Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

dream tree challenge

The winner of the $200.00 Gift Card to Michaels Stores is………………


I’m so excited for CTY! She is a loyal and regular contributor to the comments on this website and always has a positive attitude and happy spin on everything she posts!  Congratulations CTY! :-)

I know I’ve said this before…but this time I MEAN IT!  I really need to have my head examined! How did I think that decorating THREE different trees would be a good idea???  Well, it’s not that it wasn’t a GOOD IDEA…it’s just that it really wasn’t all that PRACTICAL at this time of year. :-)  But I had fun doing it anyway. I hope you enjoy the results. :-)

Just to refresh your memory…Sunday I posted about Michael’s giving me the challenge to create a Holiday Dream Tree. Since my idea of a “dream tree” is one that is beautiful, creative and AFFORDABLE, I decided to do THREE trees. I just couldn’t justify spending all $500 on one tree! My daughter and I came up with the idea to set a budget of $100 for each tree and then do a giveaway for the remaining $200. So make sure to read how to enter at the bottom of this post.

So without further ado…here are my Holiday Dream Trees, courtesy of Michael’s.

Tree #1 – Rustic Reflections

dream tree


Tree #2 – Traditional Treasure

dream tree


Tree #3 – A Nod to Norway

dream tree

I really did have a lot of fun picking out the decorations and creating each of these trees! Too bad there are things called “deadlines”…they tend to put a damper on the whole “fun” aspect. ;-)  I want to thank Michaels though, for inviting me to be a part of this challenge. It really got the creative juices flowing!

You can see the rest of the trees created for the Holiday Dream Tree Challenge on Michaels FACEBOOK page or on their PINTEREST page. Be sure and check them out! There are some BEAUTIFUL ones!

I learned a lot decorating three trees in a row. First of all I learned it’s hard to get a nice photograph of a Christmas Tree!  No matter what I tried….I just couldn’t do the trees justice! So you’re going to have to take my word for it….these looked a lot better in person. :-)

Christmas tree decorating

I also learned that there’s really no WRONG way to decorate a Christmas tree, but here are a few of the tips and techniques *I* use that might be helpful:

  • When you’re ready to set your tree up, pick a low-traffic spot away from fireplaces and heaters.
  • When decorating your Christmas tree, put lights on first (unless you’re lucky enough to have a pre-lit tree!), then garlands, then the ornaments. If you DON’T have a pre-lit tree…start lighting your tree at the bottom and work upward. Weave strings of lights along the branches “inside,” then move to the outer edges of the branches. After you have completed the lighting of your tree, fluff the branches.
  • Start by adding your garland. Choose something that complements your theme. The possibilities are endless!  Ribbon, beads, burlap, pinecones, popcorn…the skies the limit!  Plus, you don’t have to limit yourself to using just one type of garland. Try twisting several strands together to create a thicker, more interesting look.
  • After the garland is arranged, next add the “filler ornaments” (or colored glass balls). You’ll want to space them evenly around the tree. These are the mainstay of any tree and help establish color and shine.
  • Your ornaments will look better if they hang suspended rather than touching branches. Don’t be afraid to bend or move branches to accommodate placement.
  • Don’t hang all your ornament on the tips of the branches. Place ornaments and other decorations ‘inside’ your tree for added dimension, and don’t forget the back of the tree..
  • Take a step back while decorating to see which areas need filling.
  • Once the filler ornaments are on, it’s time to add your unique collection of ornaments. You know, the ones you’ve had since childhood, or all those handmade ones from the little ones throughout the years. This is the fun part where you get the reminisce about where each one came from. :-)
  • Make sure and hang antique and fragile ornaments near the top of the tree, where they will be less likely to get knocked off by pets, babies, or passersby.
  • Finally, you need to give your tree a “crown”. If the traditional “star” or “angel” tree topper aren’t your thing, try a giant bow (which you can pay over $10 for at the store OR make your own very easily!)
  • Last, but not least, finish your tree by adding a tree skirt and plenty of beautifully wrapped presents. :-)

michaels gift card

Now, to the REALLY good stuff! A chance to win a $200.00 gift card to Michael’s so you can get everything you need to create your OWN Dream Tree!

How to enter to WIN! :-)




All you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling us your best tree decorating tip!

You can also increase your chances with these Bonus Entries:

1. Join One Good Thing By Jillee and Michaels on Facebook. Leave a separate comment letting me know.

2. Follow @JillsGoodThings and @MichaelsStores on Twitter. Leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.

3. Tweet the following statement about this giveaway: Enter to win a $200 gift card to Michaels Stores hosted by @JillsGoodThings:

4. Subscribe to receive daily emails from One Good Thing By Jillee. Leave a separate comment letting me know you subscribed.

5. Follow Jillee and Michaels Stores on Pinterest! Leave a separate comment letting me know.

The giveaway is open until Sunday, November 25th, 2012, 11:59 pm MST. The giveaway is only open to USA and Canada residents. Be sure a valid email address is included with your comment(s). One winner will be chosen randomly and announced on this post. We will email the winner and if the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.


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  1. jamie lynn says

    my “tip” would be for the kitty-cat owners – get a fake tree! my cat loves to play with my tree and with a real tree – it made an even bigger mess of pine needles on the floor than normal. he still likes to play with the fake tree (and sleep underneath!) but there’s no mess!! :)

  2. Amanda says

    I have one tip that was instilled in me since childhood. NEVER, ever, use tinsel on an artificial tree that you intend to use again. I looks beautiful the first year, but you can never get it all off and it doesn’t look quite so pretty for the next 5+ years.

    Also I love you’re first tree Jillee, its so cohesive and beautiful =)

  3. Ali says

    My tree decorating tip is: Don’t forget to water your tree! NO decoration can save a dry, needle-less tree :) One year I thought the hubby was watering, he thought I was watering and well… we had to buy a second tree!

  4. Sue Coates says

    My very best tip for decorating a Christmas Tree:
    If you are buying a real Christmas Tree, which we have lately ( because the artificial one I wanted cost 189.00, yikes) is to use warm sugar water to fill your stand with. This is supposed to make it last longer and I swear it did last year. Good luck to all of you and thank you Jillee for this giveaway!!!

    PS….Also have them cut the bottom of it one last time before you put it in your car/truck… don’t know when it was cut and this will help!!!

  5. mamiepamie says

    I love the old-fashioned look of candles on a Christmas tree, but those little candle clips can be pricey (esp. if you want enough for a 6 ft. tree)! Instead, I purchased a box of small dipped candles, the kind that have 2 tapers connected by a cotton wick. They are easy to drape over the tree branches and still give that “vintage” feel!

    Love your trees & the creative garlands, ornaments and toppers~too fun!

  6. Debbie says

    Just liked your Facebook page & Micheals!;-)

    Every year when decorating our tree, we always put the ornaments our sons received for their first Christmas, they are now ages 18 & 25. We also have a miniature mailbox ornament that opens and we write on a little piece of paper how they blessed our family for that year. They always look forward to reading their message and can’t believe we remembered that special time! It’s simple, but very encouraging to them!


  7. Robin says

    Hi Jillee! I have been following you since I first joined Pinterest earlier this year, and now I am following Michaels. I am now following you and Michaels on FB also, and I have subscribed to your daily emails.
    Thanks for the great advice!

  8. Robin says

    I have two tips to share, the first may be just my tradition and has been mentioned by others as well, but I will share it anyway. I always have two trees,the bigger one is decorated “fancy” because I try to make it look beautiful and perfect. The other tree is the one where all of the kids handmade ornaments from school hang, along with all of the Hallmark ornaments that my mom bought for my kids each year since they had their first Christmas. I love how the house looks from the outside at night when the tree lights are on, so I always put a tree in each of the two windows that face the street. My other tip is to hang little mirrors deep in the branches to reflect the lights and fill in any empty spots. I guess that would be my actual tip to share, hope you like it!

  9. Vanessa says

    For artificial trees,put them up somewhere out of the way a week before you intend to decorate them to allow the branches to settle. They will droop quite a bit, so before you start decorating you can push them back into place and they should stay there. I always use a hot hairdryer to blow away any dust that has accumulated, and also the heat fluffs up the plastic again. Lights first, make sure they are turned on when you are draping them along the branches and remember to stand back and squint. That way you can easily see where the gaps are. There are so many guidelines for making your tree look professional, but those decorate with memories and love are always the most beautiful.

  10. Sara says

    My best tip is pretty specific; it only applies if you have a train that is suspended from the trunk about a third of the way down. If you have a live tree, you’ll need to cut some branches so that it attaches straight to the trunk and you want to be sure you do that BEFORE you put lights on. In general, any time you have a live tree, trim branches and thick spots before you add electricity. Even if you unplug and don’t electrocute yourself, you’ll be sad that you’ve snipped your wires in half.

  11. Margaret says

    My best tip is to get the tree up with lights and then decorate the tree with family and friends on Christmas Eve. No matter the outcome, everyone thinks it’s the most beautiful tree ever, and we all had a great time doing it together.

  12. Darlene Masters says

    Hi everyone, my decorating tip is if you are using a real tree let it sit for a day in your garage before bring it into the house…in a bucket of water or your tree stand. That way if there are any little critters like spiders or squirels they will be running free in your garage not your house…ask me how I know! Also it lets your tree drip dry if you happen to have snow already like we usually do here in PEI Canada.

  13. stephanie says

    I put the lights and garland on the tree and give my kids the ornaments. Then leave the house for a couple of hours. When I return the kids are excited to show me what they did to the tree. Because I am such a perfectionist, this is the best way for me to keep peace in our house.

  14. DC Adams says

    My decorating tip for Christmas trees…let the kids do it! (if you have children). I found they will really get into it if they get to be pick and choose where things go. I also found that the tree really does look cute with the bulbs and decorations at waist height (haha)! Happy Holidays.

  15. Randa says

    I LOVE having a beautifully decorated tree, but I don’t love the process of decorating it. So my best tree-decorating tip is to let your husband and kids do it and then enjoy viewing it afterward! :)

  16. Darlene Masters says

    I am now following michaels on pinterest but you I have been following …I don’t want to miss any of your great ideas! Is it just me or does that make me sound like a stocker!?! hehehee

  17. Gretchen Friebolin says

    My tip is not so much as decorating the tree tip as the decorations on a tree, my Mom started all us kids decorations when we were young. When my parents got married they had to go out & buy EVERYTHING & my Mom was determined that us kids would not have to do that, so each year she got us an ornament so by the time we were grown & out on our own we had 18+ ornaments for our own tree. She still to this day gets each of us an ornament & has start the grandkids & great-grandkids ornament collection :-)

  18. Darlene Masters says

    I am now subscribed to your emails, thanks Jillee for your great blog you have definitely been a positive change in me and my families life! Plus your just so informative and a hoot! I spend many sleepless nights enjoying your posts!

    Bless You!

  19. says

    My tip that I learned this year is when putting lights on the tree to do it thirds instead of wrapping the whole tree with lights!!! It was easy to put them on and it will be easy to take them off!

    I have been following you on Facebook and Pinterest for quite some time but now I am following you on Twitter and I also tweeted about this giveaway! I am now also following Michaels on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest!

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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