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    Tips & Tricks: The Christmas Tree

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

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    With our living room tree completed, we're turning our attention to other decorations around the home. But I thought I'd take a little time to talk about the tree itself. I've had several questions about my pictures on Facebook and Instagram regarding how we decorated it, and there are a few tricks we use each year to make our artificial tree look its very best.

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    Tip: One of my first suggestions is to save your money on the small packs of basic ball/decorative ornaments and get them in bulk at places like Home Goods or TJ Maxx. We have two large cylindrical containers that we picked up at Home Goods three years ago for $20 each, and each one holds about 75 ball ornaments. Not only was it a good deal, but the colors they came in~gold, copper, silver, and white~are easily interchangable with every Christmas.Trick: Ornaments with reflective surfaces help your tree to glow even more warmly and almost act as a secondary light source.

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    Tip: Artificial or real, your tree may need a little filling in around certain areas. Go to your local craft store like Michael's and Joann's and grab a few of the large leaf or floral sprays. Whatever your taste may be: flocked with snow, glittery, simple pine, they have everything you could possibly need as a filler~and they're usually priced pretty well and on sale during the holidays. Be sure to bring your coupons or use your app for additional discounts.Trick: Cut the branches off of the large spray to make smaller, individual ones and stick them into the open spaces in your tree. The shimmery branches my mother was sticking into the tree came in a huge bundle from Michael's. Trying to make the most out of a limited amount, we trimmed them from the larger bunch. As you can tell, it really fills in the empty spaces and gives the tree a fuller look.

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    Tip: If you want to really make your tree pop and you don't mind spending a some money, invest in some beautiful ribbons. I don't mean the kind you wrap around gifts. I'm talking about wide, wire-edged bedazzled ribbons that come on the big spools. It isn't for everyone, so you can use deco mesh, which is easily found at craft stores. It's very inexpensive but gives you a similar look. But if you want a fancier touch and don't mind the investment (because if you're like us, you will use it year after year), then go to your local holiday or decor store and start shopping. Chances are most of you have one in your area. You have to hit them when the decorations are first put out, in August/September, or directly after the holidays for the best selection on ribbons and other decoartions, otherwise it will be slim pickings. For us, our store of choice is in Van Nuys. Aldik Floral is neither convenient or in the best area, but it has the most magnificient holiday decorations. Just be sure to purchase double what you think you need in regards to your ribbons/deco mesh. Because they need to go in an out of branches, you use a lot more than you anticipate.Trick: To keep your ribbons in prime shape and reusable, save the spool it was wrapped on for when you repack your Christmas decorations. It makes for easier re-packing and prevents damage.

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    These are tips and tricks anyone can use on any budget~both high and low end, but here is my biggest, and last, piece of advice: let everyone help out. My children, but especially my son, Jackson, get so excited when we begin dragging in the boxes containing our tree goodies. He can barely stand still. It's hilarious. Let them see what you have, let them decide where to put things (with a few gentle suggestions if you think it's needed). The best part of putting up your tree is doing it as a family. Much like Thanksgiving, Christmas is a season about lending a hand, being with your loved ones, and celebrations. And I can't think of a better way to usher in this holly jolly time than putting our tree together with those nearest and dearest.

    Happy December everyone! Do you have any tips or tricks you use when decorating?