Live vs Artificial Tree
I have a love hate relationship with getting a live tree each year. On one hand, I love how it makes the house smell like Christmas. Live trees look so much more full than even the best artificial trees. I also just really love the whole experience of picking out a live tree each year. It’s such a fun tradition!
BUT…. live trees definitely take longer and more effort to get up- between getting the tree stand just right and adding all the lights. They also require more maintenance throughout the season with having to water them every day. And, I really hate that we can’t get the tree up before Thanksgiving. I feel like it puts my whole Christmas decorating schedule off track.
However, when Bran and I first got married, he really did not want us to purchase an artificial tree and then have to move with it for residency (which I can’t really argue with). So, the past four years we’ve had a live tree. Throughout the years I’ve learned some tips to decorating a live tree, as it is different than an artificial tree. In retrospect I should have posted this blog a few weeks ago, but, we didn’t get our tree until later this year so I’m doing the best I can (again…. if I had an artificial tree I would have had the tree up a lot earlier lol). So, bookmark this bad boy for next Christmas so you can learn how to decorate your live tree like a pro.
The Challenge of Achieving a Neutral Tree
I am obsessed with the look of a flocked Christmas tree, aren’t you?! I love how the white tree gives a clean, neutral palette to decorate with. It makes the entire room look more light and airy. I have even considered flocking my live tree (which can be done), but I would really hate throwing it out each year after flocking it (and I’m not sure how great a flocked, live tree is for the environment).
So, this year I decided to be strategic in my decorating to try and achieve a neutral tree, while also realizing it would not be as white and airy as a flocked tree. The tips below are all things I intentionally did this year to try and achieve a neutral look.
Step 1: Choose your neutral color scheme
This step helps you create a vision for the tree. What color scheme do you want to stick to? I would always recommend you incorporate white in this. For me, I chose to stick to white, gold, and green (from the tree). I like to include the green in my color scheme to keep my expectations in check. In years past, I somehow would think decorating a live tree with all neutral decor would suddenly make it have the same white look as a flocked tree… not possible! So this year, I chose to embrace the green and I’m kinda obsessed with how the tree ended up!
In addition to white and gold, you could also choose to include platinum, champagne, creams, or silver.
Step 2: Use high quality ribbon
If you follow me on instagram, then you know I think using high quality ribbon is a must. This is the first year I decided to invest in the ribbon, and I am really happy I did. I purchased the Platinum Glitter Ribbon and Sparkled Gold Jute Ribbon from Hello Holidays this year, and was extremely pleased with the results! Ribbon from craft stores do not have the same quality of wiring or material. They also aren’t as wide as a high quality ribbon, which makes it look more cheap.
Adding high quality ribbon on your tree takes it up a notch and makes it look more put together. The wide neutral ribbon is also able to cover a good amount of the green tree and bring in a major amount of neutral colors.
If you go to my instagram highlights, I walk you through how I added this ribbon on the tree and I also linked my favorite ribbon tutorial (I cut my ribbon into strips).
Step 3: Decorate with plenty of white ornaments
Since a neutral tree is what I’m trying to aim for, after I’ve added the ribbon, the first ornaments I add to the tree are white ornaments. I want to make sure my white ornaments are spread out and all of them make it on the tree. I have an assortment of shapes and sizes of white ornaments with varying textures as well- large, small, glitter, snowy, ball, tapered diamonds, etc. Each year I like to pick up a few extra white ornaments to add to this collection.
Step 4: Add in the accent colors in your color scheme
Now it’s time to add in any other colors in your color scheme. For me, that meant adding in my gold ornaments. I purchased a variety pack of shatter-proof gold ornaments from Hobby Lobby last year which I have been really pleased with. I have a few larger ornaments, that are gold but most of them are small. Some are shiny, matte, or glitter gold.
Next, I added in my crystal accent ornaments. These come in a pack from Target for $3 and are a easy way to add a little extra bling to your tree without going overboard. I love the extra sparkle and shine the clear crystals give the tree.
Step 5: White glitter snowflakes
I always add these white snowflakes to my tree each year (I got these at either Target or Hobby Lobby a few years ago, sorry I can’t remember). Since my goal is to decorate a neutral tree, the white snowflakes add another white decor component which helps lighten the overall color scheme of the tree. These particular snowflakes are easy to decorate with- you simply place them on top of the branches and they stick!
Step 6: White or cream tree skirt
Using a neutral white or cream tree skirt helps anchor the tree with a lighter color as well. I love the way a white tree skirt compliments the green tree. I don’t like my particular tree skirt, it doesn’t really fit my tree since it’s made for an artificial tree. So I actually added a throw blanket to the tree this morning (updated picture below with the blanket), and I like how the blanket looks under the presents!
Step 7: Use neutral gift wrap
Lastly, you can finish off your neutral tree with using neutral gift wrap. My personal favorite is using brown kraft paper gift wrap. I also have brown kraft paper gift wrap with gold glitter and gold polka dots to add a little more details to my gifts. I’ll be posting a blog with a link to my freebie gift tags you can use this season (pictured below). Be on the lookout!
I hope this post helps give you hope and confidence in decorating you live tree with a neutral color scheme! Yes a flocked artificial tree would be amazing (and I’m hoping to get one next year), but you can easily achieve a neutral live tree with a little strategy.