Tantilizing Trees - 33 DAYS TO CHRISTMAS!

 Understated or over the top, your Christmas tree is the ultimate expression of your festive style.   Worried about feeling underwhelmed by your tree this year?  For a more stylish, striking tree, glean tips from the Christmas Decorating pros at Kate’s Garden.   Click here for more information on our Christmas Decorating Service and Portfolio.

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 Choosing your Real Tree

Remember that the “early birds” get the best trees.  Keep your trees outside until you are ready to decorate.  Untie or unwrap it two days before you decorate so that the branches can fall.

Scotch Pine is the most common tree because the needles barely fall off even when dry.  Douglas Fir has widely spaced branches which are great for larger ornaments.  Spruce has an unpleasant odour when the needles are crushed.   If the needles don’t spring back when you rub them, choose another tree.  

Trees look shorter and smaller on a lot or tree farm than they will in your home.   Measure the height and width of your room before you go tree shopping.  Do not forget to add extra inches for the tree stand and tree topper.   The top of the tree topper should be two feet below the ceiling.

Fresh Tree Care

A fresh trunk cut is required when you bring the tree indoors to keep the tree hydrated.  When you get your tree home, immediately make a fresh cut across the base of the trunk about a quarter of an inch up from the original cut.  Place the tree in a stand that holds at least a gallon of water.  

To prevent trees from drying, place them far from radiators, fireplaces, furnace ducts, televisions and direct sunlight.

Keep your tree fresh by watering it daily.  Add a bit of ginger ale to the water.   The sugar in the soda helps the tree’s needles stay soft and supple.

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Tree Placement

Allow room above the tree topper to the ceiling for a balanced look in the room.

Allow two feet of empty space around three sides of the tree for a well-proportioned look.

Remember that if you are decorating the tree for a 360-degree view, perhaps in a window, you need substantially more decorations. 

Style and Colour Scheme for your Tree

·       Even if you have a disparate collection of ornaments, you can make your tree look more harmonious by choosing a predominant colour theme and a specific style.   The “collected treasures” look works a whole lot better if you add some harmonizing elements. 

For 2018, the Rustic Woodland style continues to rule though Vintage Glam is giving it a run for the money.   Both are nostalgic themes and nostalgic in nature.   Rustic Charm features classic motifs; lots of “cabin, birch, deer and canoe” elements in rich cranberry or lipstick red, green and white.   Vintage Glam features plenty of sparkling silver and brilliant gold ornaments with sprays of icy glitter.  This look is compelling on flocked trees.    

Whatever colour scheme you use, be sure to pick a colour scheme that suits the existing décor of your room.

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Lights First

Want a more dramatic tree? Use one strand of 100 lights for every vertical foot. For extra “pow”, use 200 lights.  Never ever use less than 50 lights per foot.   

Most faux trees are underlit so do not hesitate to add a few extra strands of lights.

To light the tree for easier removal, imagine visually dividing the tree into four pie slices.  Zig zag the lights in each pie slice working from top to bottom.  

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Integrate the Colour Scheme with a Garland

To help mismatched ornaments harmonize, you can integrate the look of your tree by choosing a wide ribbon or garland as step one.   Wind it through the tree from top to bottom.  

It usually takes five 10-foot rolls of wired ribbon or mesh to decorate a tree effectively. 

Leave the equivalent of two branches between each swath of garland to allow enough room for your ornament collection. 

The Number and Varying Styles of Ornaments to Use

You need, at a minimum, 15 ornaments per foot of tree. Vary the sizes but be sure to keep them colour-coordinated.

Use a minimum of 36 ornaments to set the base colour.   Make certain they are identical in colour even if they vary in shape.  Along with a coordinating garland or ribbon, this provides the visual harmony needed.  Even if the rest of your ornaments are mismatched, the tree will look better.   

Be sure to vary the size and scale and shape of the ornaments as you apply them. Using different ornament shapes and various sizes makes it more visually interesting: round balls, teardrops, icicle shapes, diamonds etc.   Transparent orbs help catch and reflect light the most effectively.  

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A few oversized ornaments are must haves best deep within the branches of the tree.  They immediately add lots of colour and they light up the darker pockets of the tree.   Using this trick adds visual depth to the finished tree.

Start with your largest ornaments and layer them evenly throughout.  Then use up the medium size ornaments completing the finish details with the smallest ornaments on the tips of the branches.   Cluster smaller ornaments together for even greater impact. 

 Want to make it more interesting…

Add branches, pine cones, berried sprays, floral picks…you get the idea.   

Professionally decorated trees usually have extra lights, a garland, sprays and branches as well as a treasure trove of ornaments.

Kate demonstrates the trends and techniques for Christmas Tree decorating on the Main Stage Daily.    Be sure to visit the Kate’s Garden booth near the Main Entrance for the latest in Christmas Décor.

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Five Steps to Simplified Christmas Decorating - Countdown to Christmas


Convert Holiday Decorating from overwhelming to a memorable, joyful and creative experience.    Just be sure to take enough time to formulate a clear vision, articulate your plan and follow these FIVE essential steps to minimize the stress of the holiday period.

1)  Focused Clutterbusting – Just the “Hot Spots” (link to The Organized Life).

2)  Open the Cupboards Early and Give a Quick Spit and Polish  (link to Universal Stone and C is for Clean and The Shine Shack).

3)  Prepare your Holiday Decorating Tool Kit  ( Link to Home Hardware)

4)  Do a Room-by-Room Assessment with an Outsider’s Eyes  

5)  Decorate the “Hot Spots”

1) Focused Clutterbusting

·       Set a goal of December 1 to purge your home of clutter.  Especially in the “hot spots” where your guests will gather: front hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen.

·       Clutterbust the Hot Spots: Remember that your kitchen is the hub of your home especially during the holidays.  Always clutterbust the kitchen first.  Minimize the clutter in the room where you place your Christmas tree as it will also be an activity hub. Outerwear and packages compete for space in the front foyer so this hot spot should be clutterbusted prior to the start of the festivities.

·       As you clutterbust, remember to keep only the possessions that you love or that you use.   The key to a Clutterbusted house is to get rid of anything you do not love or use. Give it away, sell it, donate it, dump it.  If possessions are sentimental but not particularly useful, find ways to refresh and repurpose them.   

·       Clutterbust your Holiday Décor by mid-November.  Eliminate dated décor that no longer suits your needs, taste…or looks tired.   Give it away prior to Christmas as most of the charities will not take it after the holidays.

2) Spit and Polish: Open Your Cupboards Early 

·       Open your cupboards now.  Drag out your precious heirlooms, serving dishes, candlesticks etcetera. 

·       Polish up that silver, sparkle up the crystal, and iron those linens… (or better still; send the linens out to the dry cleaners to be pressed…).  

·       Try deep cleaning one room per week along with your regular cleaning.   No time for deep cleaning?  Remember a decluttered house looks cleaner than a cluttered but clean house.

·       Cleaning Essentials: C is for Clean for almost everything and Universal Stone for the toughest stains.  

3) Prepare you Holiday Decorating Tool Kit

Don’t be caught mid stream without the proper tools.  Pull together your own decorating kit before you start.  In a small tool box dedicated solely to this purpose, include the following basics:

·       Scissors

·       Wire cutters

·       Green 26 Gauge Florist Wire

·       Fishing Line

·       3M Command Hooks and Ornament Hooks  

·       Thumb Tacks and Push Pins

·       Hammer and Nails

·       Measuring Tape

4) Room-by-Room Assessment Checklist

Complete an assessment of your home, indoors and out, to come up with a pared down list of the essential holiday decorating opportunities your home offers.

Begin by spending a few minutes early in November and take a walk through each room in your home.   Try your best to observe it as an outsider would.    

5) “Hot Spots” for Christmas Decorating

Concentrate your energy, time and budget on the key “hot spots” of your home.   This decluttered, simplified approach will result in a higher impact more successful look.   Focus on the:

·       Entrance – Front Foyer Table and Mirror

·       Staircase Banister – or just the newel post

·       Living Room – Tree, Coffee Table and Mantelpiece

·       Kitchen…Centrepiece for the table, fresh flowers on the counter.  

·       Dining Room – Centerpieces for the buffet and table, boughs above the china cabinet, garland the chandelier…c’est tout!