizes and make the decorating style your own.

  • Don't be afraid to break traditional rules and get creative. Feel free to mix different finishes, play around with contrasting colours, or incorporate accents like floral picks and sprays.
  • Experiment with different arrangements. You could try clustering three differently sized baubles for visual appeal, for instance.

Remember, your tree is a reflection of your personal holiday spirit. Don't just strive for perfection or elegance. Instead, aim to create something that brings joy. You could even add some surprising elements to your tree for a bit of magic and charm.

Adding the Finishing Touches

Now that your tree is adorned with a mix of ornaments, it’s time to enhance the look with those all-important finishing touches. You can make use of sprigs, pricks, or the smallest of Christmas decorations. Here, we discuss how to tie ribbons and bows, hang tinsel or garlands, and place the perfect tree topper for a festive sparkle.

Tying Ribbons and Bows

Incorporating ribbons can work wonders for your Christmas tree. Opt for wired or mesh ribbon as it's great for maintaining its shape and doesn't flop over. A medium width ribbon offers the perfect balance - visibly attractive yet not too bulky to weave around the tree. For the best effect, attach small bows distributed uniformly on the ribbon's length. It's always a good idea to play around with contrasting themes, for instance, using a burlap ribbon with luxe ornaments to create a refreshingly modern look.

You can wrap the ribbon vertically around your tree, mimicking a garland, for a timeless, classic appeal. But for something unique, consider weaving your ribbon through the tree in a zig-zag pattern, adding dimension and visual interest.

Hanging Tinsel or Garland

Remember that garlands offer another way to incorporate texture and dimension into the tree's look. As you prepare for hanging, think about the tree's height as you can expect to use about nine feet of garland for every foot in height of a large Christmas tree. If the fluffy tinsel isn't your style, attempt small wire-based garlands with foils cut into shapes like trees or stars.

For a vertical effect, place a large bow at the tree's top and let matching ribbons hang all the way down. Throw in some antique ornaments towards the tree's base to give them the deserved highlight.

Placing Tree Toppers

Truly the cherry on top, a statement tree topper can up your decoration game. It's vital to consider the proportion relative to your tree size and theme, as well as your room's ceiling height. The tree topper usually sets the tone for the tree’s decorations beneath it. Some people prefer traditional toppers like a star or an angel, while others love playing around with oversized bows or sprigs that blend seamlessly with the overall theme.

father son decorating christmas tree

Time to Sit Back and Enjoy

Presenting your Christmas tree in all its glory isn't just about hanging ornaments; it's about tying in a beautiful mix of textures, dimensions, and continuity. So put the kettle on, treat yourself to that cup of hot cocoa you've been yearning for, and let your creativity shine through this holiday season.

Remember, there's no right or wrong way to decorate your tree. It's your tree, your style. Let it reflect your personality and the joy of the season. With the skills you've learned here, each year you'll be able to create a tree that's more stunning than the last.

Back to the top