Award winning Interior Designer Anne Tuohy shares her fabulous and foolproof Christmas decorating guide.
10 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree
Step One – Check your lights
Check that all your lights are working, and also figure out how many sets of lights you actually need.
I usually calculate 100 lights for every three feet of tree.
My trees are nine feet tall, so I use 300 lights per tree. You may need a socket extension lead too, depending on how many sets you require. I have a 5 amp lamp socket beside my trees, so I change the plug to a 5 amp, this means that I can turn the lights on and off using the wall switch, no more fumbling behind the decorated branches!
If you can find a socket extension lead with a stomper switch, this will also make your life much easier.
Step Two – Fluff up your branches
This obviously only applies to an artificial tree. I usually wear gloves to protect my hands while doing this, but this is a personal choice.
Make sure that you have all the sections of the tree arranged in the correct order, but don’t attach them all at once,
Connect the bottom section first, this is usually the largest and widest section.
Fluff as you go along, working your way up. If your tree is pre – lit, turn the lights on at this stage, to give you a better picture of the tree’s shape, and you can also see any gaps. Make sure that each of the branches has fallen into place.
Begin with the inner branch tips, and move outwards.
Point the outer tips in different directions, up and down, and fan them out from the centre. Doing this really increases the volume.
Focus on fluffing every branch layer, and then move upwards. When you have completed the bottom section, connect the next one, and repeat the process. I usually refer to the photo of the tree on the box to guide me in creating the correct shape.
Step Three – Light your tree
Unless your tree is pre – lit, you will need to add your lights now.
Some of your pre – lit bulbs may not work any more, so you may need to add some extra strings of lights anyway.
To me the lights are vital in creating the perfect tree.
Starting from the top, carefully drape the lights in a circle, front and back, layer by layer, until you reach the bottom.
If you need to use a multi point socket extension lead to accommodate multiple strings, you can run it down the centre of the tree at this point, and it will not be seen when the tree is dressed in all its glory!
Step Four – Choose your topper
Decide which topper you want to use, and place it in position now. For years, I placed the topper last, meaning that I always knocked some decorations off the tree in the process. So, climb up that ladder now, and fix that topper first.
Step Five – Add your garlands and ribbons
Now is the time to add your garlands, ribbons and bows. You can layer the ribbon to create a shaped garland.
Start at the top, and weave it evenly as you come down the tree. I like to use wired ribbon because you can position it so easily. You can also make very simple, and absolutely beautiful decorative bows from this ribbon too.
Step Six – Create focal points
At this stage, you can add any oversized focal points. Here they are cute signs, but I also use big gold cherubs positioned evenly around the bottom part of the tree.
Step Seven- Ornaments and balls
Now you can fill in all the available space with your ornaments and balls. Remember to place the larger sized decorations towards the bottom, medium sized in the middle, and the smaller ones at the top. This is one of the trees in my house on the right, and this part is my favourite.
I especially love to find and hang the decorations that the boys made in playschool. Thay are all dated, and evoke such lovely nostalgic memories.
Step Eight – Spinners and crystals
I have some gorgeous Waterford Crystal decorations that were given to me by a very dear friend. If you like to hang crystal decorations, or the ones that spin, position them on the tips of the tree for maximum impact. It is also lovely to view the tree lights through them.
Step Nine – The tree skirt
Finally – the tree skirt! It dresses the base of the tree, and provides the perfect backdrop for all your beautifully wrapped presents.
Step Ten – Grab a glass, stand back and enjoy
This is my reward, and I will certainly enjoy it. One tree done, one to go!
Christmas is all about family and creating special memories. Do let me know how you get on with decorating your tree, and I really hope that my little tips help.