New house, new high 18 foot ceilings…new 12 ft Christmas tree!
My first Christmas I was married I was so excited to get my own Christmas tree and make my home super festive. I have always been crazy about Christmas decorations inside the home because I think it makes a HUGE difference in the feel. I love the magic feeling of twinkling lights…
Anyway, I bought a fake 7 foot tree that was one of those ones you had to put each individual branch on and then string all the lights after. And we put that tree up every year for eight years. And every year it was the biggest pain in the butt. The tree scratched me up like crazy and it took at least two hours to do all that basic stuff, not including the actual decorating!
So like I said, new house–new tree! And we wanted a big one! (movie reference anyone?) And while I always had real trees growing up, my husband is allergic to them now. 🙁 So we had our hearts set on a 12 foot Christmas tree and shopped around a bit for one. I thought about waiting for Black Friday to see if I could get a great deal on one but I was too impatient and worried they would be all gone. Here are the places I looked:
12 Ft Christmas Tree Sources
- Costco: $600, realistic looking branches, extremely easy to put together, pre lit. Also comes with a light remote/pedal and can switch to colored or white lights.
- Hobby Lobby: Really pretty tree with a little extra pizzazz on the branches. $500
- Home Depot: Trees vary in price from $500-$1200 and obviously the more expensive ones have a lot more branches and lights and realism.
- Balsam Hill Online: Beautiful trees, but totally out of our price range. Cheapest ones are about $1200. I’m not sure if they have better sales around the holidays or not.
After thinking about it awhile, we decided we couldn’t go wrong with the Costco option. Costco usually carries pretty high quality things, we’d seen it in person, we loved the ease of putting it together, and Costco has an awesome return policy in case something broke. I’d much rather return it to a nearby store than trying to worry about shipping it back. We got one of the last ones!
We took it home and my husband set it up within a half hour! That was amazing. He was super proud of how fast it went up. We did need a Little Giant ladder though…this thing is super duper tall! Also once it was up, we could see quite a few gaps in the tree. A trick for this is to take cheap store garland and stuff it inside. It makes the tree look a lot fuller. Also it wasn’t painful to assemble because the new more realistic looking branches don’t scratch you up at all. And since it was pre lit, you don’t have to string lights AND the lights connect to each other by the center pole connection so no plugging into each other at all! It couldn’t be easier.
For decorations, I knew we’d need a lot to cover that big of a tree. I went to Tai Pan Trading first and got about 8 large ball ornaments in gold and red. I had no idea how many I would need, I was just winging it and that still set me back $60 just for those. Then I went to Hobby Lobby and bought tons of other kinds of ornaments…you have to vary sizes and shapes to get some real interest.
How to Decorate the Tree:
Filler and Garlands: To decorate a tree like this, you have to start with your filler and garlands first. I bought some tulle type fabric and shoved it in. I didn’t have quite enough but I didn’t want to go back to the store so for next year, I will probably buy either more of this one or a bunch of other kinds of fabric. One tip for this is to go to a discount home fabrics store and then buy a bunch of fabric and cut it into strips.
Secondly, get some cheap garland and shove it into the spots with gaps. I knew this tip before I got started but I thought maybe all the my ornaments would cover it. Nope. Don’t skip the the garland. You can also buy some extra little filler ‘floral’ pine boughs at craft stores that have more realistic looking branches to give your tree dimension.
Large Statement Ornaments: Next you need to put in all the big ornaments. The big balls. So I hung them evenly over the tree…and also probably could have done well with at least 4 more of these. So I recommend at least 12 large ball ornaments. But you can always get a few this year, a few next year.
Floral Arrangements: The next thing is my favorite kind of decoration. You will buy about three ‘florals’ and you can get these for a good price at Hobby Lobby. For this, I used a berry and pine branch, two or three sparkly gold berry branches, and a red poinsettia. I layered them together and used a ribbon to tie them together tightly. Then I simply shoved it into spots in the tree. I had about 10 of these but could have even used more or a different combination. I love the depth and dimension this gives the tree.
And Everything Else: The last thing was…well, everything else. This is where my kids got involved and had a blast. Seriously it was hours of fun for them and they didn’t hardly fight at all! Peace on earth. We had our giant ladder set up so they could go up and down the ladder and they got better and better at spacing things out. I had to change some things around later so it was a bit more even, but I’m actually really grateful they helped me. It would have taken me forever and a day to do all of it by myself. We used TONS of those shatter-proof balls, snowflakes, and little curly stick things. I also had some old ornaments and things from my old tree and bought a few new pretty ornaments.
Topper: For a topper, I used three different ribbons and layered them together to make one enormous bow which I placed on top and let some little curling tails hang down. Easy topper! You can also hang the ribbon just below a star or an angel if you want that on top.
Our new 12 Ft Christmas Tree turned out pretty well, I think. Things I will do differently next year:
- Put in lots of filler garland first. I didn’t do this because I thought the ornaments would cover the gaps. But since the tree is next to a giant window, the light is a little tattle tell and shows all the gaps.
- Get a better fabric garland and lots of it.
- Buy a few more large statement ornaments and make a few more floral arrangements. This is something I have to do next year when we haven’t run out of Christmas tree money!
It’s expensive to move into a new house. More than you even realize. You realize you need new furniture, new window coverings, new yard AND what?! Also new Christmas everything! I still need to get some type of tree skirt or maybe just wrap the presents and stick them under. This tree also allows plenty of room for gifts! And we have a perfectly pretty Christmas house now.