Eight days into December and I finally have our first Christmas tree finished! Despite my best efforts at decorating the tree, I think Sawyer still steals the show here, but I’m okay with that.
We debated for a while between a real tree or an artificial one, mostly because I’m very partial to a flocked tree look, but, ultimately, we went with the real deal. Nothing beats the smell of fresh-cut pine in December and since Sawyer explores everything with her mouth, I’d rather have her ingesting real pine needles than plastic ones.
If you haven’t been following my Instagram stories, I have been obsessed with these oversized round Christmas ornaments since late October when I snagged them for $1 a piece at The Dollar Tree. With a 15″ diameter, the best comp I could find elsewhere was at Michael’s, where similarly-sized ornaments were going for $4 a pop. I bought 36 of them in gold, red, and silver, and painted several of the red ornaments with a white chalk paint.
Some of the red ornaments were chipped, so they made the perfect canvas for a fresh coat (or two) of paint. I’ve done this before and find this to be a great way to upcycle those hot pink ornaments from the 90s that once seemed like a good idea. Other than chalk paint and a paintbrush, you’ll need some ornament hooks and clothes hangers to hang the ornaments while they’re drying (Tip: I allow at least 3 hours in between coats to avoid any cracking from slapping on another coat before the first coat is dry).
A few tips on decorating your tree when it comes time to hang the bajillion ornaments you’ve collected all year:
- In case it wasn’t abundantly clear, oversized ornaments are my favorite, but also are a necessary component to a tree that looks more like the one in your home decor catalog and less like the one where Christmas threw up on it. Large ornaments help create a uniform look throughout the tree.
- Pick 2-3 colors to focus on your tree (again, we don’t want Christmas vomit on there). I chose gold and white this year because I was looking for a more modern and clean look, but I’ve done gold and red, or gold, red, and white, in years past for a more traditional tree.
- Layer your ornaments! I often see trees where it looks like all the ornaments are just floating on the branches rather than layered into the tree. Some of your ornaments should be pushed back further into the tree while others should be brought more towards the front. It creates optical depth and fullness.
- Get a puppy. Just kidding. But, brownie points to Sawyer for knowing how to work it in front of the tree.
My favorite element this year is the cascading buffalo plaid ribbon on the tree. I’ve seen this on Pinterest for years and never worked up the courage to try it because it always seemed so complicated. However, a new house means new…courage? I don’t know, but this seemed like the appropriate year to finally figure out how to make some ribbon magic happen.
I half-heartedly watched one YouTube tutorial while doing my nails so I had some idea of what I was doing, and I’m pleased to report that this is probably one of the easiest things ever. Like, way easier than trying to paint your nails with your non-dominant hand.
The key is a thick, wired ribbon. Mine is 2.5″ wide, but I probably could’ve gone up to 3″ or 4″. Wired ribbon is important so it will maintain its shape as you bring it down the tree.
The first step is taking the ribbon and tying it up near the top so it’s secured, then looping it out for your first loop and bringing it back into the tree. There’s no need to tie it again as I just secured each loop by pushing enough ribbon towards the back of the tree to let the forces of gravity do its thing. Rinse and repeat until you get to the bottom. Cut the ribbon and then tuck the last loop in (no need to tie it again here, either).
While I grew up having a lit-up star as our tree topper, I decided to go with a giant gold bow for our first tree because I’m non-committal and it’s easier to justify not using something year next that cost me $7.49 versus $40.00.
Both the ribbon and the bow came from Michael’s, and while they don’t have the same inventory online, there are several holiday options to choose from.
This faux fur Christmas tree skirt came from Target because did I really get a dog this year if I don’t match my tree skirt to her fur coat?
And lastly, on a personal note, while the bottom of the tree may be technically void of presents, it is full of love and the best gift ever: our puppy. Dave and I decided this year that Sawyer was our gift to each other and I couldn’t be happier to see her Vogue-ing it for me under the tree.
“It’s not what’s under the tree that matters, it’s who’s around it.” – Charles M. Schulz