Pottery Barn’s Guide to Decorating a Christmas Tree

Do you ever wonder why all the Christmas trees in the stores look far more beautiful than the one in your own house? It’s not just that professionals have decorated those trees, or that the ornaments on those trees are exquisite, made of fine glass, and sell for $10 or more. There’s actually more to it. Turns out there is a science on how to decorate a tree down to the placement of the ornaments. People with OCD will revel learning of this guide as it creates proper order from all the boxes of ornaments brought in from the garage year after year. People with OCD will also grow to hate learning about this guide because now they will know if the tree is lacking in the appropriate number of lights, or if the ornaments are not hung in a way to maximize depth according to “the rules.”

Thanks to Pottery Barn’s guide (which I have kept in my possession since 2010 because I KNEW there was something wrong with my tree the last 20-something years), you can now enjoy the most magnificent tree you’ve ever had . This of course assumes that you also don’t have young children “helping” you decorate.

So my question to you–Do you think it’s worth having the most beautiful intricate tree a person can have? Or did the Grinch find another way to try and steal Christmas?


“Stringing Lights

Use 100 lights for every foot of tree, use more if your tree is fuller than average. Give the tree even more sparkle with 150 lights per foot.
White lights create a bright backdrop and draw attention to ornaments. Mixed colors create a festive tree. Test light strands before stringing.

Wrapping Garland

Place garland on the tree after the light, but before the ornaments. Start from the top of the tree and work down and around the tree in circles.
Garland can be strings of tinsel material, beads, paper banners, bells, wire ribbon, or natural materials such as strung popcorn, pinecones, or raffia.
Let beaded garlands droop from branch to branch creating a swag look.
For a wintery twist, layer glass icicles and faux snow on branches.

Displaying Ornaments

Ornaments aren’t just for trees – display ornaments in a glass vessel to create a festive moment in any room. Group multiple vessels for a stunning display on a console or as a centerpiece.

Hanging Ornaments

In addition to traditional ornaments, cards, ribbons, frames and bells are all great decor for the tree. Natural elements such as dried flowers, nests, feathers and pinecones also add an inspired touch.
Hang ornaments at the end of branches and inside the tree to give it depth.
Vary the sizes and shapes of ornaments as you hang them. Start with the largest ornaments — layering them evenly throughout the tree, then continue on with increasingly smaller ornaments. Large or heavy ornaments can be secured to the tree with thin wire.
Add filler ornaments to the tree by placing solid colors and basic shapes one at the top of the tree and work down in a zig zag.
Place the tree topper after all of the ornaments have been hung. Traditional toppers include stars and angels, but also consider unexpected toppers such as a cluster of themed ornaments, a toy, a santa hat or a large statement piece that follows your theme. A simple, over-sized bow can top off a tree with style, and bring in an accent color or texture to complement your holiday decor.
Drape a tree skirt around the tree stand for its final, finished look.”

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