4 Steps to Decorate a *Decked Out* Themed Christmas Tree (on a budget!)

So, you want to decorate a themed Christmas tree next year?

Thought so!

Over the last few years, my mom and I have been really into decorating one tree with a theme.  She has actually done a lot of themed trees in the past, but for a number of years we just were setting up your typical tree with our whole ornament collection.  

This year, we set up a "sweets and treats" themed dessert tree!  
Cakes, macarons, cupcakes, spatulas, and a chef's hat to top it off. 
Our tree had a major sweet tooth!

It's really not as hard as you think to have a themed tree!  Although I will say, some themes are going to be easier than others.  

Below, I'll try to outline the best steps to take for creating the themed tree of your dreams!

Step One:  Choose your idea.
We've done a Packer green/gold tree, a shoe tree, a silver and blue tree, a
hunt, fish, camp" tree, a 12 Days of Christmas tree...  There are an endless amount of ideas to choose from!  One piece of advice I can give you is not to get super obscure with your idea, unless you don't mind spending a bit more time and money on making your tree fabulous!  For instance, I didn't decide on a macaron tree.  I love macarons and we have quite a few macaron ornaments on our tree this year.  But you have to come up with an idea that is going to have ornaments that are easily accessible.  Broadening the idea to be "desserts" instead of a specific type of desserts made it a lot easier to find enough ornaments to fill it!  

Also, choose a color scheme that will fit in with the theme you have chosen and add at least one metallic (gold, silver, rose gold, etc).  For this one, we chose light pink, white, and other colors that you'd commonly think of with cute desserts, with the metallic accent being gold.  For hunt, fish, camp, we stuck to the more traditional route of red, maroon, dark green, and plaids, also using gold as the metallic accent.  You'll thank me later that you chose a color scheme, because your tree will have a more cohesive look.  Last but not least, consider what types of ornaments/colors you already have a lot of.  Maybe there is a hidden theme sitting in your vast ornament collection right now!

Step Two:  Give yourself enough time.
So, you're thinking that one day about a month ago, we just came up with the grand idea to do a "sweets and treats" Christmas tree, right?  WRONG!  This is where being over-prepared comes in handy.  We came up with the idea at this time last year!  After we had done the hunt, fish, camp tree, it was time for something much girlier.  Right after Christmas, we were able to find everything we needed for at least 50% off (the deals were generally around 60-80% off).  If you want to do this in the most economical way, you MUST start to do your shopping right as the Christmas season ends!  That means coming up with your idea waaaaay in advance (like a year ahead of time), NOT on the day you're setting up your tree!  That doesn't mean you can't pick up finishing touches when you're ready to set the tree up.  Before December even begins, stores are already putting their Christmas decor on sale for 40-50% off.  So if you're looking for something that was out-of-stock at the end of last year, scoop it up this year while you still can!

Step Three:  Shop at the right stores!  
Our favorites for Christmas ornaments include Hobby Lobby, At Home, Joann Fabrics, Walmart, Michael's, Kohl's, and Walgreens. These are great places to start.  But remember, you're starting at the END of the season.  You're going to find a lot of things on clearance/deeply discounted at the end of the season at these stores after December 25th (sometimes before).  This is also where your chosen color scheme will come into play.  Don't focus on only buying the "novelty" ornaments (like my cupcakes, cake slices, etc).  You can purchase plain glass bulb ornaments that are in your color scheme as filler!  

Same goes for your ribbon.  Buy at least 5 spools of big 2-3inch ribbon.  That's a hot tip if you're really ballin on a budget, as you can get it pretty cheap and it really fills the tree.  I usually will grab 1 colored patterned ribbon in my color scheme, 2 spools of plain color, and 2 spools of gold ribbon.  And your "plain" ribbon and gold ribbon don't necessarily have to be plain.  They can have subtle patterns, like gold polka dots on gold ribbon.  Make sure you have a tree skirt with a fitting pattern/color as well!  We didn't so my mom made a donut out of felt.  You don't have to get that crazy, though!  A simple color would be fine.

Step Four:  Decorate!
If your tree is not pre-lit, you'll have to start with the lights.  White lights are always a winner, but we threw on some pink this year in addition to our tree's pre-lit white.  But like, if I was doing a Candyland tree, I'd probably use the multi-colored light strands!  My color scheme would obviously be different though, that's why!

We like to put the tree topper on first, just to know where we can start hanging ornaments.  But that's up to you!

Next, ribbon that baby all up!  I start at the top and then tuck in loops all the way down.  Maybe I'll make a video of how I do this once we take our tree apart!  I would say that each strand of ribbon is about 10 feet long.  I will usually string 10-11 strands on one tree, pretty close together.  You can overlap them too like I did on the hunt, fish, camp tree!  Depending on the tree, you may have to use ornament hooks to keep some parts of the ribbon in place, especially if the tree is sparse in branches in certain areas.  

Next, I'll hang the "anchor" ornaments, which are the novelty ones like the cake, cupcakes, and cookies.  These are your specialty ornaments.  Focus the majority of those ornaments where they will be seen the most on the tree.  Once you've done that, hang up all your filler glass bulb ornaments in your chosen color scheme.

Throw on your tree skirt and surround it with gifts, you're finished!
Congrats, you were really on top of things this year, hey?!

Once you start doing this type of tree decorating, you'll probably end up with a lot of things to use in years to come.  I use a few of the same spools of ribbon every year, especially the metallics.  Same goes for the plain colored glass ornaments!

I hope I've inspired you to get started TODAY on your themed tree for next year!
If you have any questions about the specifics of any of my trees, feel free to ask!

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