Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: Week 1

Week 1: Redesigning The Family Tree

We have been getting many questions on “how to decorate a Christmas tree,” and now we want to answer them! However, we can’t settle on “rules” to decorating.  Whenever we make one, we break it. Here, we’ll just keep it simple with generalizations. If you’d like help with specifics for your tree, just drop by the store to chat or comment here on our blog.

This article starts with Step 1: Initial Concept and Design: The Family Tree. (Sounds fancy, right?)  Next week we will outline some helpful hints on jumpstarting the creative process and designing your own cohesive tree from scratch!  

The Family Tree (Seemingly without theme) 
You, like most families, might not have presupposed “themed trees;” you might hang the ornaments passed down in your family or the ornaments your kids made in 1st grade.  Maybe you top the tree with a star made from tin foil, and you string popcorn garland. Still, there are ways to create a cohesive look from a preexisting collection of ornaments. 

Where to start: Preparation! Grab a mix of your ornaments and decorate a small area of your tree.  (It’s easiest to do on your tree, but if you use a live tree or don’t want to get into storage yet, just lay your collection along a green sheet or towel. Don’t forget that your tree is green! That sounds dumb, but it’s important.)

What are you looking for once the ornaments are on the tree?  You’re trying to find what you like. Generally, in themed trees and family trees, you want to have a well balanced mixture of design elements – notably color, shape, size, and texture.  (Also consider light; Christmas should twinkle.)  

Example #1:  You have a guhzillion big red round ornaments, along with a hoard of big pink round ornaments. The combo creates two problems: too much "big/round" and the colors could clash.  I’d recommend adding smaller ornaments in a different shape and color such as small silver finials (drop-like ornaments). They will add balance and heal your tree from the chickenpox outbreak. As for color, many pinks and reds clash. Try either taking out the pinks, or adding a different color to distract your eye from the pink and red.

Continuity: Family trees often need to work on continuity or flow to achieve balance.  Because each ornament generally stands alone, (ex. - “Baby’s 1st Christmas”), the tree can appear disjointed or messy.  Fix this most easily with a garland, picks, or an odd-numbered set of plain ornaments. Figure out what colors or shapes could mesh easily with your current ornaments. 

Example #2:  Your ornaments are mostly red and green, but a few have some gold or silver.  Drape thin silver or gold tinsel garland evenly across your tree, or grab gold ornaments from the dollar store and space them equally . 
Example #3: Or, maybe you’re an outdoorsy family! Your tree is decked with animals, skis, and soccer balls! Simply finish out your tree with small natural picks like twigs, pine, or feathers. 

So, dig through the dust and bring out the boxes! Remember that the ornaments you have already look good; that's why you like them. Making them look good together can be tricky without a bit of balance.  If you'd like tips on where to place ornaments or how to drape garland, keep checking back!  Each Friday evening we'll bring out a new article.

Garden Pastimes at home : We rarely have themed trees! Although each of our personal styles shine in our trees at home, we enjoy our family's sentimental or quirky ornaments. 

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