Oh Christmas Tree! - Steps to creating the floral designer look

We have a petite tree; six feet tall and "skinny".  Since the tree is petite, through the years it's been placed in pots, baskets, then last  year inside the cargo trunk in an effort to give it more height and presence.  It is a simple tree and every year I consider purchasing a new one.  For me I use it as a beginning, somewhat like a frame, then fill it out with stems of mixed greenery.  I'm the daughter of a retired floral designer.  The designer style tree looks complicated, here's a secret, it isn't.  Follow these steps to obtain the designer tree look - 

Step one: Frame

Set the tree up.  Most people leave their trees in the traditional cone shape.  If you love a cone, then stop there.  Me, I'm a quirky soul, I love a noble fir because the architecture of a noble fir allows for layers of ornaments. The tall spaces between the branch tiers are perfect for large ornaments.   I take the tree frame and twist the branches together to form tiers similar to a noble fir.

The method I use is to divide the branches into sections, by taking the branches next to one another, pulling them tightly in one direction, then twist them together to hold them in place.  I usually combine two to three branches to make a section. I flatten the branches out creating layers much like a noble fir.  Once the tree is set up layer a tree skirt around the bottom to hide the stand.  I usually have our tree in a pot, box or basket so I use Spanish Moss to camouflage the tree base from view.

Step two: Lights

I average 150 lights per linear foot.  I realize it seems like an over abundance of lights, for that designer look you need a evenly and fully lit tree.  I've found through the years that 150 is the magic number I seem to use.  Make certain when stringing lights together that you follow the manufacturers instruction on how many strings of lights are suggested to plug in end to end. Exceeding that number can cause blown fuses, or a possible fire.

When applying lights rather than circle the tree applying the lights to the exterior only, I apply lights to each branch, tucking them from the center of the tree pole outward to the end of the branch, then back to the tree pole and repeat.  This method creates a well, evenly lit tree and gives depth to the shape of the tree since the center is lit as well as the exterior.

Where plugs are plugged in to one another I wrap a branch around the joined plugs in an effort to camouflage the connection.

Step Three:  Greenery 

 I use a combination of pine, silvered cedar, and a frosted, silvered, pinecone dotted greenery.  Keep in mind when choosing greenery to chose something that will not blend in to the branches of your tree; a different shade of green, different leaf, something with berries, something flocked or glittered are the perfect choices. 

Consider using 6 stems per foot as a guide.  You'll use more at the bottom, less at the top due to the cone shape.  I begin at the bottom of the tree and work my way upward; taking each stem of greenery and applying to the branches tucking the stems inside the branches to hide them.

I stagger the stems of greenery between the layers of branches which prevents the tree from having too many of the same type greenery together, giving the tree a more natural look. The layers of greenery hide the light wires. 

When reaching the top of the tree I tuck the branches around the top creating a "crown" effect.  At first I layered the long branches of cedar, then came back and added three pine stems along with three sticks featuring faux ice crystals for a hint of natural woodsy style. 


Step Four:  Ornaments - the fun stuff 

Mr. GDC and Jr. are the ornamentation crew.  Each year after the lights, greenery and top is completed, I make myself a cup of tea and perch myself, along with our pup upon a the settee to watch the ornamentation crew work.  This has been our family tradition for years.  The first several years we had only unbreakable ornaments, Jr.'s favorite things was to toss them at the tree and see how many would stick. Boys.  He's grown up, now we have a beautiful collection of mercury, also hand blown ornaments with the original mix of unbreakable ones; a bit of old, of new, our family tradition.  

Maybe next year we'll go wild and add some color to our tree decorations?  Maybe we'll jump and buy a new tree?  For now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Must buy a plant for this basket! It's on the very long "to do" list! 

Happy Decking the Halls!  No matter how you chose to decorate your tree, they are all beautiful! Until next time, wishing you all the best - 


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