Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Ribbon

Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Ribbon

I love decorating my Christmas tree with ribbon rather than garland; in my humble opinion, it is dressier and more elegant than garland.
Another benefit? You can choose the ribbon to match your Christmas decoration theme! Bright red or burgundy?  Plaid or plain?  Silver or gold?  Velvet or organza?

Choose a color that will match the decorations you already have or are purchasing.  There are many many (many) options and you want to keep the decor of the tree consistent throughout itself as well as the rest of the ribbon you may have in the house.  It doesn’t have to be “matchy matchy” but it does need to be similar in style.

Hang your ribbon vertically for a waterfall effect

I have strung my ribbon both horizontally, like a spiral as well as vertically, like a waterfall flowing down the Christmas tree:
(Yes, that is a peacock topper, but we’ll discuss those in another post.)
 

Should ribbon come before or after lights & ornaments?

There are varying opinions as to whether you ribbon the tree at the beginning or the end of the process of decorating, so I’ll share my best practice with you: I decorate with ribbon just after I light the tree.
Some people swear that you should add the ribbon last;   I’m not here to say they are wrong, it’s just not how I do it.
Here are some things to consider when you hang your ribbon on your tree, regardless of whether you’re taking it vertically or horizontally:

What kind of ribbon should you use on a Christmas tree?

Have a small tree? Go for a thinner ribbon so it doesn’t overwhelm the tree. (Think of Charlie Brown’s tree — too much ribbon will make it sag in all the wrong places.)

Prefer a giant tree? Skinny ribbon will look wimpy — go for a wider ribbon to work with the scale of the tree.

Whatever the width, the key to hanging good ribbon garland is that the ribbon should be wired so that it holds it shape.

How much do you need?

You’ll need to purchase more than you think necessary! Sadly, there’s no magic formula to know the exact linear footage you’ll need … but here are some general tips on how much to buy:

  1. If you’re running the ribbon vertical, you’ll need to account for at least 5 – 7 waterfalls of ribbon and you’re not just going to let them hang, you need excess so you can wrap and twist and “pouf” the ribbon. (So probably the height of the tree x 10)
  2. If you are running the ribbon around the tree horizontally, remember the tree is fatter at the bottom than it is at the top and again, you’ll have to account for wrapping, twisting & “pouf-ing” the ribbon.

When in doubt, get extras. It may be inconvenient, but purchase extra spools knowing that you can either take it back or use it to wrap your gifts with.

How to actually hang the ribbon the your Christmas tree

Once you have decided on color, width and direction of the ribbon as garland, it’s time to start attaching it to the tree.

Don’t laugh but I put chairs all the way around my tree so I can walk around the tree adding the ribbon if I’m going horizontal.  (It’s easier than asking the hubs to stand there with the ribbon while I run around the tree!)  In either instance, I start at the top.

  1. Find an inconspicuous spot to start and wrap the end of the ribbon around a branch — just the tip of the ribbon, maybe an inch or two of a wrap that can be hidden by the topper.
  2. Swag the ribbon either horizontally or vertically, and consider giving it a gentle twist.
  3. Wrap it around a branch with alternating a small & large “pouf.”  You can also create a bow out of excess ribbon and put on the edge of the branch if you don’t like your “pouf.”
Remember that you are going to follow the ribbon with your decorations, so don’t get caught up in the perfection of your twists & poufs…you can always mask the imperfections with bows & bulbs.
 
Most importantly: have fun!!!
 

As always, if you want some help with making your house feel smart, stylish & fun — hire a designer. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re based in Dallas but can provide virtual support anywhere.


Not sure which style to choose? Check out our new quiz, “What’s Your Design Style?” to help you find the interior design style that works for you.

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