I used to decorate Christmas trees professionally as a floral designer, and I learned a lot about decorating in way that is least likely to cause injury and thus, get the flower shop sued. A lot of these practices are useful for parents who want to create a fabulous, yet babyproof tree. Here are some of my best tips:
1. Professionally decorated trees stick to a formula: lights first, then garland, big ornaments, small ornaments, filler, tree topper and finally, tree skirt.
2. Some artificial trees use lead in the faux fir needles as a binding ingredient. Avoid this danger by using real trees only.
3. Use LED lights for their longevity and fire safety. To keep fire danger to a minimum, don’t string more than 3 strings together end-to-end.
4. When you put the lights on the tree, start at the bottom of the tree and work your way up in a spiral, weaving the lights in toward the tree trunk and out toward the branch tips in a “W”shape. Don’t let the cord show! Use little sections of green pipe cleaner to wire any cord that shows to the tree branch.
5. After you put the lights on, put the garland on. Like the lights, start at the bottom of the tree and work your way up in a spiral, utilizing that same “W” technique. Try to avoid covering up the lights. Fabric garlands are great for covering up bare spots.
6. Hang ornaments starting with the biggest ones first, placing them in a diamond pattern on your tree. Place some ornaments in toward the trunk and others out on the branch tips to give your tree depth. Use short pieces of green pipe cleaner to wire your ornaments to the tree, so they are safe from little hands. Wiring also allows you to hang the ornaments deeper in the tree.
7. Big silk flower heads, poufy ribbon bows, pinecones, and ornaments made out of wood, paper, straw or fabric are all good, child-safe choices for ornaments. Avoid anything made out of glass or metal with pointy edges.
8. Filler is used to fill in the bare spots and unify your tree. Good choices for filler include sprigs of artificial red berries, gold leaves and dried hydrangea heads. Wire this to the tree with green pipe cleaners as well. Make sure berries and leaves can’t be pulled off the stems by little hands.
9. Finish with your tree topper and tree skirt. Keep toddlers from pulling off the fir needles and choking on them by keeping your tree well watered and only using a tree you cut down yourself (rather than pre-cut).
I hope these tips help you create a fabulous Christmas tree. Feel free to email me with your Christmas decorating questions or show me photos of your gorgeous tree! firstname.lastname@example.org