Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

I am intentionally keeping my Christmas simple this year and that includes how I decorated my Christmas tree.  Less store bought decorations… more twinkle lights, candles and time to enjoy the magic of the holidays.

I want to be more present, to give more attention to moments as they are unfolding instead of feeling rushed to get it all done.

We always get a real tree from a local nursery. Every year I come up with a different color scheme to decorate it using a variety of our favorite ornaments. The last two years I used red. This year it is black, white and silver.

Vintage silver Christmas tree ornament

Instead of placing every ornament and handmade ornament I had on the tree, I went through all my ornaments and picked out all the silver and Mercury glass ornaments.

Simply decorated real Christmas tree with white twinkle lights and silver mercury glass ornaments

They add a little bit of a vintage touch that I love to see at Christmas.

Vintage silver Christmas tree ornament

The Mercury glass ornaments really come alive at night when they reflect the glow of the white twinkle lights I adore. Christmas without twinkle lights on the tree is just not Christmas for me.

Lake Murray SC in winter

I also chose to keep the Christmas tree decorations and the rest of the house simple so they don’t clash with this view.  Even in winter when the lake level is down… the lake, big blue sky and nature all around are tough competition for the decorations.

Simple Christmas tree ribbon box topper

Our little part of the lake gives us a show from sun up to sun down, providing us with a changing scene all day long. I call it my wall art. :-)

Any added decoration has to work with it… up to a point.

Wicker Christmas Tree collar getting a coat of glitter

Do you remember this Christmas tree collar that I made a few years ago using a big basket I found at the thrift store?  This year after I had the tree up, I decided it needed a touch of glitter.

How to add glitter to a basket style Christmas tree collar.

To add it, I simply sprayed the tree stand collar with spray glue and shook glitter all over it.

I know what you are thinking… “Why didn’t you add it before you put up the tree, as it would have been easier?”  Yes, it would have been a lot less messy, but the idea only came to me after the tree was up. There was no way I was going to take it down just to add glitter.

Glitter, twinkle lights and yes….

Black and white gift wrap on presents with colorful ribbon bows

…seeing pops of color. I added them in the way of satin ribbons on black and white gift wrapped Christmas presents.

Black and white buffalo plaid ribbon on gift wrap of the same design

I found the 3-1/2″ wide white buffalo black plaid ribbon at TJMaxx. It is also where I bought all the gift wrap  There was only 1 roll of the ribbon, but I knew it would be a perfect accent for the silver ornaments, so I grabbed it.

The satin ribbons are mostly from craft stores. I have assembled quite a stash over the years and enjoy finding ways to use it. I store all of it in the ribbon organizer I made for the wall in my studioffice.

Now that the tree is up and decorated, the way I enjoy it the most is when the sun goes down…

Candle glowing in front of a Christmas tree with white lights

…and the twinkle lights begin their magic. I have a few candles burning and Christmas music is playing.  Seasonal bliss… :-)

I am enjoying it all evening long, but enjoy the coziness the most at dusk as I prepare dinner. I love the atmosphere with a glass of wine as I cook and can still see the twinkling tree and hear the music.

Decorating Resources: Twinkle lights 

Christmas Tree Decorating Schemes I Have Used Over the Years

Even before I started blogging, I had decorated quite a lot of Christmas trees… literally hundreds and have shared all my Christmas tree lighting tips and tricks that make decorating a Christmas tree an easier job.

If you are looking for Christmas tree decorating inspiration, here are a few trees I have decorated over the years using a variety of color schemes.

Christmas decorating and wrapping ideas

The Red Plaid tree on which I used many diffgarlands I made. I posted about how I made them:

  • How to Make a Snowball Garland
  • Tiny white pom-pom garland is yarn bought at the craft store.
  • Red pom-pom garland and wide red plaid ribbon are from Michaels
  • Ho Ho Ho Ribbon is from Paper Mart
  • I bought the gold bead garland at a yard sale.
Christmas Tree Skirt Ideas Hinged Frame

The Turquoise Tree

Christmas Decorating Ideas All Through the House

The Dead Tree

  • I truly enjoyed bringing this dead tree back to life with white spray paint and shiny glass ornaments purchased at Michaels and Walmart.

The Snowflake Tree

  • I added glitter to foam snowflakes I bought at the dollar store to decorate this tree. I reused the pipe cleaner garland I made from a previous year. When I worked in the visual department at a department store I got a bin full of large fuchsia balls that were being thrown away – one of the perks of the job.  I haven’t used them in the past few years, but I still have them.
Christmas tree garland ideas to make using ribbon

The Vertical Ribbon Tree

  • I created this tree for a sponsored post when I first started blogging. I used ribbons and made garlands with shapes to hang. It was colorful, but hid too much of the tree and lights.

How are you decorating your Christmas tree this year? Are you looking for some magical new Christmas decorating ideas?

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  1. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    All are really beautiful trees. My favorite is the red plaid. And I’ve always had a fond place for dead trees decorated. I think this stems from Charlie Brown’s Tree. And I’m definitely loving your black, white and silver of this

    Merry Christmas!

  2. I love the simplicity of your decorating. I am also going with a more simple theme this year. I am on a tight budget this year due to having 3 in college, and I am tired of some of my decorations, so I opted to not use them. I am enjoying the atmosphere with the less is more approach. Thanks for your inspiration!

  3. Carole Larsen says:

    Everything you did this year looks so beautiful and simple is my word this year also. Since I won’t be at my home this year for Christmas I was able to decorate less and I actually feel more relaxed and everything looks less busy. That doesn’t mean that next year I will be back to normal.

    I would miss not seeing your blogs and hope you keep us entertained for years to come.

  4. I’m so with you on a simpler Christmas. I’ve only put out bowls of ornaments, and my dear MIL’s ceramic tree so far….that’s it. The tree comes next week. I am curious though…on your mantle, you have pine cones on candlesticks…did you use glue dots or museum wax to keep them upright? Your ‘dead tree’ is one of my favorites. Your current tree is so magical! ;)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Donnamae – I wrote in the post how I attached the pinecones. It is right under the photo. :-) I used hot glue. Apply a dab of hot glue to the bottom of the pinecone and place on top of the candle holder. When the holidays are over, simply snap the pinecone off. Remove any hot glue residue from candleholder by holding it under very cold water. The glue will become hard and you will be able to peel it off.

      1. Sorry I missed that…thank you for taking the time to answer!! ;)

  5. 1960s girl says:

    I would love to see how to make an ornament tree, but there doesn’t seem to be a link to it.

  6. I love the idea of keeping things simple. In fact, my family has decided to stop exchanging gifts this year. We all have had some unexpected expenses. We are going to each bring a gift and play the different version of the Dirty Santa game that my daughter-in-law found last year. It was quite the hit. I love the red plaid tree that you did. There is nothing like the traditional Christmas colors.

  7. The Modest Mansion says:

    Diane – perfect sentiment for this time of year! Slow down and smell the pine! Our new home doesn’t need much decor to feel “Christmassy”. Sometimes less really is more – have a great holiday!

  8. DONNA WRIGHT says:

    My favorite is the “dead tree”, BUT I love everything you do! May God bless you and your family throughout this Christmas season and beyond.

  9. One of my favorites is the Dead Tree, too! I also think the ribbon tree could be tweaked a little to be gorgeous; I would do velvet and satin and burlap ribbons in white/black/tan and have the ribbons go in and out of the leaves, like waving as they go down! So inspiring……!

  10. Cathy L CLARK says:

    I LOVE your “simplified” Christmas décor so much! I too slowed way down this year & I’m happy for it! You’ve done a beautiful job, as always!

  11. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    Beautiful Diane, you truly don’t need anything else besides that view. Love your tree. And I’m so with you. I’m keeping it simple this year too and have been blogging a lot less. It feels very good ;)

  12. I’m also trying to have a simpler Christmas this year and enjoy the moments without feeling rushed. I was taking out boxes of decorations when it occurred to me that I don’t actually have to use all of them as I usually do, so I’m being selective with my decorating. My tree is a traditional fresh tree with the various ornaments we’ve collected over the years (including some our children made), but I mix it up by changing the lights each year. This year is a purple/teal/gold lights theme. I’m inspired by all of your trees, but that dead tree is especially striking with the vibrant colors against the white branches!

  13. Lisa Ronan says:

    Boy would I love a post of just all your previous trees! I love the glitter basket idea and I’m totally stealing the pipe cleaner garland! It has such a vintage look to it.

    As for my trees, I must confess I usually have one per room, each with its own theme. Not sure if it’ll happen this year or not with all the craziness in my life, but my family room tree is always blown glass ornies. There’s just something about the tradition of it?

  14. Joanne B. says:

    Gah! I literally came home from Home Goods, ate dinner and sat down to escape to blogland and you are always on my list! I love your black, white and silver tree! Now when I was in Home Goods I saw what i think are those very same mercury glass ornaments for $3.99 each and I LOVED THEM but I told myself I have enough Christmas stuff and they did not come home with me. Sigh. Needless to say, tomorrow I will go back to Home Goods (luckily they had quite a few!) and treat myself to a few or 10! I do a traditional tree with ornaments I have collected for the 38 years we have ben married. I love the idea of going a little simpler, but I do so love seeing my favorite ornaments again every year and couldn’t bear to know I was leaving some in the box because they didn’t make the cut! Do I “need” those mercury glass ornaments? No, absolutely not. But my tree does. They are the epitome of a classic, traditional tree and I must comply, right?

  15. Your tree is so pretty! I love shine and sparkle for Christmas, too!

  16. Oh, they’re all beautiful! So cheery and joyful looking, Diane….I’m envious! Love the buffalo plaid ribbon….and I have some gorgeous silver as well as blood-red mercury glass ornaments. Absolutely adore them!

  17. Hi Diane… I have a question about your twinkle lights. Do they actually twinkle, or do they flash? I’ve been trying to find genuine twinkle lights for a long time, but most of them flash and it drives me crazy. ;)

      1. Thanks Diane! I’m not sure how I missed that post, but I just ordered them. SO excited!!

  18. Looks so elegant! Can’t wait for the xmas house tour!!

  19. MaryJean Zajac says:

    Oh, that view is to die for! Love the way you decorate the tree and the gift wrappings.

  20. Diane, i love this years tree but then all of your trees are so pretty.

  21. My tree this year is white lights, white/cream, silver and crystal ornaments. Quite lovely in our light neutrals LR room.

    My favorite tree of yours is the Dead Tree. It’s just so creative!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Connie – Thanks. It is one of my favorite trees. One that just came together without any planning. :-)