It's officially time to start trimming the tree and decking the halls! TV host and home expert Monica Mangin from East Coast Creative is sharing her best Christmas tree decorating ideas, and even has tips to help you decide what type of tree works best for you this holiday season.
The great debate: Real or artificial?
People are very passionate about their tree preferences. I’m personally a fan of both real and artificial — we do a combo in my home! Before you start decorating, it's important to decide what type of tree is right for you.
The pros of real trees:
- It’s all about the experience. Chopping down or picking out a tree with your family is just about as nostalgic as it gets.
- It smells great. A fresh cut pine tree will have your home smelling like the holidays.
- There's a huge variety. No two trees are exactly alike. Fresh trees offer a range of shapes, sizes and styles.
The cons of real trees:
- They're messy. Certain varieties drop more needles than others, but regardless, it's guaranteed to be a bit of a mess with a live tree.
- You need to water them regularly. Live trees require a bit of TLC! Daily watering is a must to keep it alive throughout the holidays.
- It's an annual expense. You need to pony up yearly for a new tree. This adds up over time.
The pros of artificial trees:
- They're convenient. Artificial trees are easy to set up and most come pre-lit, saving tons of time.
- They're mess free. There are no pine needles and sap to clean up.
- You'll save money. Although a good artificial tree might cost more initially, the long-term savings are huge compared to buying a real tree every year.
- They're picture perfect. An artificial tree is perfectly uniform. If you’re a perfectionist, a faux tree might be the way to go!
The cons of artificial trees:
- It's the same every year. The tree is identical year after year. For some people that’s actually a good thing, but if you crave variety, you may want to consider a real tree!
There's no nostalgia. Unless pulling the tree from storage holds a special place in your heart, there’s less nostalgia than choosing a live tree each year.
Homespun family tree tips
Most family trees are filled with a crazy (and fun) mix of ornaments from keepsakes to kids’ handmade creations. They’re sentimental and special, but can sometimes feel a little chaotic. These are some of my best tips to add a little “calm” to your family tree.
- Light it up. Add large bulb string lights in addition to the smaller traditional size strands. You can also add these in addition to the lights that come with a pre-lit tree.
- Don't be afraid to go big. Jumbo ornaments balance out the “eclectic keepsakes” and give the tree a unified feeling, even if there's a lot going on!
- Personalize it. Create a handprint tree skirt as a keepsake.
Choose a theme
Decorating a tree is a great opportunity to go all-in on a style! Theme options are practically endless, but below are a few of my favorites this season.
1. Modern flocked tree
Flocked trees have become popular recently. These artificial trees have the magical vibe of fresh snowfall. Flocked trees work great with a ton of different styles, but for this one we went with a modern DIY theme.
- Think outside the box. Almost anything can be an ornament. We used copper pipe fittings threaded with twine and hot glued hooks onto black marble hexagon bathroom tile to create these modern ornaments. It cost just $20 total.
- Pop a collar. Tree collars are a fun alternative to traditional tree skirts and come in a variety of styles. It gives a cleaner, streamlined look to the base of your tree. Some of my favorites are rustic woven, hammered gold and other metal finishes.
2. Fashion-inspired rustic tree
I looked to my closet for inspiration for this one! The buffalo check has a very cozy, but hip feel to it, giving off a bit of a hipster vibe.
- Make a creative garland. Use ribbon as a garland for an easy, inexpensive way to infuse a specific style onto your tree.
- Use florals. These are a designer secret for decorating trees! Flowers, berries or pine cones are a unique element that add texture and visual interest to any tree.
- Make handmade ornaments. Wood slice ornaments are an easy DIY project that look awesome on rustic style trees. All you need are wood slices (you can cut them fresh or grab some at the craft store), black paint and metallic paint pens. Customize them with family names or inspirational holiday words and phrases.
If you’re looking for even more theme ideas and designer tricks, check out my 2019 Tree Decorating Guide over on East Coast Creative Blog.