Father and young daughter sharing a heartwarming moment by the Christmas tree, reading a book together while snuggled up

Trimming the tree before Christmas is a special tradition that the whole family can come together for. Picking up a cut tree or getting down your imitation tree from the attic is just the beginning of the adventure. The trimming of the tree is what memories are made of. If you have been doing this for a while, you probably have a box (or several boxes) of decorations and ornaments that you pull out every year. Why not spice things up this year and decorate in a new theme? 

Ever wondered how those trees in shop windows all look so perfectly warm and inviting? You can create the best-decorated tree in the neighborhood, by reading our simple techniques and tips for trimming like a pro. We’ll also give you some ideas for themes that you can adopt this year. 

The first step is to add the lights. Buy an extra box in case you don’t have enough once you start decorating. You can always put them up elsewhere if you have too many. Plug them in first to test them before you hang them, and replace any blown bulbs. Try to apply the lights so that the wires are not conspicuous. Start at the base of the tree and work up, winding the wires around every even or odd branch. Wind the lights around the trunk of the tree also – lights from the inside of the tree create a lovely effect. 

Now put on your garlands, adding each one in a looping motion and spreading them evenly across the branches. If you have ribbon to create bows, cut one length and tie a bow, and if it’s the right size, untie it and cut the other lengths to match. To attach the bows, you can either tie the bows directly to the branches, or use threading wire to tie them on. 


Lastly, the ornaments! It’s a good idea to lay out all of your ornaments first, to see how many of each style and color you have. The trick to a professional looking tree is to balance the colors, shapes and designs. The larger, heavier ornaments should adorn the base of the tree and the smaller ones can go up towards the top. Choose one style at a time to decorate with, distributing the ornaments evenly across the tree; then add a new style, and so on.

If you are thinking you’d like to try a theme this year, you can still incorporate your favorite ornaments and family heirlooms – just use a theme as a base for them. These are some ideas for themes that do not require too much skill to create a stunning effect.

Candy Cane

The whimsy of this theme is a favorite for children of all ages. In times of old, the original Christmas trees were decorated almost exclusively with food items. Early trees were symbolic of the Paradise Tree from biblical stories of the Garden of Eden, so it was traditional to adorn the tree with cookies, wafers and fruit. These were the symbols of plenty. Today, we still often decorate with food, usually in the form of candy!

Make peppermint twists from red and silver tinsel and embellish with bold red, silver and sparkling white ornaments in any combination of designs. Clusters of red berries add a natural element, and imitation or real gingerbread men offset the red and white stripes of the candy canes and make your tree completely scrumptious. The adorable Gingerbread Family Ornaments from Personal Creations come personalized with family members’ names on each gingerbread person. Candy Cane themed Christmas trees look fabulous in red and white, but don’t be surprised if some of the candy ornaments go missing before December 25th rolls around.

white christmas tree


Create a warm and cozy atmosphere with the old-worldly charm of vintage ornaments in warm natural colors. Complement your vintage-style ornaments with carved wooden ornaments, pinecones, small dried gourds and seedpods to create a rustic look, and cut one-foot lengths of thick raffia, canvas and burlap ribbon and form into bows tied to the boughs. Decorate your traditional tree with angel and cherub ornaments and papier-mâché orbs.

Around the World

If you and your family travel a lot, collect Christmas ornaments in every city you visit and decorate your tree with the new additions every year. Those moments shared trimming the tree will be all the more special as you reminisce with each passing year, on the trips you’ve taken, for business or leisure, solo or together as a family. Fill the boughs with glass and ceramic world globes and accent your tree with small apples, kumquats, and dried pomegranates.

Conjure up images of snow-laden trees in a European forest in winter. Emulate snow with rolled cotton along the branches and sprinkle the entire tree with white glitter. Embellish with icicles and snowflakes made of glass and crystal, silver tinsel and glitter covered ornaments and glass orbs.

Family Nostalgia

Decorate your tree with little frames that hold special family photos, and keepsake ornaments that have been passed down through the generations. Personal Creations “Merry Christmas From Heavenphoto ornaments pay tribute to family members who have passed, and Photo Glass Ornaments personalized with the little ones’ pictures make children feel special at Christmastime. The Personal Creations Christmas Handprint Ornament is a beautiful way to celebrate baby’s first Christmas. Simply press your child’s hand into the plaster mold to create a sentimental keepsake that will last for years.

Americana Tree

Little US flags and red white and blue ornaments make the Americana tree the perfect way to say, “welcome home for the holidays” to a family member visiting from abroad or coming home from military service. The beauty of this theme is that you can take inspiration (and ornaments!) from your box of Fourth of July decorations. Etched Glass Ornaments from Personal Creations can be personalized with messages that resonate with you as the true meaning of Christmas. If a loved one is away on duty, honor them with his or her own special glass ornament.

Whether your tree is a pine, fir, Cyprus, cedar, spruce, or replica tree, decorate it with embellishments and ornaments in a theme this year. Take inspiration from the themes mentioned here, or come up with an original theme that fits your own personal style. Merry Christmas to all!