We are not interior designers, but we have had many discussions with our customers about decorating their trees, often on weekdays when we are not as busy and have the time to chat a bit. So we wish to share some ideas with you.
Decorating starts with using a stand that will hold the tree nice and straight and also supplies the tree with all the water it needs. The stands we sell have a 2 ½ gallon capacity, which is generally enough even if you happen to forget to water it for a day. A great idea is to associate watering with a “trigger” event such making coffee in the morning or starting the dishwasher in the evening.)
Surprisingly enough one of the hardest trees to decorate is the “perfect” tree. Trees come in all sizes and shapes. Just as you like interesting people, you want your tree to be interesting as well. Thus, trees with wild branches and holes may present more opportunities for doing something memorable.
Next come the lights--lots of lights. At the farm we are gradually replacing all our lights with the much lower energy consuming LED lights. But no matter which type of lights you are using, the commonly accepted rule of thumb used by interior designers is 100 lights per foot of tree. That’s 800 lights on a 7-8 foot tree! Based upon discussions at the farm I would say that most people use about 300 on a 7-8 foot tree—less than half of what an interior designer would use.
Everything is personal preference. Some, for example, prefer a theme tree and there is no end to potential themes—all white, gold, or purple ribbons, sports memorabilia, children made ornaments, Victorian ornaments, birds, dogs, cats, photos, Christmas cards, only lights, tinsel…
However, we normally go for a family tree—one that’s full of the kids and grandkids home or school made photos and ornaments, plus various special meaning ornaments picked up over the years. Perhaps the theme in this case is “more is better”.
Back to that less than perfect tree. Here’s where you can let your creatively shine! Every tree almost needs a hole or two for rag dolls or teddy bears. Wild branches often allow you to use some heavier ornaments that you might not normally use. A couple of years ago we had a tall, but very open wild tree. It was so open that we ran the lights along the trunk and then wrapped them in place with ribbon instead of using them on the branches. After we loaded it up with tinsel it seemed to almost glow from inside.
Finally, remember to decorate your tree twice--once for your home, and then, after Christmas, for the feathery and furry creatures outside. Place it in a snow bank and have the kids decorate it with popcorn strings, carrots, peanut butter pine cones… Use your cookie cutters to make ornaments out of a slice of bread. Everyone will enjoy the window show all winter long.
The Hartley family