Winter has always been my favorite time of year. The air lightens, the temperature drops, and we get to don ourselves in seasonal attire (shout-out to all you sweater lovers out there!) The excitement of the holiday season is just around the corner. Since childhood, I have made it a point to take on all the holiday decorating myself. Painstakingly placing each ornament and length of ribbon in just the right place was my winter project, and I spent days on it. It wasn’t until I started doing this professionally that I realized the agony of hanging that one ornament on the perfect branch is a little less daunting than it seems, as long as you have a method.

If you’re someone like me, who wants things to be just so, here are a few tips to make your tree decorating a little less stressful this season:

1. Fluff your artificial greenery!
– Packing your artificial tree crushes the individual stems. Pour yourself a cup of hot cider (or a glass of wine), turn on your favorite holiday album, and take the time to adjust your branches so the tree looks full and happy. I touch every branch of the tree when I do this, and I suggest you wear a good pair of gloves to protect your hands!

2. Start with ribbon
– Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. Don’t fret for too long, just…start. Divide the tree into thirds, and work from left to right. DO NOT be afraid to cut your ribbon. I promise it will help. I know that some ribbons are very expensive and the idea of cutting into the beautiful embroidery or embellishments feels like the end of the world. It isn’t. Varying lengths of 4-6ft work best on most trees. Weave those lengths in and out of the branches and use floral wire to attach.

3. Place your largest ornaments next
– Before we discuss this step, here is a tip for you: Ditch the ornament hooks and buy yourself some floral wire to hang your ornaments. It will change your life. Now, working in sections again, set your largest ornaments in places that your eyes are drawn to. These will act as starting points to build and layer your other items. I set mine deep inside the tree to add depth and reflect light.

4. Fill in the holes
– You’ve already established the form of your tree with ribbon and large ornaments; now it’s time to fill it in the holes. Working left to right, I start attaching like ornaments to the tree with floral wire, making sure each section gets at least one of the same ornament. (I purchase ornaments in sets of 6, 8, 12, and so on). Once each section has a like ornament attached, I then cluster them for higher impact. Setting the ornaments both inside and outside of the branches adds depth. Continue this process until you’re happy with how much color and coverage you see.

5. Finishing touches
– No tree is complete without that one (or a few) extra special items that catch your eye. Try adding picks of artificial or real greenery to your tree in those spots where it looks a little blah. (I purchase these in sets of 8 or 12 depending on the size of the pick and the tree). Tie the greenery securely to the branch so that it hangs out a few inches further than the rest of the tree. Add an icicle or a pretty glass dangler to the end, and you’ve got yourself a beautiful wow factor!

I hope these tips help you as you decorate your tree this year! With all the trials we’ve been through in 2020, I personally believe that taking the time to enjoy your holiday decorating is a great way to end the year. Spread some holiday magic around your home, bake some treats, and sit back to enjoy your hard work. You earned it!