Bring the beauty of the Holiday Tree Festival to your home Decorate your Christmas tree using these simple design tips from the festival’s decorators

After hours of pacing through the lot in the cold snow, you’ve found it – the perfect Christmas tree. Once you’ve brought it home, the question is, how should you decorate it? Don’t worry. The experienced decorators at Akron Children’s Holiday Tree Festival are here to help.

Lori Reilly, a professional florist and a decorator at the Tree Festival for 25 years, said decorating your tree should be fun, not stressful.

“I don’t think there is a wrong way to decorate for Christmas,” said Reilly. “It’s about the season and what the real meaning is – being together with family and friends.”

Another long-time Tree Festival decorator, Douglas Haines, suggests that your tree reflect your personal style.

“Do something you like,” said Haines. “Even if it’s pink or purple, orange or black, do what you like. Take the lead and go with it. Don’t let somebody else tell you what to include.”

Here are some simple tips to help get you started:

  1. Plan ahead. Having a beautiful Christmas tree doesn’t have to break your budget. Most decorators at the Holiday Tree Festival plan their trees one year in advance. Buy your holiday decorations for the upcoming year after Christmas, when the majority of items go on sale.
  2. Fluff your tree. This is the basis for all of your decorating. If you’re using an artificial tree, make sure every tree branch is fluffed. Not only will your tree appear fuller, but you will also have more room for decorations.
  3. Pick a dominate color. Does it bother you that the ornament you bought on vacation doesn’t match the one your mother-in-law gave you last year? Include all of your mismatched ornaments, but also chose a single dominate color to use. Incorporate elements, such as bulbs or ribbon, in that color to bring a cohesive look to your tree. 
  4. Match to your décor. For several weeks, your Christmas tree will be a part of your home décor, so it shouldn’t clash with what’s already there. If your living room incorporates bright pastels, avoid using the traditional red and green colors in your tree design.
  5. Use ribbon. Whether it’s a simple color or an ornate design, ribbon is one of the easiest elements to incorporate into your tree. But it’s also one of the most frequently overlooked by at-home decorators. Wrap ribbon around the whole tree or use it for tiny ribbons on the branches.
  6. Personalize it. Your Christmas tree should represent you and your family, and every ornament can help to tell your story. Decorating the tree can be a fun, family tradition, so be sure to include them in the process.

Get inspired to decorate your tree by viewing others first at the 31st annual Holiday Tree Festival, which runs Nov. 17 to Nov. 25 at the John S. Knight Center. Admission is free. For more information, visit akronchildrens.org/treefestival.

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