Before I start this I want to say that when my kids were little we had one tree, complete with pre-school made ornaments, reindeer out of clothespins, and all the "baby's first" and so on. When they got older, we had 2 trees; one for the family and one for me to play with. Eventually, we had four trees. One on an outdoor balcony, two for me to play with and a tree for the kid's special ornaments. We are back to one tree because my kids are have flown the nest and we no longer have Christmas at home. We also no longer live in the big historic home that had room for all of those trees. If they were going to be here, there would be a kid tree too.
First, get the necessary equipment ready. For me, that means dinner is in the crock-pot, the wine is poured and Christmas music is on the stereo. I have lots of Christmas music, but Luthor remains a favorite.
One of the most important things you can do to make your tree look great is to not skimp on the lights. I put about 800 lights on this tree, it really could have used another 200 or so. The reason the department store trees look so pretty, is that the lights all point out. The way to achieve this is to take the branch of the tree, and twist it around each light. It holds the lights in place, and make them point out. You also should take a few of the lights towards the inside of the tree. Nothing is prettier than having the glow behind the ornaments. When you get to the larger, bottom branches-work the lights up and down the branch. Wrapping the branch around the bulbs to point them outward and hold them in place. This technique only works with an artificial tree, but even with a real tree if you add tons of lights and take the time to point the bulbs outward, it will look better.
Decide on a color/theme. This particular year, my tree was going to be red and bright green. Put all of one color on before putting on the next color. That way you get the ornaments spaced evenly on the tree.
Next use something as a filler. This tree had ice crystals on branches, and sparkly green/gold fern like branches. Both of these things were long garlands that I cut into pieces. I have used baby's breath, red berries and various dried flowers in the past.
When it comes to the tree topper, think outside of the box. I love to use sticks and glittered leaves, twigs from the yard, dried flowers...whatever you find that ties in with the theme of the tree. Group them all together and wrap tightly with wire. Attach a bow to the front and put on top of the tree. The next secret is to put more bows all around the top of the tree to complete the look so that the tree looks nice from all sides. Add a tree skirt to match and you are done. Get creative with the skirt. I have used a tablecloth or fabric off the $1 table-just bunch it around the bottom of the tree.
It is nice to carry the theme around the rest of the room. We don't have a fireplace in this house, so I used to decorate the television cabinet. We no longer have the television cabinet, but there are other areas to decorate. A little greenery, some lights and a few glittery ornaments can tie it all in together. Throw a few ornaments in a clear glass bowl, put a little greenery around some existing candlesticks, cut a few twigs off a tree and tie them with cinnamon sticks and a bow for a bathroom counter. There are treasures all over the house if you just look for them.
There are those here who will have decorations far more impressive than these. My point was to offer a few tips to those who are still taking 200 lights and wrapping them quickly around the tree. Hopefully, you found some little bit of information that you can use. I have my color/theme picked out for this year. Hopefully, I can find the few things I need to complete the look I want. I'll post my tree when it is done (after Thanksgiving).