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Decorating Your Tree Like a Pro

One of the joys of the season for many of us is finding the perfect Christmas tree and decorating it as the centerpiece of our home.

From selecting your tree, to attaching lights, to adding baubles and finally the topper, each step is vital to creating your holiday masterpiece.

If you are looking to up your Christmas tree game, here are some strategies pulled from the world of professional decorators and set designers who have created amazing holiday trees.

Your first step is picking out your Christmas tree.

And here’s where I’m going to make my annual pitch that a live or freshly cut tree is so much better than an artificial tree. I’ve got lots of reasons why “real” Christmas trees are preferable, but I’ll limit myself to one: they are better for the environment.

Real trees are grown on farms in all 50 states. They help preserve open space and are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees, about 80 percent of which are manufactured in China, contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs in the United States, including one here in Flagstaff.

And having a real tree each year means you can change it up every holiday season. Warner’s Nursery will be offering four different types of trees starting this November, including cut Douglas Firs, with their soft green blue coloring and sweet scent and Noble Firs, known for their gorgeous green color and sturdy branches that can easily hold heavy ornaments.

There’s also the option of potted live trees that you can plant on your property after the holiday season. Warner’s Nursery will be offering Colorado Blue Spruce and Oregon Green Pine this year.

When you get your tree home, you’ll want to give it a day or so to let the branches settle.

Then you’ll need to think about your “theme.” If you need some inspiration, I’d suggest Pinterest or the internet, but some of the most popular themes include:

Rustic and traditional – lots of red ribbon and pine cones, homemade ornaments and maybe a touch of gold, silver or copper for a little sparkle.

Snowy or winter white tree – there’s nothing quite as dramatic as a tree of rich green decked out entirely with white ornaments, snowmen and icicles.

Toyland – If you’ve got little kids, a tree filled with colorful animals, letter blocks, and small toys is perfect.

Color palette – A very striking design is clustering ornaments of the same color together to create a rainbow of hues across your tree.


Your theme is only limited by your imagination – there are seaside trees full of starfish and seahorses, garden trees that feature lots of flowers, and retro trees with those totally groovy bubble lights that look like candles.

Once you’ve got your theme decided and ornaments selected, it’s time to build your tree.

Start with the lights. Your best bet is to start at the bottom with your plug as the starting point. Wrap the lights around your tree’s trunk and work your way up the center of the tree. Then, continue wrapping the lights evenly around the branches, weaving the lights so that you alternate under one branch and over the next.

Then move on to your ornaments. Simple reflective balls should be stationed closer to the trunk so they can help amplify the lights, and more decorative items should be closer to the branch ends where they can be seen. For effect, you might want to cluster your baubles in small groups. Make sure that your tree decorations are balanced and spread out to your liking.

To add another layer of decoration, use decorative ribbons, garland or “tree picks” (decorative branches with bendable stems you can lay into your tree).

Finally, it’s time for your topper. Whether it’s an angel, a star, or large showy flowers, make sure the decoration crowning your tree complements both your theme and the size of your tree.

And while your tree is the showstopper for your holiday décor, you don’t have to stop there. Poinsettias, live garland and stockings will help complete the holiday scene and make the season even merrier in your home.

Happy holidays and happy gardening from all of us at Warner’s Nursery! FBN


Misti Warner-Andersen is the manager of
Warner’s Nursery & Landscape Co., located at 1101 E. Butler Ave. in Flagstaff. To contact Warner’s Nursery, call 928-774-1983.

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