Tag Archive for Christmas Decorating

Decorating The Christmas Tree – From Start to Finish!

I am a self proclaimed Christmas tree fanatic! I look forward to decorating mine each and every year. Each ornament has special meaning to me, and it’s like greeting old friends when I pull them out of storage. It seems everyone has a different method, but here’s my process for the Christmas tree, from storage to fully decorated.

I have the type of tree where all the branches fold up for storage, so it takes up very little floor space in the storage room. I leave it in the stand, and covered in a plastic drop cloth to keep it dust free.

The next step is unwrapping it from the drop cloth, and opening the branches. This is really the most important step, “fluffing”, “zhuzhing”, and lighting- no shortcuts here!

Take the time to fluff out each little branch. I like to get them pointed in all different directions. It fills out the tree and gives it a natural appearance.
Next up are the lights! I prefer to use strings of lights, instead of a pre-lit tree. A tip for how many lights to use is 100 lights for every foot of tree, for an amazing glowing tree. In my case that is 800 lights. For a beautiful effect, wind them in and out the length of each branch. Follow safety tips, and don’t plug more than 4 strings of lights together. Now we’re ready for the ornaments, although I love the look even with just the lights! To make turning the lights on easy, we use a power cord with a toggle switch. An even easier method is a remote controlled plug.
When it comes to ornaments, I have to confess, I’m a more is more kind of girl. I love them all! To me, they represent many different generations and are symbolic of every aspect of the holiday. I could look at friends’ trees all day long and listen to stories behind the ornaments. It’s a wonderful time of the year for reflecting on the past, and remembering those who aren’t with us anymore. It brings them close again.

With that, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy new year!

Merry Christmas to one and all-


Countdown to Christmas

It seems that this Christmas season I have been playing a little too much catch up with the leaf raking. I feel like taking a moment to relax and sharing a few photos of Christmas this year at our home. Much like years past, I used lots of fruit in the Williamsburg style. There are candles and wreaths in each window, and garlands with cranberry chains around the door, stair railings and candle post. It is simple, but fitting to the history of the colonial style of architecture in this area of the east coast. And of course, I love it!

I hope each and everyone of my cherished readers has a warm and happy Christmas, and a healthy new year!  I’m looking forward to next year’s gardening, and planning for some interesting new plants to try. May you enjoy each and every new day in 2016!

The front door at night, with a Williamsburg style this year.

The front door at night, with a Williamsburg style this year. Lots of fruit and cranberry chains.

The living room tree all aglow!

The living room tree all aglow!

Here it is in a daytime shot so you can see the ornaments a little better. And this year my tree is celebrating it's 21st birthday!

Here is the tree in a daytime shot so you can see the ornaments a little better. And this year my tree is celebrating its 21st birthday!

The entry foyer with amaryllis flowers and my favorite Santa and angel chimes.

The entry foyer with amaryllis flowers,  my favorite Santa and angel chimes.

And to me the crowning touch is always Christmas bows!

And — to me — the crowning touch is always Christmas bows!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!


Decorating at Christmas – Some Tricks of the Trade from My Home to Yours

For the perfectly lit tree, use 100 lights per foot of height, winding them back and forth the length of each branch. This will create a wonderful glow from within.

This time of the year is one of my most favorite. I love to make the outdoors look as festive as the indoors. I have always loved making wreaths and garlands with greenery from my own yard, but I recommend using artificial greens as well. It may sound funny that I use artificial greens, considering how much I love plants, but there are many good reasons why I do. I  embellish them with natural greens, berries and pine cones, and of course beautiful ribbons. I like the artificial greens because  they are stronger, fireproof, and you can keep them up for as long as you want.

Add real greenery to artificial wreaths and garlands to create a full and elegant look. Here real magnolia branches and white pine boughs are mixed with garlands, roping and musical instruments.



Being a florist has its advantages – one being access to floral wholesale warehouses, where the quality is superior to retail craft stores. With a few tricks of the trade, your greenery will look just as terrific! Here are some easy ones.


First – shop when items have gone on sales for 50-60% off. (These days that can be right after Halloween.) You’ll want to purchase three times as many garlands as you need. I will explain this later in the blog.

Using multiple types of greenery in a garland creates a more natural look, especially when embellished with pine cones or pods. I also added bows, grapevine and cranberry strings.


Next, select garlands with different kinds of artificial foliage and varying branch lengths. This will make your garland full and much more realistic.



Last, look for the best color of green. Multiple shades of green on the needles will give you the most realistic look.


Now that you have everything you need to create the best garland, lay them all out, and “fluff” out the individual branches. Take three garlands, (ideally one of each branch length — short, medium and long) and twist them together. This will result in one beautifully full, florist-quality garland. Next, embellish to your heart’s content.

The chadelier get a Christmas makeover with a wreath adorned in fruit.

The chandelier gets a Christmas makeover with a wreath adorned in fruit.


For wreaths, I also combine two of types of foliage, or add picks of real greenery into the artificial base. The end result is full and strong. I also attach the wreaths with wire to the hook, this will keep them in place no matter how hard the wind blows.


I love the look of Christmas lights done right.  I try to not use too many lights, but always put a candle in each window, and a spotlight on the front door.  My father was a master with the Christmas lights, and always loved putting them in the trees and bushes. He taught me, and I here pass on one of his best his tips: When lighting trees or bushes, start the string of lights from the trunk and wrap each branch, back and forth, all the way to the top. This will make your job look very professional. Do your best to hide all the wires with in the branches, and plan for approximately 100 lights per foot of height on your tree.


My updated tip: Put lights on timers or remote control, so that you don’t even need to brave the weather to turn them on and off.

Paperwhite bulbs about to bloom. I like to dress mine up with pine cones around the base for the holidays.



For a beautiful interior touch, start paperwhite bulbs the week of Thanksgiving in containers. They will start to bloom in 3 to 6 weeks, so you will have them for Christmas. This also makes a great gift!

Add greenery to lamp posts and mailboxes.



Lamp posts and mailboxes are also fun to embellish, just be sure not to obscure the address numbers or the outgoing mail flag.


Now the only thing left to do is to take in the beauty of the season, and to wish my readers a very Merry Christmas!


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