Call me crazy… but I put up my Christmas tree before Thanksgiving! There’s just so much excitement that builds around the tradition and I find it hard to wait any longer.

No matter how many times I do it, I never get sick of unpacking old ornaments, perfectly positioning our angel at the top, and finally lighting the tree when it’s ready.

Despite primarily sticking to tradition I love discovering new Christmas tree decor and ways to keep my tree in tip-top shape.

So last year when I was asked to join Hoda and Jenna on the TODAY Show to share some tree ideas, I immediately jumped on the opportunity!

Below, you can find some tips for picking the perfect tree, keeping it healthy, and decorating it to the dimes.

For Those With a Live Tree Christmas Tree Decor

Picking out a good tree goes beyond finding one with a nice shape. While the shape is important, here are a few more things to pay attention to!

Look At the Needles

Green is good! In other words, look for a healthy tree with the least amount of brown needles.

Some people like to run their hands through the branches to see if there’s fallout.

You can also raise it up slightly and drop the trunk on the ground to see if the tree shakes off a lot of needles.

Make Sure to Get a Fresh Cut

When a tree is sitting in a lot, all of that natural tree sap tends to move toward the trunk.

This means that sap coats the bottom of the tree—making it difficult for it to get the water it needs!

Ask the person working at the tree lot if they’ll cut a little off of the bottom before you head home. It will make a huge difference!

Proper Watering is Key

Most people just plop their Christmas tree in water and call it good. But there may actually be some strategy behind it.

If you’re not putting the tree up immediately, store it in a bucket of water in an unheated garage or outside against the house. It likes this sort of environment… just make sure it’s out of the sunlight!

When you finally bring it indoors, slice a little more off the trunk to get that fresh cut we talked about above. Filling your tree stand with tap water should work fine, but the stand should hold at least a gallon in volume.

A rule of thumb is that you should have approximately a quart of water per inch in diameter of the trunk. And check your water daily!

Watch the Fire!

If your tree is in the same room as your fireplace, it will start to dry out a lot quicker. Luckily, there’s a simple solution!

christmas tree decor jill's home

Whether you already have one sitting somewhere in your home or you need to buy one (they’re fairly inexpensive), placing a humidifier near your tree is a good idea.

It might sound like extra and unnecessary work, but it can truly make your tree last throughout the Christmas season!

All You Faux Tree Folks! Christmas Tree Decor

We’re fake tree people in our household and we’ve been doing it this way for years.

While the same one goes up in our living room every year, there are still a few steps I take to make it look fresh and new.

Grab your Gardening Gloves

No, you’re not doing any planting. But gardening gloves are helpful for fluffing your tree!

christmas tree decor today show
The fluffing makes such a difference!

When you take it out of the box or bring it out of the basement, it might look a little dreary. Fluffing up the needles section by section will add a ton of volume and dimension to it.

You can also do this with your bare hands, but I find that the gloves make the task a little more comfortable.

I like the Atlas garden gloves you can find HERE!

Use garland to fill the space

That cheap garland you can buy at the store can actually be put to good use!

If you have some bare spots on your tree where the branches don’t totally take up the space, adding this garland can make it look full. It’s a simple hack and no one will notice!

Change the Way You Put on Your Lights

It’s true. The way you’ve been putting on your lights might not be the best strategy.

Instead of wrapping them around the tree like a candy cane, put them on from top to bottom.

christmas tree decor
Putting on lights this way is easier and adds more dimension to my tree.

I know it sounds crazy… but it gives you better distribution throughout the tree and makes it look a little more natural.

Plus, if your tree is up against a corner or a wall, you won’t have to go through the hassle of trying to get around the back!

Best Christmas Tree Decor Ideas

Ahh… my favorite part! I enjoy the whole Christmas tree decor process and I love how it changes just a little bit every year.

Let’s start from the bottom.

Tackling the Base

Traditionally, people use a tree skirt to cover the “unsightly” tree stand. I mean, if we’re being honest it’s definitely not the prettiest part of the tree.

But this year, I discovered a few unique ideas that can take the place of a traditional tree skirt.

today show tree segment

The first idea is pretty new and super trendy. It’s called a tree collar and it’s designed to give your tree a modern twist. It also takes up minimal space!

I also like the idea of using a quilt or a cozy faux fur throw instead of a tree skirt. It’s a simple way to make your tree look put together.

Getting Crafty With Your Lights

Pre-lit trees are a huge timesaver. But they can also be a bit boring if you don’t have a lot of ornaments.

This year, try changing things up by adding a strand or two or larger bulbs, or a few strands of fairy lights. If you’re really feeling fancy, you can also add some twinkle lights for a tree that feels alive!

hoda jenna
Hoda and Jenna LOVED the mirror trick!

The last light trick I’m sharing with you is one I discovered this year.

Go to your local craft store and buy mini round mirrors (most stores should have them). Get a hot glue gun, and glue tiny hooks onto the back of them. When hung around your tree, the lights reflect off the mirrors to create an illusion of more lights!

Order of Operations Christmas Tree Decor

If you’re staring at a pile of Christmas tree decor and you don’t know where to start, I’m here to help.

There’s a method to the madness to get you to a perfectly decorated tree.

Using garland. Place that on first and go from there. You can also use a silky ribbon if you’re trying to go a more elegant route, or a wired ribbon to create a waterfall effect from the top of the tree to the bottom.

christmas tree decor ornaments

The ornaments (my favorite part) come next. I like to start with the biggest ones to cover up any leftover bare spots.

If you have those very large balls, make sure to only put them toward the bottom to avoid an unbalanced tree. And don’t be afraid to nestle them into the branches a bit!

Follow by adding your medium ornaments, small ornaments, icicle drops for texture, and any tinsel, clip-ons, or glitter.

Time to Decorate!

Doesn’t a decorated Christmas tree bring you so much joy? It sure brings me a lot!

While my trees at home are already decorated, I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for your own Christmas tree.

And if you’d like to check out the TODAY Show segment from last year, you can FIND IT HERE!

Thanks for watching and Happy Holidays!

From my holiday home to yours,


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