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Glowing Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas and How-To Guide

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My sister’s glowing Christmas tree and mantle decorating are meant to be seen by the world and I am happy she agreed to a Christmas home tour where she is sharing how she accomplishes some of her amazing Christmas decorating.

She and her family get a real tree each year now that the kids are older.  May I present my sister Sandra who could easily be an interior decorator.  My heart melts each year when I see her Christmas tree and I think yours will too.  This is Part 1.  Enjoy the show!

11 to 12 foot Christmas tree - Glowing Christmas tree decorating guide This is a real tree that is about 11 oar 12 feet tall.  Of course an artificial tree can be used.  Caution it must be a very strong tree to hold up all these lights.

Step 1 to string a Christmas Tree - Glowing Christmas tree decorating guideSandra, how do you get the lights to look so beautiful every year?  How exactly do you do it?  

First step is the lights.  Start at the bottom of the tree. Wrap the lights around each branch starting near the trunk working you way out to the tip of each branch. Then, work your way back on the same branch or the one next to it, level by level around the tree until that level of branches are complete.  Move up to the next level of branches at the trunk only. Never extend a string of light upwards unless you are at the trunk of the tree. This is so the following layer (steps) can be easily applied.

How to guide for Glowing Christmas tree decorating guideHow many lights are there on this tree Sandra?

This year’s tree has 4,700 clear mini lights.  The most I have done is about 5, 500.

weave gold and silver ribbon into the branches - Glowing Christmas tree decorating guideNext step….Ribbon

Add Ribbon. I used Gold, Silver and a transparent white-wired ribbon. These have patterns that are varied in style and texture.  This makes it interesting.  On the bottom where there is more open space I use a wider ribbon.

weaving the ribbon onto Xmas treeWeaving the ribbon

Weave the ribbon through the branches in a wave-like pattern. Again, starting on the inside and working around the tree. You can move between levels as needed to create balance.  Switch ribbon styles and colors to create balance as well.  I don’t bring the ribbon out to the tips of the branches.  This layer is an inside layer to this design.

how to decorate clear and opaque beads on Xmas treeBeads

Next add beads.  I used clear and opaque clear strings of beads.  These are shiny and create shimmer.  They are hung in an overlapping pattern.  Secure the string with a green twist tie or green wire.  Hang from tips of the branch, let the string of beads drop without hitting any branches (so they hang freely and somewhat swing) and secure to another tip.  Continue this top to bottom until you are happy with the look.

adding ornaments to Christmas treeNext layer…add ornaments.

Start on the inside of the tree with basic glass balls.  Gold and silver.  I use tons of these!  They create a lot of depth in the tree and with so many lights it helps the tree glisten.  Then, add additional ornaments as usual. Gold, silver, white, and clear.

Christmas tree cloud skirtThere’s sweet Annabelle sleeping on a Christmas cloud of Comfort and Joy.  Close up of some of the gold, silver, white, and clear ornaments.

Glowing Christmas tree how to guideSkirt the tree…

Skirt the tree with whatever you like and a tree-topper of your choice.  This year I went with a huge bow and lit it up with a small bulb and a snow skirt.

huge bow lit up with a bulb - glowing Christmas tree decorating guide“Huge bow Christmas tree topper lit up with a small bulb.”

How to decorate guide Glowing Christmas tree

Sandra’s Christmas tree makes the magic of Christmas come alive.  

If you liked Glowing Christmas tree decorating, on Sunday, December 23rd, when you have a minute to kick your feet up on the recliner, stop back for Christmas Mantle decorating ideas.  I promise not to disappoint and for now…


See Part 2 of Glowing Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas and How-To Guide – The Mantle

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  1. Your dedication to your beautiful tree every year and how you decorate it is just one of the things I admire about you.

  2. Wow…Look at all these kind comments. I cannot thank you enough. I enjoy sharing this experience with others. It definitely makes it all worthwhile. I hope to inspire others to change it up…if only for one Holiday Season. I have to admit it is a huge task.
    Do I have the energy for it this year? Each season… The same question for me. My answer is always…Yes, I should. For one day I will be too old to hike up that ladder and dive into that tree.

  3. This is one of the prettiest trees I’ve ever seen! Truly an inspiration! I think this year I will kick it up a notch and add similar lights. Wow. thanks so much for sharing this lovely and beautiful tree!

  4. That tree is stunning when it’s lit up! And that cute little face laying under it, is to die for!
    Merry Christmas Sue to you and your family, hope you have a great time these holly days!

  5. Awe….love your comment Tim! The Jimmy Fallon Christmas video makes me happy every time I watch it.

  6. Wow that tree is totally Awesome.
    Nesxt year I will have to get a real tree and do the same. What a great how to do post.
    Also I love that Merry Christmas Song you posted.
    Great Job and Cheer.

  7. Hi Debra. I think one of your Dolls In The Looking Glass would look perfect on the cloud tree skirt. I will come over to visit you soon.
    Merry Christmas

  8. Your sister’s tree is indeed magical! She must enjoy stringing the lights — that is my least favorite part of decorating the tree. Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial and the beautiful end result.

    Merry Christmas!

  9. Hi Alecia – Sandra says it takes about 4 hours to take down, so that’s not bad and about normal. Thanks for stopping in during this busy time of year.

  10. WOW! I can’t even imagine that kind of patience. It looks incredible though! How long does it take to take it all off?

  11. I am the most thankful and happiest that I met you especially this year too. Looking forward to you new group now too. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah Sharon.

  12. Gorgeous!!! One thing I miss out on, being Jewish, is a Christmas tree – I love all the lights and sparkle of the holidays! And that song is the best, isn’t it? Merry Christmas to you, my new friend of 2012~ so glad we met (virtually).

  13. Hi Laura, I am so happy you enjoyed the tree and how-to guide. I am going to do a tree like this next year too. I am coming over to see your tree now.

  14. Yes your sisters tree is just amazing!!!! I think I need to add strings of beads next year i love that look. One of the pretties trees I have seen this season. She had great how to tips thanks for sharing. I just posted my tree, not as large or as many lights but still pretty too. Have a wonderful holiday, Laura

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