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
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
- 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
- Slim trees: Christmas trees that are smaller in width compared to full trees
- 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
Christmas Tree Decorations
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
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 or Twinkly® Light Show 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
- Twinkly Lights: A smart LED lighting system that lets you customise your lights
Wreaths, Garlands, and Other Greenery
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
Other Christmas Decorations
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Decorating Key Parts of the Home
Front Door and Porch:
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:
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.
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.
Other Parts of the Home:
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
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.