Your Best Tree Ever

Step up your style this Christmas, and get more glow with these simple trimming tips.
Julie Feagin Sandner

Several tricks can make your tree sparkle better than ever. Invite these ideas into your tree-trimming traditions, and then sit back and enjoy your gorgeous work of art.

1. More Bang With Bulbs
Lighting the tree doesn't have to be the dreaded task of the season. Spring for new lights--there's a much better chance they'll work. Mix large bulbs with smaller ones for extra twinkle. Be sure to use a surge protector with multiple outlets so you don't overload your receptacles with a gaggle of extension cords. Another tip: Place the lights on your tree at night so it's easier to see where you need to add or take away a strand.

2. The Real Fun Begins
Start with your largest ornaments first and arrange them all around the tree. If they're extra heavy, secure them to the tree with florist wire. Sometimes oversize baubles tend to slip off branches. Tie inexpensive Christmas balls together with florist wire to create a bold cluster of color.

3. Update Your Look
Introduce a fresh color scheme to your holiday decorations. Accents of cranberry, robin's egg blue, and chocolate are scattered throughout this tree. Repeat colors to make a big impact. For example, the bow topper echoes the same cranberry hue found on ornaments.

4. Final Touches for a Fantastic Tree
When you're just about done, add more ribbon. It's the perfect way to bring in a little more color. Start with an oversize bow at the top, and then weave ribbon streamers down and around the tree. Secure the ribbon with florist wire in a few spots.

"Your Best Tree Ever" is from the December 2006 issue of Southern Living.