Christmas decorating with assorted blue, gold, and orange ornaments on a realistic tree

The tradition of Christmas decorating is always something to look forward to. As the year draws to a close, you deck your halls with festive ornaments and let the spirit of the season fill your home. To inspire your upcoming plans, here’s a primer on everything you need to know from the most popular Christmas decorations to tips on preparations.

Types of Christmas Decorations

Here are the key items used in traditional Christmas decorating:

Artificial Christmas Trees

different artificial Christmas tree sizes, colors, and lights

Think about the tree’s height and shape relative to the space you’re decorating. Foliage properties—like colour and realism—and lighting options are important things to consider, too. Some artificial Christmas trees have special features that match your needs, such as our easy set-up Flip Trees™.

Artificial Christmas Trees 101: Terms to Know

  • Branch Sample Kit: A Balsam Hill™ exclusive preview kit containing individual branches of our most popular trees
  • Classic Needles: Thin, papery needles made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), typically seen on traditional artificial Christmas trees
  • Flatback tree: A space-saving tree that lays flat against a wall
  • Flip Tree: Our easy set-up Christmas tree that rolls into place and flips upright to eliminate heavy lifting
  • Flocking: An added element that creates a frosted or snow-like effect
  • Fluffing: The technique of shaping branches or foliage to achieve its ideal shape
  • Hinged branches: Tree branches that are pre-attached to the centre pole for quick assembly
  • Narrow/slim trees: Christmas trees that are smaller in width compared to full trees
  • Pre-Fluffed™: Trees with professionally shaped memory wire branches that fan into place after the tree section is untied
  • Regular/full trees: The classic tree profile, characterised by a wide silhouette and abundant foliage
  • Tree stand: A sturdy, X-shaped steel base included with every Balsam Hill tree
  • True Needle™: Our most realistic artificial Christmas tree foliage made from injection-moulded polyethylene (PE) plastic

LEARN MORE ABOUT ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREES »

Christmas Tree Decorations

realistic artificial Christmas tree with burgundy and gold decorations

FEATURED: BRILLIANT BORDEAUX ORNAMENT SET

After deciding on your Christmas tree, consider your theme and the type of decorations you want to use. Dress it with assorted ornaments, tree picks, and matching ribbons or garlands. To complete the look, pick a tree topper and a skirt, collar, or replacement stand.

Christmas Tree Decorations 101: Terms to Know

  • Antiqued: A technique to make a new object appear gently weathered
  • Christmas tree collar: An alternative to tree skirts that serves as a decorative cover for the base of a tree
  • Christmas tree garland: Chains of beads, crystals, lights, or other Christmas-themed elements
  • Christmas tree ornament: A decorative item hung on a Christmas tree; often sold in coordinating sets
  • Christmas tree skirt: A wide circular fabric covering for the base of a Christmas tree
  • Christmas tree topper: An accent for the top of a Christmas tree, such as a star or an angel
  • Picks: Decorative slender sticks inserted within the branches of a tree

LEARN MORE ABOUT CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATIONS »

Christmas Lights

Artificial tree with LED Christmas tree lights in a rustic room

FEATURED: VERMONT WHITE SPRUCE™ TREE

For an extra festive look, brighten up your tree with LED Christmas lights. Pre-lit Christmas trees are a convenient option, since they minimise the time you spend setting up. Go classic clear, multicoloured, or switch between both with our Colour + Clear™ trees. We also offer trees with fairy lights for magical displays.

Christmas Lights 101: Terms to Know

  • Bulb remover tool: Used to remove an individual bulb in case of burnout or breakage
  • Candlelight™ LED: Clear LED lights that give a warm glow similar to traditional incandescent bulbs
  • Colour + Clear: Lights that allow you to switch between clear, multicoloured, or both using a remote control
  • Easy Plug™: Exclusive Balsam Hill technology that connects light strings through the trunk for quick assembly
  • Foot pedal: A circular, step-on pedal that gives you hands-free on/off functionality for most pre-lit trees
  • Incandescent lights: Traditional Christmas lights that heat a metal filament to produce light
  • LED lights: Light-emitting diodes that don’t burn out or produce much heat

LEARN MORE ABOUT CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS »

Wreaths, Garlands, and Other Greenery

decorated greenery wreath and garland on a mantel

FEATURED: MOUNTAIN MEADOW FOLIAGE

Complement your Christmas tree and decorate other parts of your home with artificial greenery. Wreaths and garlands are great accents for entrances and mantels, while potted trees add cheer to dining rooms and small areas.

Christmas Greenery 101: Terms to Know

  • Centrepiece: A foliage item designed to be placed on a table, often with a slot for a candle
  • Garland: A long segment of foliage often used on fireplace mantels, doors, and windows
  • Potted tree: A tree in an ornamental pot mostly used as an accent rather than the main Christmas tree
  • Swag: Greenery used on a door, mailbox, or mantel
  • Teardrop: Greenery shaped like a teardrop and often hung on a door
  • Topiary: A small tree clipped into a decorative shape and displayed on patios, along doorways, or in corners
  • Wreath: A circular arrangement often used on doors and windows

LEARN MORE ABOUT ARTIFICIAL GREENERY »

Other Christmas Decorations

Christmas candle holders and figurines on a table

FEATURED: CHRISTMAS CANDLE RINGS

Create festive scenes with tabletop accents like musical snow globes and figurines. Console tables and fireplace mantels are also nice display areas for flameless candles, stockings, and more. Remember, the small details matter in personalising your home décor.

Christmas Accents 101: Terms to Know

  • Christmas scents: Ornament sticks, diffusers, or oils that emit festive aromas, such as cinnamon, hazelnut, citrus, and pine
  • Cloche: A bell-shaped dome used to create centrepieces or protect souvenirs or collectibles
  • Hurricane: A wide cylindrical candle or candleholder often found in the middle of a centrepiece
  • Mercury glass: Thick, double-walled glass that has silvery material in between its layers; does not contain actual mercury
  • Miracle Flame™: Flameless LED candles that glow with the same flicker of real candle flames
  • Nativity: Figurines depicting a Christmas scene, usually with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus
  • Snow globe: A glass ball encasing figurines and artificial snow; set on a stand for mantel or table display
  • Votive: A small, short candle, often used in a holder

Common Timings

easy set-up artificial Christmas tree

There’s no hard rule when it comes to Christmas decorating, so you’re free to make your own traditions. But, if you’re curious about the most popular times to put up and take down decorations, here are the usual timings according to our research. We also noted the best times to buy if you’re looking for good deals.

When should you put up Christmas decorations?

Traditionally, most people put up their Christmas tree on the first of December as a way of ringing in the season. Nowadays, the trend of early Christmas decorating is gaining popularity, with some families decking their halls as early as November.

When should Christmas decorations be taken down?

Most people take down their décor on December 31st or right after New Year’s Day to welcome the new year. Then, there are others who enjoy leaving their artificial Christmas trees and ornaments up until the first week of January or 12 days after Christmas.

When is the best time to buy an artificial Christmas tree & decorations?

Get big savings on decorating items after Christmas Day up until January as retail stores clear out seasonal items. To beat the rush, shop early during Christmas in July. Also keep an eye out for special deals three months before Christmas, especially come Black Friday.

For updates on exclusive offers and special deals, sign up for the Balsam Hill newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Christmas Decorating Themes

Your decorating theme determines what kinds of ornaments and trim you’ll need to shop for. Start considering a theme as early as three months before Christmas. If you’re looking for inspiration, explore these festive Christmas decoration ideas:

Classic Silver & Gold

Christmas decorating ideas using silver and gold ornaments and accents for Christmas trees and wreaths

Silver and gold decorations add instant shimmer to your display. Layer sparkly globes, finial-shaped ornaments, and beaded garlands on your tree, then crown it with a star or angel tree topper. For your mantel or entryway, choose artificial greenery with similar accents.

Get the Look:

Christmas Cheer

Christmas decorating ideas using assorted red, green, and gold ornaments and accents

The timeless combination of red, green, and gold is a favourite Christmas decoration idea of many. Make a merry display with ornaments and trim in these festive colours. Then, complement your tree with decorated greenery and tabletop ornaments.

Get the Look:

Nordic Frost

Nordic-themed Christmas decorating ideas combining neutral accents with red ornaments

Brighten up neutral colours with bold touches of red. To make the room feel extra cosy, add soft accents like a faux fur tree skirt and a plush throw for your couch. LED twig trees are charming outdoor Christmas decoration ideas that make your home look magical come night-time.

Get the Look:

Farmhouse Christmas

Farmhouse-themed Christmas decorating with rustic accents and plaid patterns

Rustic best describes this theme, yet playful patterns come into the picture, too. Hang Christmas tree ornaments in muted tones, stripes, and plaid prints. Instead of a tree skirt, try a wooden or steel tree collar as a base for your decorations. Don’t forget to spruce up entrances with greenery arrangements.

Get the Look:

Coastal Charm

Modern coastal Christmas decorating with assorted navy, copper, and turquoise accents on a tree

Give your Christmas tree an elegant makeover with rich navy, copper, and turquoise hues. Glittery tree picks complement assorted glass ornaments well, and metallic ribbons tie the look together. Complete your display with matching gift wrapping, curtains, and throw pillows.

Get the Look:

Crystal Palace

Winter-themed Christmas decorating with ivory, silver, and icy blue accents on a frosted tree

When it comes to creating a winter wonderland, choose ivory, silver, and icy blue accents. Pair a flocked tree with frosted ornaments, then place Christmas lights and flameless candles around the room for warmth.

Get the Look:

Christmas Decorating Tips

Now you have an idea of what to buy, when to buy them, and when to put them up and take them down. You may have a theme in mind, too. Next, here’s a rundown of tips to guide your Christmas decorating.

Preparations

Woman placing red and white ornaments on a Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree

STEP 1: Make an Inventory of Your Collection

After selecting a theme, list down the items needed and set a working budget. If you’re reusing your existing decorations, check their condition and look out for damages. Test light bulbs and repair or replace anything as needed.

STEP 2: Clean Up Before Decorating

It can be tiring to clean and decorate at the same time. So, clean the house a day or two before adding Christmas decorations. This makes the task easier and more enjoyable.

STEP 3: Work with a Team

Ask help from family members and friends to make setting up more manageable. Start with the big tasks first and leave simpler jobs for last.

STEP 4: Don't Forget to Allot Time for Gift Wrapping

Try to match your gift wrappers with your decorative theme for a special touch. If you have indoor pets or young children, wait a day or two before Christmas to lay out the gifts.

Decorating Your Christmas Tree

Two decorated Christmas trees with assorted colors and ornaments

FEATURED: GEORGETOWN ORNAMENT SET COURTESY OF CONNIE AND LUNA & CANADIAN BLUE SPRUCE COURTESY OF MISS KYREE LOVES

Make sure to fluff the branches of your artificial Christmas tree before adding decorations. To prevent dislodging or breaking ornaments, decorate from the top of your tree and work your way down. Start with accents that you need to hang around your Christmas tree, such as light strings, ribbons, and garlands.

Spread out your ornaments and tree picks in various sections of your tree. Every once in a while, step back to check if your decorations look balanced. Keep your Christmas tree topper and accents in place with secure fasteners and consider placing thick towels or a blanket under the tree when handling delicate ornaments.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CHRISTMAS TREE ASSEMBLY »

Decorating Key Parts of the Home

Front Door and Porch:

Decorated Christmas wreaths and garlands on white front porch

FEATURED: MIXED EVERGREEN WITH PINECONES FOLIAGE & WINTER OUTDOOR HOMESTEAD PINE FOLIAGE

Wreaths and garlands instantly make your entryway more welcoming. Greet neighbours and guests with potted plants and topiaries flanking your door. For extra flair, consider stringing lights and displaying decorative figures outside your home.

Living Room or Common Area:

Living room with a white decorated Christmas tree and festive artificial greenery along the stairs

FEATURED: MOUNT WASHINGTON WHITE CHRISTMAS TREE COURTESY OF A HOUSE FULL OF SUNSHINE & HERITAGE SPICE FOLIAGE

Complement your Christmas tree with matching greenery on your mantel or stairway. Stockings, figurines, and snow globes are other festive touches you can add throughout the room.

Dining Room:

Christmas wreaths and garlands decorating two dining areas

FEATURED: CHRISTMAS CANDLE RINGS & FRASER FIR WREATHS

Make dinner parties extra merry with decorated greenery as your table centrepiece. You can even put up a narrow Christmas tree in a corner and match your dinnerware with your decorating theme.

Insider's Tip

Use traditional accents like pinecones, holly berries, and sprigs of foliage as easy ways to decorate any room.

Other Parts of the Home:

A Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree in the corner of the bedroom and two sparse trees in a teal reading nook

FEATURED: SILVERADO SLIM TREE COURTESY OF NICHOL NARANJO & FROSTED ALPINE BALSAM FIR COURTESY OF WE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Some families decorate their bedrooms, dens, and reading nooks with smaller trees. Try experimenting with creative themes and unique ornaments to transform these special spaces.

Safety and Storage

Christmas tree in a Balsam Hill rolling storage bag

FEATURED: ROLLING MULTI-PURPOSE GREENERY BAG

Keep safety in mind as you decorate. Be mindful of electric outlets and cords, especially if you’re stringing a lot of lights around your home. Only choose UL Listed lights to avoid fire hazards.

When it’s time to take down your Christmas decorations, keep them in proper storage boxes and bags. This will help you enjoy your artificial Christmas tree and ornaments for many years to come. Find more storage tips here.

We hope this guide has inspired your plans for Christmas decorating. If you have any questions, reach out to us here. For more Christmas tree decoration ideas, visit our blog.

SHOP CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS