Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas | Midwest Living

Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

Here are 35 looks to inspire your Christmas tree decorating. Whether it is formal, natural, funky or classy, a Christmas tree expresses your personality and philosophy.
  • Family heritage

    A Wisconsin family expresses its Dutch-Scandinavian heritage by hanging traditional straw ornaments. See next slide for a closeup of the tree.

  • Family heritage: closeup

    Straw ornaments like this snowflake are traditional Scandinavian favorites.

  • North Woods style

    Pinecones and magnolia sprigs tucked into branches complement the knotty pine walls and other natural decor in this Minneapolis area home. See the next slide for a closeup of this tree.

  • North Woods style: closeup

    Bird's nests, fresh bay leaves, loose pinecones, acorns and glass fruits grace the nature-theme tree.

  • Personal pride

    A stash of ribbons won during dog competitions comes out of the box to adorn a dog-lover’s tree in this Zionsville, Indiana, home.

  • Chalk it up

    In an Eau Claire, Wisconsin home, blackboard gift tags inspire the holiday scheme, which includes a small slate atop the living room's tree. The family cuts the tree at a local farm, trims it with kid-made and store-bought ornaments, then tosses a blanket underneath. 

  • Easy elegance

    With two pheasant hunters in the family, it is fitting this tree gets a wispy look from feathers. The tree harmonizes with the sage green walls, wood beams and natural flooring in this Missouri home. See next slide for a closeup.

  • Easy elegance: Closeup

    Crackle-glass orbs continue the textural theme of the pheasant feathers and burlap.

  • White Christmas

    A flocked Fraser fir decked with glass and silver ornaments provides continuity with the white cottage interior of this Kansas home. See next slide for closeup.

  • White Christmas: closeup

    Glass icicles shimmer in a snow-white scene.

  • Crafty touches

    Homemade ornaments suit a tree in a Craftsman-style home. See the next slide for a closeup of this tree.

  • Crafty touches: closeup

    Gingerbread cookies, strands of popcorn and berries, and sticks of rock candy are some of the homemade elements on this tree.

  • Photo: Ginger Crichton

    Retro fun

    This tree at Des Moines' Festival of Trees & Lights features a fun '50s theme with ornaments that include a poodle skirt, Route 66 sign, juke box and records. Note the retro-style gas pump used as a tree topper! 

  • Tiny trees

    No room for a full-size tree, or no time to decorate one? Create an eye-catching miniature version with something as simple as this pot of rosemary. 

    More ideas for tiny trees

  • Suit the setting

    Beside a grand staircase and in view of a formal dining room, this tree has to wear finery. Even the tree topper makes an elegant statement. See the next slide for a closeup.

  • Suit the setting: Closeup

    Such a grand tree requires a suitable topper. A bouquet of ribbons works without making it top-heavy.

  • Warm it up

    Extending the spirit outside seems to call for some extra warmth. So this tree skirt is a blanket. Snowflakes and pinecones continue the mood.

  • Winter whites

    Tans and blues extend from the room decor right onto the tree for a serene effect. See next slide for a closeup.

  • Winter whites: closeup

    Touches of barely there blue pop against a serene scene of glass and silver.

  • Photo: Ginger Crichton

    Lego love

    Legos are the star of this kid-friendly tree, featured at Des Moines' Festival of Trees & Lights. A Lego Santa tops the tree, while other holiday-theme Lego constructions dangle from the branches. Clear plastic ornaments filled with Legos also hang from the tree, and the garland includes Lego bricks. 

  • Photo: Ginger Crichton

    Yarn decor

    This tree at Des Moines' Festival of Trees & Lights features giant balls of yarn in varying sizes and a yarn-wrapped tree topper.

  • Burlap wrap

    Burlap ribbons reflect the other natural elements in this room. Brown paper wrapping on presents anchors the look in nature. Words on the tree skirt pick up the writing above the mantel. 

  • Burlap wrap: closeup

    Burlap ribbons and bows complement the brown, bronze, gold and silver ornaments on this tree.

  • Good wishes

    Peaceful doves pop against holly sprigs and glittering acorns on a tree that wishes viewers peace and bounty. 

  • Photo: Ginger Crichton

    Feliz Navidad

    The decorators of this tree at Des Moines' Festival of Trees & Lights went all-out with a Feliz Navidad theme, from pinatas at the base of the tree to a sombrero at the top.

  • Brighten spirits

    Bejeweled with twinkle lights, this tree can’t help but sparkle. See the next slide for a closeup.

  • Brighten spirits: closeup

    Sticks of faux berries jut out from a tree that dazzles with lights. 

  • Sparkle

    White lights and silver ornaments make this tinsel tree shine brighter. 

  • Family touches

    Paper chains and photocopied family pictures lend personal touches to this tree. An urn brimming with oranges dresses up the bottom of the tree, while sand and gravel inside the urn stabilize the trunk.

  • Family touches: closeup

    Copies of vintage photos and handmade garland accent this pretty tree.

  • Natural beauty

    Sticks gathered from the yard add a woodsy touch to this tree; ornaments in green, brown and other natural colors add to the look. See the next slide for a closeup.

  • Natural beauty: closeup

    Flowers, owls and more traditional Christmas ornaments all complement the woodsy theme of this tree.

  • "Silent Night" theme

    This homeowner printed words from the song "Silent Night" on parchment paper and cut them into tags to use as ornaments. Cardstock drummer boys add another craft touch.

  • "Silent Night": closeup

    Printouts of the words of "Silent Night" hang on this tree along with a garland of buttons, framed silhouettes and other color-theme decorations.

  • Shimmery setting

    Though the tree continues the gold of the living room decor, its shimmer and shine keeps it the centerpiece. See the next slide for a closeup.

  • Shimmery style: closeup

    Gold and green ball ornaments shine among tufts of neutral raffia. 

  • Bright baubles

    Pompoms, polka dots and primary colors stand out against the brightness of silver cookie cutters hanging on the tinsel tree. 

  • Kid-friendly

    Candy canes and cloth circles keep this red-and-green tree kid friendly. See next slide for a closeup.

  • Kid-friendly: closeup

    Twist red and white clay or pipe cleaners together to make candy canes that look sweet but won't tempt toddlers.

  • Passion for pastels

    Pastel ribbons drape the tree in subtle glamour. Spots of citrus yellow add mood-brightening color.  See next slide for closeup.

  • Passion for pastels: closeup

    Fabric flowers and sequined clutches make for a feminine look. 

  • Go glam

    Teal and purple stand out on this tree decked in metallics. See next slide for closeup.

  • Go glam: closeup

    Every ornament on this tree sparkles with glitter.

  • Color-coordinated mix

    This tree shows off a mix of color-coordinated baubles, silk flowers, twigs, pinecones, glittery deer, and handmade ornaments, while ice skates under the tree nod to a favorite family activity.

  • Photo by Ginger Crichton

    Princess appeal

    Satin ribbons, sparkling slippers and fairy-tale ornaments adorn this fanciful tree at Des Moines' Festival of Trees and Lights. 

  • Cookie theme

    Miniature rolling pins, cookie cutters, gingerbread men and bundles of cinnamon sticks mix with burlap wrap, bells and twine ornaments on this tree. 

  • Woodland whimsy

    An owl tops this nature-theme tree, which also has sparkly pine cones, feathers, and miniature bird nests. 

  • Photo by Ginger Crichton

    Tree of games

    Cards, spinners, tiles and other pieces from a variety of games adorn this tree at Des Moines' Festival of Trees and Lights. 

  • Stamp it

    Not sure what to do with old stamps that have only sentimental value? Use Mod Podge to make a stamp collage on a clear plastic ornament. See the next slide for other ideas to create an entire tree themed around Christmas letters, stamps and packages.

  • Dear Santa

    Letters to Santa. Christmas cards from friends. Packages from home. Put all these Christmas memories into a tree themed around mail with ornaments that include stamps glued on ornaments (see previous slide), a garland of postcards, small packages wrapped in kraft paper, small muslin sacks of mail and miniature mailboxes. The tree at left was part of Des Moines' Festival of Trees and Lights, a fundraiser for Blank Children's Hospital; the tree's theme was chosen because of children's love for receiving mail. 

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