We’re a month away from Christmas and if you have not yet decked your halls, do not worry. The department stores will soon start slashing prices on Christmas trees and decor, (since the incoming Lunar New Year is really close and falls on Jan 22, 2023).

The next three weeks might be the most wonderful time of the year to purchase your Christmas goodies. Start planning your Christmas home and decor theme, and go all out when the prices start dipping.

Real vs Artificial Christmas Tree

First up, you need to decide if you’re getting a real or artificial Christmas tree.

Prices for real Christmas trees range from $216 to $2,790 this year, while artificial Christmas trees range from $45 to $300.

PricesProsCons
Real Christmas Tree$216 – $2,790Smells fresh, ultimate feelsEco concerns, disposal, fire
Artificial Christmas Tree$45 – $300Foldable for storage, reusablePlasticky, sparse, no natural scent

A variety of artificial and live Christmas trees are still available at leading plant nurseries such as Far East Flora, Candy Floriculture, and Sing See Soon. You will find artificial Christmas trees aplenty in shopping malls, IKEA, and on Amazon.

Read Also: Where to buy real Christmas trees in Singapore?

Christmas Tree Home Decor Themes & Ideas 2022

If you are unsure of how you’d like to style your Christmas tree this year, look to the shopping malls and hotel lobbies for inspiration. There are trees for every taste – from traditional red and gold at the Fullerton Hotel to the sparkly rose gold Christmas trees at The Shoppes Marina Bay Sands and Ion Orchard.

Take lots of picture of your preferred Christmas tree style, including the baubles and details. Then, the fun begins as you go shopping in the crowds looking for Christmas decor and props that will match your Christmas tree theme.

Some of the most common Christmas home and decor themes include:

  • Classic Christmas Tree: Green tree, multi-coloured baubles, gold star on top, mismatched gift boxes
  • Red and Green: Lots of ribbons, plaids, tartan cushions, wooden dining table and stools
  • White Winter Wonderland: All white tree, snowflakes, white LED lights, doves, snowman
  • Rainbow Christmas Tree: Green tree, baubles sorted according to colours of a rainbow
  • Modern Cool Christmas Tree: Monochromatic black, white, silver baubles all over a tree
  • Hansel & Gretel Christmas Tree: Green tree, lots of candy canes, sweets, chocolates
  • Barren Christmas Tree: Minimalistic brown branches and twigs, sparse small stars, baubles
  • Luxury Gold Christmas Tree: Green or brown tree, gold baubles, gold foil pines, autumn leaves

How to go about decorating? Here are some Christmas tree set-up and decorating tips from the Christmas retail floors’ experts:

Start With A Christmas Tree Budget

Replicating these looks at home does not have to break the bank.

We got some advice from Ms Lilian Lim, store manager of Cold Storage Sime Darby. According to Ms Lim, beautifully decorating a Christmas tree for $100 might sound too good to be true, but it is possible with some creativity.

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree: Step by Step Guide (Photo Pexels Jonathan Borba)

Here’s her Christmas tree set-up checklist:

  1. Select a theme: “Pick one or two colours to focus on – red and gold, white and gold, or blue and white, for example, and select all the decorations within that colour scheme,” she says.
  2. Get cheap alternatives: LED lights, spiral a few metres of wide, sparkly ribbons around the tree instead. The ribbon acts as a frame for the baubles, which can fill the space between the rows.
  3. Set of baubles with different finishes: Maximise your budget by getting a diverse set of baubles – whether it be colour, glossy, matte, glittery, and sizes.
  4. Fill Christmas tree up: With handmade ribbon bows and cheap candy canes. Secure them to Christmas tree branches and tips with green ribbons.
  5. Get cheap Christmas crackers: Cracker box sets come in a variety of designs and colours of matt and shimmering paper, and are an excellent substitute for large ornaments.
  6. Let your tree shine: However, “if you have a live tree, there’s no need to cover every branch.”

Choose Timeless, Reusable Christmas Decor

According to Mr Aznur Abdullah, head of visual marketing at Metro department store, you should choose a style that will complement your home decor.

Consider colours, shapes, symbols, patterns and even a particular mood you want to bring to life and make it uniquely yours by adding ornaments of sentimental value that showcase your identity, your hobbies and the people in your life who are most dear to you.

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree: Step by Step Guide (Photo Pexels Marina Leonova)
  1. Go traditional: “A glamorous and classic theme is always well-received. Gold, red and silver tones are a timeless combination.”
  2. High quality artificial Christmas tree: Keep costs low over the years by buying a quality artificial tree that can be used year after year. A tree which has decorative elements included, such as LED lights, pine cones and berries attached on its boughs, means that you can spend less on Christmas decor.
  3. Plastic over glass ornaments: Plastic decor are cheaper and easier to store than glass ones. These plastic ornaments often come in affordable box sets with a mix of matt, reflective and sparkly textures.
  4. Metallic and glossy finishes are best: These will reflect the tree lights, making the tree look more festive, and teardrop-or oval-shaped baubles add visual excitement.
  5. Clip-on plastic poinsettias: Fills empty spaces on the Christmas tree with their large red flowers. Also gives a traditional touch with a modern twist.
  6. Fill empty spaces with ribbons: Choose wider ribbons. Wrap around the tree or tied them into ornate bows.
  7. Start decorating from main colours: When decorating the tree, start with your Christmas home theme’s primary colour baubles, from big to small. Then, fill the gaps with the baubles in your accent colours.
  8. Tree topper for a finishing touch: You can opt for a traditional angel or star, but Mr Aznur recommends using a wreath, clips or fillers as toppers too, such as branches of artificial red holly berry. “They are a great way to give the tree height and character.”

Choose Baubles & Christmas Tree Decor of Unusual Shapes

Ms Jill Jeremiah Ng, visual merchandising manager for Crate & Barrel Singapore, shares her design process and Christmas tree decoration tips:

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree: Step by Step Guide (Photo Pexels lisett-kruusimäe)
  1. Mix expensive with cheap decor: To keep your tree looking fancy but the budget low, mix your precious ornaments such as glitter drop glass ornament handmade by glass artisans in Poland, with mass-produced ornaments, such as glitter ornaments made in China.
  2. For monochromatic Christmas trees: If you’re using shades of white, champagne, silver and gold, it is important to vary the baubles and decor by shape, style and texture. “People have a tendency to choose all round baubles, but that can make a tree look flat. Having different shapes makes it less boring,” she says.
  3. Add visual variety: By mixing reflective ornaments with ones made of fabric. Consider opting for animal figurine ornaments, e.g. fabric handmade in India to add subtle textures to the tree.
  4. Even spacing: Decorate with one type of ornament at a time to ensure proper spacing.
  5. For a full Christmas tree: Tuck shimmering silver Christmas tree garlands in between the branches to provide depth and background to the ornaments, so that the tree does not look bare and unbalanced.
  6. Electric candles: Cap alternating branches with glass candle clips to illuminate your tree with a magical, unusual glow.

How to set up a Christmas Tree: Step by Step Beginner’s Guide

Step 1: Prepare the Christmas tree

If using an artificial tree, fluff up the branches so that their tips are fully opened.

If using a live tree, saw off the bottom centimetre of the tree leg, which has often dried out in transit. This means it is harder for the tree to absorb water. Then, place it in the tree stand.

Fill the tree stand with water and top up the water at least once a day.

Step 2: Start with the lights

Before you place the lights on the tree, plug them in and make sure they work. You do not want to finish decorating your tree only to realise that your lights will not switch on. You will have to take everything off and start from the beginning.

When you are wrapping the lights around the tree, you can start from the top or the bottom. Wrap them at a slight diagonal so that there is a gap between one row of lights and the next.

Push the lights into the branches so that there will be room for the other decorations. Leave the lights on as you decorate to see where the branches and gaps in decorations are.

Step 3: Ribbons, garlands, tinsel

Use ribbon or decorative garlands to add extra sparkle.

Unlike tinsel, they are reusable and easier to clean up. Wrap the garland or ribbon around the tree in the same way as the lights, but place them closer to the tip of the tree branches so that they are visible.

Step 4: Baubles

The biggest baubles go on first. Apply them to the branches in a zig-zag – up, down, up, down – pattern around the tree, leaving large gaps between them.

Fill the space in between the large baubles with the medium baubles, using the same zig-zag method, followed by the smaller and irregularly shaped ones.

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree: Step by Step Guide (Photo Pexels Brigitte Tohm)

Step 5: Ornaments

Hang your ornaments and decorations at different points on the branches – not all on the tips – to add depth and interest.

Step 6: Clips, bows, fillers

The final layer of decorative clips, bows or fillers goes into the gaps – use cable ties or green wire to secure them.

Don’t forget a Christmas tree stand cover (reuse a blanket and scrunch it up under the tree), gifts, and precious company!

Merry, joyous Christmas from the Home & Decor team to you!

This article first appeared on The Straits Times, edited by Home & Decor.