Christmas Tree Decorating: From Painful to Delightful

Posted in Home {Our Nest}, Life Lately
on December 6, 2016
Christmas Tree

I always envision decorating the Christmas tree in a glorious, unstresful way.  I picture a crackling fire, hot cocoa in mugs overflowing with marshmallows, Christmas music playing in the background, and us joyfully reminscing about life and memories as we delicately place each ornament on the beautifully lit tree.  And, at the conclusion of this fantasy, I picture a Christmas tree that belongs in a Pottery Barn magazine or something.

Every year, I picture this heavenly decorating day as our kick off to Christmas, and plan for it, and it never quite turns out how I’d hoped.

In this post, I’ll explain what I’ve learned over the last few years caring for and decorating a pre-lit tree.  Follow these Step By step instructions to have a Christmas tree that doesn’t become a pain the neck, & somewhat resembles a designer tree at the end of the day.

Hopefully, your tree decorating experience will go from being painful to delightful.  Here’s to hoping your family tradition of decorating a tree looks more like my fantasy above, and less like a nightmare. ?

Here’s what I’ve learned…

Christmas Tree Decorating

 {Step 1: Storage Solutions}

Usually at the end of the season, I’m either so depressed to be packing away the Christmas stuff, or so embarrassed that it’s nearly March and the tree’s still up, that I hurriedly throw stuff in storage bins and hope for the best next year.

First of all, investing in plastic Christmas tubs and ornament organizers, will help keep your Christmas items safe and protected throughout the year. And, hopefully ensure easy organization wherever you store your Christmas decorations.  They have everything these days, to keep your decorations organized…even wrapping paper storage & tree bags on wheels!

Sometimes…if it’s not March already ?….we’ll make as much of a big deal putting away the Christmas decorations as we do with putting them up.  Sometimes we’ll roast s’mores, or have a jam session with non-Christmas music. Anything to make it go quickly and efficiently, without being too depressing. ?

{Step 2: It’s All In The “Fluffing”}

Christmas Tree

When we (or really it’s just my hubby, let’s be serious) pull the tree from its home at the beginining of the Christmas season, and piece it together, we end up spending quite a bit of time “fluffing” it up.

I think this is an important step, not to be missed. It certainly is not the easiest step or the most fun.  But, it definitely is necessary to transform your tree from, “oh hello, thanks for shoving me in a tiny bag and throwing me in the basement” to “wow look at me, don’t I look glorious like I’ve just been chopped down in a snow covered forest of pine”! ?

Sometimes, during a rare occasion when I have a little patience, I’ll actually let the tree sit upright and put together for a couple of days to let it settle.  This doesn’t happen often…just sayin’!

{Step 3: More Lights the Better}

Christmas Tree

This is the step in which we’ve had the most issues.  Our pre-lit Christmas tree I bought on clearance after Christmas one year.  I thought it was the prettiest tree I’d ever seen, and was super duper excited when I got a great deal on it.

Well, the next year when we were married, and finally in our brand new home, we set up our Christmas tree for the very first time.  And, by the end of the season, several strands of lights had already “blown”.  Bummer.

The tree was still under warranty, so reluctantly, we drug the silly thing back to the store for a light overhaul.  After dealing with a dude who was horrified with us for actually having the audacity to use our warranty (customer service these days, am I right?! ?), we picked up our newly lit tree. We looked forward to many more season with our beautiful Pre-Lit Tree.

Christmas Tree

Sadly, over the last few years we’ve watched it slowly die.  It’s been a slow, painful death filled with hilarious stories.  The tree has a fan following practically.  Every year I’m asked, “how’s your tree doing?”! ?

Over the years, as strands of lights on the tree zap to a hideous end, I restring lights to replace the old ones.  Now, the entire tree is dark and lifeless, until I add glorious life back to the tree in the form of…oh, I’d say ?…around a thousand white lights. ?

Light Storage is really important when you’re stringing your own lights on an artificial tree or a real tree.  And, thanks to our “light fiasco of 2010”, I’ve learned to check each strand of lights before placing them on the tree.   This Light Gun will help you identify the blown out culprit that’s causing issues on you’re pre-lit tree, help you remove the bulb, and even offers storage for new lights in the base.  It’s been a life saver for us!

Checking your lights and replacing burnt out ones at the beginning of the season and before packing your tree away, will save you so much time & a headache!  Believe me! ?

Christmas Tree

When I string the lights on the tree, I follow a pattern to ensure that every branch from the front to the back is lit.  Following this pattern, versus just wrapping the tree in strands of lights in a circular pattern, makes the tree literally sparkle from the inside out!

I start at the base of the tree, and place the strand of lights starting at the trunk of the tree and coming to the tip of the branch and then back to the base again.  I then move on to the next branch hiding most of the wires at the trunk.  Lighting the tree this way hides as much of the wires as humanly possible.

Christmas Tree

I know some decorators who physically wrap the lights around the branches!  I’m sure it looks tremendous, but I don’t have time for that.  I get too excited to begin hanging the Ornaments.  Which leads me to the next step…

{Step 4: Stagger the Ornaments}

Christmas Tree

Everyone wants to place the Ornaments on the tip of the branches.  I, however, like to stagger the Ornaments from the back of the branches to the tips.  I think it adds some visual interest and tiny pops of color, when we “hide” Ornaments father back on the branches!  Plus, it keeps all the dinosaur, King Kong, Peanuts, & Santa Ornaments hidden inside the tree.

I like the look of a unified themed tree, but my husband does not.  He loves a true “family Christmas tree” with every ornament from childhood displayed.  So, to compromise, we add every ornament we own.  It is a fun tradition to reminisce about where and when we got Ornaments.  In fact, any time we travel, we pick up an Ornament from that location.
Christmas Tree Decorating

I also pick a theme.  This year I added buffalo check Ornaments from Pottery Barn, along with red and white Ornaments that I’ve collected over the years.  I like the tree to have an overall unified look, while still displaying our favorite characters and interactive Ornaments that we’ve collected.

Christmas Tree

If you were to walk up to our tree, you’d hopefully notice the theme of red, white, & buffalo check.  But, you’d also see various Ornaments, some over 30 years old hidden within.  It’s like a loving scrapbook.  I love it!

{Step 5: Add Finishing Touches}

Adding some final details will be what sets your tree apart from others, and give you that designer look.

Finishing touches could include a beautiful tree skirt, an angel or a star at the top of your tree, ribbon, sprigs of flowers or berries, etc.

Christmas Tree

Another finishing touch I love, is to add a few Scentsicles to the branches of the tree near the trunk so they can’t be seen. Scents like Pine & Evergreen, will give an artificial tree the scent of a “real” tree.  It’s the best of both worlds!

Christmas Tree

There you have it!  My simple steps to turn Christmas Tree Decorating from Painful to Delightful!  I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & happy Decorating!

Christmas TreeChristmas TreeChristmas TreeChristmas Tree Decorating

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to get my latest posts via email, as well as My Weekly Newsletter that includes goodies like Printables, Worksheets, Recipes, Favorite Pins, & a New Spotify Playlist to put some pep in your step! It's like a party in your inbox!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Roseanne Mazzella

    Beautiful Stephanie!!!! You pre-light tree story still has my giggling!!! I still can’t believe how detailed you were stringing your lights!!! Merry Christmas

    December 8, 2016 at 12:21 am
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Hahahaha! My hands were all cut up from getting up close and personal with the tree. Hopefully next year I won’t have to worry about this fiasco. ?

      December 8, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Leave a Reply

    You may also like