Santa has come to town, or rather many towns across the country, now via local parades. Christmas season is now officially in full swing, and for many of us this brings many feelings with it – some happiness, excitement and for others, stress. The desire to get it all just right weighs heavily on many people. There are the gifts to buy and wrap, the cards to write, the cookies to bake and of course the decorating – the Christmas tree being the most significant part of the décor.
Are you putting up your own tree for the first time or perhaps looking to update your Christmas décor? The Christmas tree is the centre piece of our holiday celebrations and everyone wants a tree which invokes exclamations of admiration.
If you are feeling the pressure or are a little stressed out, have no fear. I want you to sit back, pour yourself a cup of eggnog – don’t forget that splash of rum – and listen. I’m going to give you the 411 on decorating the Christmas tree.
Let’s start with the top 3 looks for this year:
1. Now when I say “Country” I can sense some of you tensing up, but before your style sense starts to spasm, let me say a few words about this look. Like it or not, this is the most popular look and has been for many years. Now I am not a big fan of anything country, but even I am warming up to country this year. While plaid has made a strong return in the fashion books of late, fear not – this year’s country has nothing to do with the Kenora dinner jacket (see urban dictionary) or the calico associated Holly Hobbie for that matter. No this country is charming. Think homespun, home crafted, felted ornaments, yarn, buttons, rustic ornaments and vintage looking wooden beauties. Of course should you decide to sport a Kenora dinner jacket while chopping down your tree, be my guest. If a person wears a Kenora dinner jacket out in the forest, will anyone see it? I think not…
2. “Prestige” or “UpScale” is another popular look this year. This look tends to be more glamorous and sparkly – think elegance, think bling. This year the main colours in this look are gold and purple (almost aubergine). Add to that, some crystal and diamonds and you have a tree fit for a King or at least a Prince…is it a coincidence that Wills and Kate got married this year and one of the top colour schemes is somewhat regal? I think not! This look can be done in any jewel tones actually, but if you want to keep it upscale either use all gold or choose gold as your metallic accent.
This is not to say that silver is out – au contraire, the silver and blues of the 90’s are making a comeback in a large way, just look at Debbie Travis’ Christmas Ornament line in these icy shades and Martha Stewart’s North Pole line. Silver is also great with purple.
3. “Trendy” is another look which basically takes whatever is trendy in fashion and design and adds some Christmas Cheer. So what is Trendy for 2011? Think bright colours lime green, pink, orange and turquoise. To make this even funkier, try putting these eye-popping colours on a white tree. White provides the perfect canvas to show off these colours. This is a fresh, fun and youthful look – a look I guarantee will be embraced by many 20-somethings living on their own and wanting to make a statement. Of course, while I like this look I am old enough to remember the fake white Christmas trees of yonder years and I’m not quite sure I could get past my 70’s flashbacks to actually commit to a white tree. In addition, the odds are that when one tires of this look, which will likely be in 2 or 3 years, the look will be so passé you might be tempted to put your tree out on the curb in hopes that someone will take it to fake tree heaven.
Now that we’ve discussed the trends let’s move on to the actual decorating. Pick a theme and/or colour scheme. Be sure to pick something you really like. Don’t just go with what’s popular, because these ornaments are an investment and you will have them around for many years. Going with popular strictly to be in style is a mistake as well. Christmas décor themes, like fashion, change every year. For instance, last year purple was entering the scene but was paired with silver. This year it is still strong but paired with gold. Next year I suspect that the purple will still be paired with gold but the purple itself will have changed to more of a burgundy colour circa 1992/93. Keeping up with the latest style or colours could prove to be expensive.
You have picked a theme and now must obtain the look. Luckily this year’s look, regardless of theme is uncluttered and simple. It calls for fewer and larger ornaments so you won’t need to acquire a large number of ornaments to create your look. Nonetheless, here are a few tips to obtaining the top looks without breaking your wallet.
- Wrap ribbon, yarn or decorative trim around foam balls. Add a button of two and you have a charming homespun ornament.
- Make simple stuffed felt ornaments to hang on your tree.
- Hang gingerbread cookies as ornaments. You can make a hole in the top by piercing with a skewer once before baking and again to widen the hole while still warm.
- Make an old fashioned garland by stringing popcorn and cranberries…just be sure to make extra popcorn as decorating the tree works up an appetite.
- Spray paint some old ornaments with gold spray paint.
- Coat plain, plastic ornament balls with glue and cover with purple or gold glitter.
- Buy a roll of gold ribbon and make several bows to fill in the blanks spots on the tree. Once you have built up your ornament collection after a year or two, those bows can be used to decorate gifts.
- Try dipping pine cones in bright latex or acrylic paint, completely coating them, and hang them on a white tree.
- Make your own paper origami ornaments using fabulous bright papers – make a party activity of it – your choice whether to add alcohol!
- Inexpensive feather boas from the dollar store can be used as garland for this look. Wrapping a boa or two around a Styrofoam form also makes a fun and simple wreath.
Don’t feel you have to go with one of the top themes. Use your imagination. Let’s say you are hosting a cocktail party in your small apartment or condo. A table top tree decorated with liqueur-filled chocolates would add a delightful and unexpected festive touch.
What if you have your heart set on an elegant tree, but your children’s tastes run screaming in another direction? Let them have their own small tree – preferably in their playroom or bedroom where they can enjoy it while they count down the number of sleeps until Santa arrives.
How about going for a truly retro tree? Often you can find vintage ornaments at a fraction of the cost of new ones in a thrift store. Add a string of larger lights complete with those coloured foil reflectors form the 1970’s and you have a truly unique and stylin’ tree for very little money.
So now it is time to roll up your sleeves and start decorating your tree…
First thing you always do when decorating a tree is put the lights on…well actually second – first would be to have another cup of Christmas cheer. Let’s face it putting the lights on is the worst job and another cup of eggnog might make those scratches you are likely to incur more tolerable. If you were clever you have invited friends over to help you decorate your tree – made a party of it. All that remains is to relax and enjoy. Family and good friends, good food, some Christmas music and a dash of Christmas cheer all around your enchanting Christmas tree – it doesn’t get better than that.
Thanks to Chapters Indigo & Terra Nurseries for putting up with my picture-taking.
Photos by Lyndsay Jenkinson