It's one of the easiest ways to trim the tree.

By Betsy Cribb
Start at the Top
"I work my way down a tree. Don't start in the middle, because going up and down will disturb the decor or even break ornaments. And wear an apron, because evergreens prick clothing."
| Credit: Ball & Albanese

If we've learned anything from years of holiday decorating trial-and-error, when you see something that works, you embrace it with festive flair! After all, there's no need to reinvent the wheel—especially when precious holiday prep time is on the line. So when we learned that The Greenbrier's Director of Social Activities, Betsy Conte, uses wired ribbon to fashion pretty garlands for each of the historic resort's 75 themed trees (and that she can decorate each tree in its entirety in only 20 minutes!), you best believe we made an executive decision to exclusively decorate our Christmas trees in ribbon garland from there on out. Here's how to put ribbon on a Christmas tree—and save yourself some major holiday headaches along the way.

First, choose your ribbon. Conte uses 10-inch thick wired ribbon to create a fuller look on the hotel's trees, but you may want to consider scale and personal preference: if you want something daintier or your tree is fairly small, you may end up going with ribbon that's slightly narrower. (We're all about volume, though, so we'll stick with Conte's recommendation on this one.) In terms of how much ribbon you'll need, it will vary depending on how you wrap your tree, but Christmas Central suggests using about 9 feet of garland per foot of tree (a 6-foot tree, then, may require about 54 feet of ribbon).

Start with a tree that's already been strung with lights, but not yet decorated with ornaments. The lights will act as a sort of guide for where the ribbon will go, pointing you to places on the tree that are in most need of being filled out with the garland.

Anchor your garland by twisting a strand of ribbon around a branch at the top of the tree. (Be sure to start on the back so the first twist doesn't create visual clutter on the front of the tree.) Give the ribbon a little tug to make sure it's secure, then begin winding your way down the tree, alternating between looser loops that fill out the tree and tighter ones that hug the tree more closely and maintain its shape. Repeat this in-and-out looping pattern all the way to the bottom of the tree, stepping back every few loops to ensure that the tree looks the way you want it to. Try to avoid wrapping the ribbon too tightly, as that will make the tree look too orchestrated or too carefully decorated.

If you don't want to wrap your ribbon in a spiral, another option is to hang it vertically. If you want to hang your ribbon vertically, start by cutting long, varying lengths of ribbon. Then, anchor each ribbon at the top of the tree and then let them cascade down the tree. To keep the ribbons from stiffly resting on top of the branches, work your way down each length of ribbon, curving and tucking the ribbon around branches all the way down for a more whimsical look.

For a tree that's especially design-oriented, add another round of ribbon or two. Just be sure to choose textured ribbons in coordinating colors: The varied texture will add interest and dimension without adding distracting or competing hues.

Finally, if you want a creative Christmas tree topper, consider using any remaining ribbon to fashion an enormous bow. Oh Christmas tree, indeed!

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Who's ready for a Christmas vacation to Savannah? Meet you there!