Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Tree -- Decorating 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.  I have strung my ribbon both horizontally, like a spiral as well as vertically, like a waterfall:

(Yes, that is a peacock topper, but we'll discuss those in another post.)

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 with you that I decorate with ribbon just after I light the tree but there are many advocates of adding the ribbon last.  I'm not here to say they are wrong, it's just not how I do it.   Regardless of at what point in the process you do it, the key to hanging good ribbon garland is that the ribbon should be wired. 

So here is a quick list of "how to" hang your ribbon on your tree, regardless of whether you're taking it vertically or horizontally:

  • Consider ribbon size -- larger trees get wider ribbon, smaller trees get narrower ribbon.  
  • Confirm the color 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.
    • Bright red or burgundy?  Plaid or plain?  Silver or gold?  Velvet or organza?
  • You'll need to purchase more than you think necessary and I have not come up with a magic formula as to how much you'll need.  It may be inconvenient, but purchase extra spools knowing that you can either take it back or use it to wrap your gifts with.  
    1. If you're taking the garland 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.
    2. If you are taking the garland horizontal, 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.
  • 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 & can always mask the imperfections with bows & bulbs.  

Most importantly: have fun!!!

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