What goes on a Christmas tree first – the ribbon or the ornaments? Have you ever wondered? Well, it’s one of the top questions I get asked this time of year about decorating a professional looking Christmas tree.
There really is no hard and fast rule on this. Even professional tree decorators seem to have differing viewpoints. But I know what always works for me. So, friends, here is my fool-proof method. I use it each and every Christmas when decorating Christmas trees that look like this one!
My Christmas tree is pre-lit. But, obviously, if you have a real tree, you already know you need to put the lights on first! There’s a good article over at Better Homes & Gardens on How to Decorate which explains the differences in the types of lights you can choose from.
What Goes on a Christmas First: Ribbon or Ornaments?
My Fool-Proof Method!
Here’s the order that I always do things in:
1. What Goes on First? The Ribbon!
When deciding what goes on a Christmas tree first, I always start with the ribbon. Sometimes people are surprised at this! The reason why I put the ribbon on a Christmas tree first is because I like to get the ribbon deep into the tree.
If the ornaments were already on the tree, they’d be in the way of getting the ribbon in the right spots. Or worse, I’d break a few. If I am using an extra wide ribbon, like a burlap, I’ll start with the widest and work my way down. Then, I’ll add any narrower ribbon before moving on. I have a super easy tutorial here on the blog for how to put ribbon on a Christmas tree if you are curious.
2. Sprigs or Branches
If I’m using any long sprigs or branches, I’ll add them to the Christmas tree next. I like always like adding natural branches to an artificial tree because it gives the illusion of a real tree. It also adds gorgeous, imperfect texture.
I add the branches at this step because they need to be poked deep into the tree so that they don’t fall out. Also, the further down they are in the tree, the more natural they will look. You want them to look like they are part of the tree, not just an afterthought.
3. Large Items (Heavy or Long)
I always like to get creative with my trees, which means might add large items to a Christmas tree. These are the things that make a tree special, and give it personality. For example, I have used lighted houses, metal buckets of snowballs, and more.
Quite often, these items aren’t designed for a Christmas tree, so they don’t hang. Instead, they just need to be positioned on a sturdy branch. I usually add these next so that I can secure them in the best spots.
And, if I have any super long hanging decorations, I’ll add them now so that I can find just the right spot.
4. Ball Ornaments
I like to add Christmas balls next. They tend to be more visually dominant, so adding them before the other decorations ensures you can place them evenly throughout the tree. Before beginning, I like to organize them by colour and size. That way, I can spread them out throughout the tree so no particular area has too much of any colour or size.
Also, they are usually used as ‘filler’ to add a particular colour scheme to a tree. Often, they aren’t breakable, and are less expensive and less cherished than other decorations. I realize this isn’t always the case! So if you have Grandma’s treasured collection of vintage Christmas balls, please leave them for the next step!
5. Treasured Ornaments
Finally, when looking at what goes on a Christmas tree first, I ALWAYS leave my most treasured ornaments for last. This is for two reasons.
First, they are much less likely to get broken if everything else is completed first. Can you imagine trying to stuff ribbon into a section of the tree with a blown glass family heirloom? It makes my heart palpitate lol.
Secondly, your treasured ornaments are most visible when they hang at the end of a branch rather than deep in the tree. That means you can see them when you walk by, evoking memories of loved ones or Christmases gone by. And, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
So there you go! My tried and true, fool proof method for what goes on a Christmas tree first.
Obviously, there are no rules to decorating a Christmas tree. Just do whatever works best for your own decorations. The most important thing is to have fun with it, and to create a tree that makes you happy!
What Goes on a Christmas Tree First: Shopping Tips
Wondering where to buy items similar to the gorgeous things I’ve used on my Christmas trees in this post? You can pop over to A Pop of Pretty’s Amazon Storefront to find the Christmas home decor I’m loving this year!
Here’s a little sneak peek, organized by colour:
Have the happiest weekend, friends.