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How to Decorate a Small Christmas Tree

Sally Painter
Family Decorating Christmas Tree

It's important to know how to decorate a small Christmas tree to achieve the best look possible for your holiday enjoyment. When it comes to small Christmas trees, you aren't limited to using only tiny ornaments.

Christmas Tree Design and Concept

Small Christmas trees are typically between two and five feet tall. Anything smaller than two feet is considered a miniature. Decide where you want to place your tree, such as on a table, bench, floor or buffet before choosing the colors and theme.

Colors and Theme

Before you begin shopping, decide on the colors you wish to use in your decorations, such as gold and teal, or the traditional red and green. Once you know your color scheme, select the theme, such as candy canes, snowmen, plaids or hearts.

Christmas ornaments

Choosing Christmas Lights

The next decorating decision is choosing the type of lighting strands you want. You want to add the Christmas lights to your tree before anything else since it requires disturbing the tree in order to place the lights within the branches. If you're working with a live tree or an artificial one that isn't pre-lit, you can choose either a solid color or multi-color for your string of lights.

  • The type of light strand you select can range from traditional to novelty, such as globe or bubble designs.
  • Make sure the strand color is camouflaged by using the same color as your tree.
  • Depending on the size of your tree, you may opt to use standard Christmas tree mini-lights or go with specially sized light strands designed for miniature trees.

Number of Light Strands

There are a few guidelines about the number of light strands to use for the maximum lighting effect for a Christmas tree; however, like all decorating, it is still a personal choice.

  • Christmas Central advises to use three 100-light strands for every foot of Christmas tree height.
  • For example, a four-foot-high Christmas tree will require twelve 100-light strands. If you opt for a 400-light strand, then you'll only need to purchase three strands.

How to Add Lights

The best way to add lights to a Christmas tree is to start at the top of the tree with the end of the light strand. However, if you have an electric topper, you'll need the electrical socket end at the top of the tree to connect the topper. This way you can connect the next strand below it and continue adding lights in sequence.

  • Weave the lights into the tree by moving from the center of the tree and threading the strand to the tips of limbs.
  • You'll need to bring the strand back toward the center underneath the limb and fan out to the next branch. This will ensure complete and consistent lighting of each branch and the tree.
Couple placing string lights on Christmas tree

Select and Add Garland

Choose a garland design that goes with your colors and theme. This can be something as simple as old-fashioned tinsel or ribbon garlands for greater visual value. Once more, you'll start at the top of the tree and work your way down. You can wrap the tree in a downward spiral, drape horizontally or use a zigzag pattern.

Christmas Central advises customers to use nine feet of garland for every foot of tree height. For example, a four-foot tree will require 36 feet of garland.

Big and Small Ornaments

The most common misconception about decorating a small Christmas tree is you must purchase adorable small ornaments. However, just as you wouldn't decorate a seven or eight-foot tall Christmas tree only with large or oversized ornaments, you won't decorate a small tree with just small or miniature ornaments. Add larger ornaments for greater depth and interest in your tree design.

  • You can use several large ornaments over the entire tree for accent ornaments, such as large snowmen or snowflakes.
  • Place ornaments so the eye will follow them naturally up and/or across the tree.
  • Fill in blank spaces to keep the flow consistent.
Christmas tree

Use Clusters of Ornaments

Another great tool for decorating is to use a cluster of ball ornaments or other grouping, such as tiny decorative gifts. These can be in varying sizes and colors. Add a cluster of three miniature ornament balls in one area contrasted by a larger cluster. Space these out so they create a symmetrical pattern up and across the tree.

Use clusters of ornaments

Flowers, Berries and Sprig Fillers

Just as you would use fillers in a floral arrangement, you can always add a sprig of berries or flowers, such as rose or poinsettias. You may prefer sprigs of pinecones.

Flowers, Berries and Sprig Fillers

Decorating Fun for Small Christmas Trees

Guidelines for decorating a small Christmas tree can help you plan and save time and money. Get family and friends involved in the process for true holiday fun.

How to Decorate a Small Christmas Tree