Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Tree Tips: Garland

After the lights: garland
There are no firm rules when draping garlands on a tree (as long as you don't create a sausage effect, with branches bulging between tightly-cinched garlands).

Start at the top, stringing less garland, and work your way down, increasing the amount of garland.

Thin bead garlands look best swagged from branch to branch; thick paper, ribbon, or foil garlands look best wrapped loosely around the entire tree.

BH & G experts say to use a variety of garlands -- from plain to fancy -- to avoid a busy look. For every vertical foot of tree, use about two strands of garland.

However, I never opt for less when more is an option. My Victorian tree is dripping with bead garland. I used every strand of gold and pearls that I have.


  1. Hey Cheryl - I love watching all your Christmas trees emerge.

    About the decorating, I agree that the lights should be put on first. And I'm so glad you said it because I've been married to someone over 30 yrs who was raised to loop the lights (like garland) after everything but the tinsel was on. I actually cried when we made that tree. I believe he offered his opinion but hasn't touched--a decorated--a tree in years. :-)

    But my mom always had us put the garland on right before the tinsel. In that way, the ornaments were already on and we would drape the garlands under the ornaments for maximum effect.

    My sister gave me some 6" flat tin ornaments years ago and I hang these against the tree trunk for maximum light reflection.

    Oh - now you see why I haven't jumped in with my comments before...I could talk all day on this.

  2. Anita, I have always done the garland last, too - but since doing it first is supposedly the correct way, I did it after the lights this year. And you know what? It's perfect. You can then arrange the ornaments around your perfectly draped garland. I think it's the prettiest tree I've evenr done.

    On a sad note: a small section of my prelit lights aren't on, and I can't figure that out. I'm thinking of a solution that doesn't involve destroying the tree, but nothing brilliant comes to mind, save sticking a strand in there between all the ornaments and garland.

  3. Hey Cheryl, we bought a pre-lit tree 3 yrs ago - finally - after 28 yrs with our old one.

    Last year, one strand around the middle wasn't lit but we never got around to fixing it. We have a railroad track that Santa's sleigh and his reindeer ride around on in that vicinity and I thought it had something to do with the lights being out.

    This year, I put up the railroad track and realized it doesn't use the lights at all. The reindeer base contains a battery, the reindeer go up and down like carousel horses and pull the sleigh with Santa waving away.

    Oops - off the track, here. Ha!

    Anyway we put our tree up on Sun and I asked hubby to check the lights on that string. He guessed a light was missing. We use 6 ornamotions on our tree and each one plugs into a light socket and turns the ornament around. Sometimes, we take a light out to switch them around and lose the spot.

    So, he started at one spot and started following every wire on that string. And wouldn't you know...6 inches from where he started, he found the socket with the missing light!

    As soon as we pushed a new light in, the whole string lit up.

    MIL will be here next week and I know she gets a kick out of Santa's sleigh going around, so now we're all ready for her. :-)