Looking to experiment with a new Christmas tree style this year? Find inspiration with my top decorating tips and a behind-the-scenes look at our tree
While I love so many aspects of this time of year, for me, the festive season doesn’t truly begin until our Christmas tree is up. Decorating the tree has become a treasured tradition in our household and it’s one activity that we now complete as a family. The girls are really getting involved this year – it’s the first time they’ve been fully engaged, excited, and interested in the process. Watching them carefully inspect each bauble and seeing the joy on their faces as they unpack each decoration makes the experience even more magical.
There are so many Christmas tree styles to choose from, ranging from modern monochrome to traditional displays featuring decorations passed down through the generations. While I don’t believe there are any rights and wrongs when it comes to transforming your home for Christmas, I know that sometimes the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. If you’re in need of inspiration, I wanted to share how we’ve chosen to style our main Christmas tree this year.
Choosing the perfect Christmas tree: real or faux?
In the past, we’ve always had a real tree. A trip to the Christmas tree farm has been a yearly highlight; I love exploring all the options and spending hours searching for the perfect shape before inevitably choosing the first tree we looked at! Chris might not be a fan of my meticulous selection process but, like me, he loves the scent of a real Christmas tree and the visual effect it provides when we arrive home and set it free from its netting. My favourite type of real tree is the classic Nordmann Fir – it holds its needles well, has an A shape, and voluminous branches.
However, since renovating our home and adding underfloor heating and a log burner, we’ve had to make the switch to a faux tree. Our real trees struggled to cope with the warmth and faded far too quickly. When looking for a faux tree, I knew I wanted it to be as close to the real thing as possible. Unfortunately, finding a naturalistic faux Christmas tree is harder than you might think, and tinsel-type branches seem to be much more widespread.
In the end, we landed on a Nordmann Fir from The White Company. While it was an investment, we’re now bringing it out for the third year running and it still looks as good as new. I’m now officially a faux tree fan; I love how practical it is, and most people assume that it’s real thanks to its full, textured branches.
Christmas tree lights
I like to have the flexibility to get creative and change our Christmas tree style each year, so I chose a tree that isn’t pre-lit. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as too many lights! I always choose warm white lights as I feel that they emit a softer beam that suits our home décor well. To add depth and lean into the charm of Christmas, I recommend threading the lights all the way down the length of each branch and then back up again. It takes time but it's worth it to see your tree twinkling magically all season long.
Just add baubles
Baubles can have a grounding effect on any Christmas tree style, and this year, I’ve chosen pebbled glass baubles with mercury, warm soft mist tones, and a touch of glitter. I start by positioning the largest baubles first, placing them carefully to ensure that they hang properly and don’t rest on any of the surrounding branches. The beauty of decorating a faux tree is that you can manipulate the branches into the best possible position.
Once all the baubles are hung and my tree design has a solid foundation, I like to add character with unique decorations. Bells, dried fruit, dried flower stems, and faux flower stems all tend to work well, and I always save spots to showcase the sentimental pieces I’ve collected over the years.
While it can be tempting to add more and more decorations, I think the most effective Christmas tree styles strike the perfect balance between minimalism and all-out extravagance. Carefully considered finishing touches can bring everything together. You might choose to add a wooden star tree topper, a row of pearlescent beads, or a neutral tree skirt, but we’ve opted for ribbon this year. Slender long bows in a subtle shade of satin taupe add interest while bringing all the different tones together.