How to Light, Ribbon, and Decorate a Christmas Tree

This year I was SO excited to meticulously light, ribbon, garland, and ornament my Christmas tree. Sure, it was a $20 half off cheap-o tree in the clearance after Christmas sales a few years ago. But that didn’t stop me from knowing that I could make this the prettiest, glitteriest, glitziest Christmas tree I’ve ever decorated.
tree lights
Here is a step-by-step guide on how I took an unlighted, cheap Christmas tree and lit it up in Christmas cheer!
This year I decided to take fluffing and lighting the tree one section at a time. That means I started with the base, fluffed it, and then wound the lights into it. Then I would do this with the next section and the next until I had a complete tree.
This just makes the whole process so much easier (and eliminates some of those plastic tree scratches that makes your hands and arms look like you were attacked by a cat). Plus, you are able to best light the tree this way.
I used Vidya’s awesome tutorial on how to best light a tree. Basically you wind the lights up and down each Christmas limb instead of just circling the tree and only having lights on the outer branches of the tree. This helps better light the tree with depth and makes it look like a prelit tree too!
Now that the tree is perfectly lit and you are already basking in the holiday glow of the tree, it’s time to add some beautiful ribbon. This is the first time I had done ribbon on a tree but I don’t think I will ever NOT have it on my tree again! Ribbon can set your color scheme but it also plays well with the lights. It doesn’t block any lights but glitters and gleams with the lights behind it. Plus, it adds a whole lotta sparkle and that’s the point of this year’s theme, right?
I used two spools of wired ribbon from Michael’s (70% off!).
I did wide gaps between each round of ribbon because I wanted to alternate the two different patterns on the tree.
Once you have all the ribbon on the tree you need to start twisting and playing with it. You don’t want what looks like roads just plowing through your tree. You want the ribbon to play and mingle with your tree branches, weaving in and out. You also want to wrap some limbs around the ribbon to give it a gathered look at times.
After the ribbon was in I added one strand of silver garland just to up the shimmer factor. I didn’t end up having enough to go between each ribbon round but I looped it 3 times around the tree and it was just enough.
Finally, the icing on the cake – ornaments! Whether you are using a color scheme to choose your ornaments or going al la carte with your ornament collection, this is the fun part that doesn’t really take much skill. Just be mindful to look for holes where you are missing ornaments. Plus, I like to hide some deeper in the tree to add some more dimension.
I used silver, gold, and white ornaments all over the tree. I chose to use balls and icicle lights so everything wasn’t the same shape.
Pretty much anything goes for a skirt! Your favorite fabric, a cozy blanket, faux snow (I picked some up last year after Christmas from Target for 50 cents!), or a specifically made Christmas skirt. Just make sure to add something so those plastic legs aren’t showing.
That completes my four step guide on how to decorate a Christmas tree in a fool proof and glamorous way!
Do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear your best Christmas tree decorating advice in the comments!

Megan Aubrey
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?


Join the conversation

2 of 15 comments
  • Joanie Joanie on Nov 24, 2020

    I don't put up a big tree anymore.....I have little ones in each room downstairs. I am older. Your idea is a great one, I wish I'd known, but I will pass it on to my kids. Thank you and Merry Christmas!!

  • Jenny Jenny on Oct 21, 2021

    oh NO! I’m seeing this tutorial in October 2021. It’s toooooo ssssooooooooon to be saying Merry Christmas!

    my Christmas deco thoughts start around the beginning of December. I would have bought all my pressies before then but the tree and any decorations NO! TOO SOON! Sorry, I’m genuinely NOT a bah humbug type of person but October/November is way to early.

    LOVE your tree and will definitely be putting my lights on the tree this way from now in, mid-December! But then I’m British! 😊