My Christmas decorating manifesto

Let’s wrap up this snowfall tree, shall we?

So earlier this year I showed you the garland for this tree, we’ve covered fancying up existing ornaments, I shared the quilled snowflake, the polymer clay ornament, and the beaded snowflake, and now it’s time to share a few last simple ornaments and bring it on home.

I have a very specific philosophy when it comes to decorating trees. One you’re probably starting to pick up on here and there. For one, I think every tree needs a theme. Even if it’s “Family Traditions” where you put all the kids ornaments. I’ll show you my version of that next week. A theme doesn’t have to be terribly specific, it could be a color scheme or a feeling you’re trying to evoke, but I think the best trees have ornaments where there is something in common.

I also think that the best trees only have a very few really standout stunning eyegrabbers. I think a truly beautiful tree looks beautiful as a whole, and for that to work the ornaments need to blend a little. In a great choir, you can’t pick out a single voice. No matter how beautiful the rogue voice is, if you can hear one singer out on her own, it distracts from the beauty of the choir. It’s the same with your tree. If you have one big gorgeous beaded and bright ornament, that’s what will draw the eye and you won’t have a cohesive arrangement. Of course, you could build the tree around that one ornament by picking a bunch of other ornaments that work with it, and then making your one beautiful ornament the star. Figuratively and literally. As in, use it as a tree topper.

And of course, I think a tree looks best when it is just dripping with ornaments. I love to hang some back near the trunk, some midway up the branch, and then some hanging off the very tip. In fact, I usually have specific ornaments set aside for each purpose, and they never need to be as fancy as you think. Want an example or eight? Here you go:

Way in the back:
Pom poms for snowfall tree
I made some fat pom poms out of a plain white yarn I got on clearance somewhere using this standard method. The little ones are predone poms I got from Joann’s or something, sprayed with spray adhesive and covered with glitter. Because, as we’ve discussed, when in doubt? Douse with glitter.

Far in the back is also where I stick my really big fat ornaments. I think the difference in scale adds a lot, but I think hanging them near the front of the branch looks too heavy.

Midway up the branch:
Ornaments for snowfall tree
I usually put the workhorse ornaments here, as well as the pretty ones that are around medium sized.

Here I have a plain old ugly plastic ball that I dressed up with a little dry brushing. I liked the feathery frost look, and I actually used a fabric paint because it was a little thicker and I didn’t need a second coat. Then I brushed on a glitter paint.

The mirror danglies and the pebble danglies are variations on one basic concept: Hanging pretty shiny stuff off of fishing line. Remember, I was going for the look of falling snow, so I just sandwiched a piece of fishing line between two pieces of mirror or two flat backed pebbles, and glued together with some Goop glue. When you store these, I’d recommend wrapping them in tissue paper or something, because I lost a bunch in a big fat tangled mess.

Foam Snowflake
You know that foam stuff in the kid’s crafts aisle? It comes in all kinds of different shapes and then in sheet sizes too? Well, it cuts like butter with an exacto knife. I printed a bunch of snowflakes off the internet and cut them out of the foam sheet, and then, of course, glitter. But this time I used the chunky stuff.

Very tip of the branch:
Crystal ornaments for snowfall tree
I kept my eyes open all year for any crystal I could find. With a snowfall theme, I could have gone really cute and covered it with more homespun looking snowflakes and snowmen and that kind of thing, but the tree I had in my head was much more elegant and icy.

I inherited some old chandelier crystals from Bear’s grandma, I found the medium sized in the floral department, and the little ones are from the beading aisle. Anything can become an ornament, either you just have to toss a hanger on it or you find a way to just stick it in there somehow, so just look out for things you like that you can get at least six of.

Well I think that is just about enough discussion of this sweet little tree. I hope I gave you guys some good ideas, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Starting tomorrow we’ll move on to our Family Traditions tree. And don’t forget to get your entry in for the quilled snowflake and the polymer clay ornaments. You still have some time!