Whether you love traditional, low key trees or over the top ‘designed’ trees, I’ve got some easy tips for you that work from year to year.

Something we are borderline obsessed with in our home is Christmas Trees. I’ll admit we always do more than 2 each year (and that is on the shy side.) Needless to say, We have learned a few things over the years.

~Elizabeth Curtiss, Happy Mom Life Lab Founder

Tip #1: To maximize family fun, parents can do some of the time consuming, less than fun placement and adjusting before hand (especially lights!!).

Tip #2: Place ‘anchor’ items on first – again before the family helps decorate.

Things like extra large ornaments, floral/leaf trims and ribbon look best if they’re well balanced.

And I think we all know that attention span may not last long with littles!!

My preferred order of decorating is: lights (although this tree is a 6 year old Balsam Hill pre-lit tree), tree topper, (optional) full-tree wrapped trim like the crystal covered branches shown above, ribbon, various faux leaves and flowers, beaded garland, extra large ornaments then your remaining ornaments.

My final touch are the little clip on birds (below) or blown glass icicles that I skipped this year.

Tip #3: If you’re opting for a color scheme based tree or ‘theme’ don’t feel like you’ve got to limit things super tightly.

I went with a silver nature oriented theme yet I added neutral colors in like brown squirrels, deer and hedgehogs plus many non-blown glass touches like the rustic little lantern shown below and the figural fawn ornament in the 2nd photo below.

Tip #5: After Christmas sales are the BEST!

I bought the glittered icy branch ribbon shown here at Home Depot a couple years ago. Many of my ornaments are post Xmas finds too – hellllooo 75-90% off!!

Also check places like drug stores or florists or spots that you don’t think of as big holiday sellers. Bartell’s in the PNW has scored me at least 10+ $1-2 gems. And the textured beaded garland shown is a score at CVS years ago so you just never know where you’ll find treasure!

I hope the tips help you to have your idea of a perfect tree! Shoot me any questions you may have about my process and where I sourced things.

Most leaf and floral picks: Hobby Lobby

Crystal beaded branch garland: Hobby Lobby

Ornaments: from personal collection. Favorite stores are Nordstrom for Christopher Radko, Hobby Lobby and Target.

Advent calendar and wall swags: Target Hearth & Hand with Magnolia

All photos by Marla Smith Photography except where noted.

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Feature photo by Marla Smith , ©Happy Mom Life Lab. Article images licensed through  Marla Smith (all photos except of the Christmas tree in a basket) and Paola Thomas (Christmas tree in a basket), all in the context of this article are ©Happy Mom Life Lab.

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