Real-life ideas from Festival of Trees

After more than 10 years of decorating for the local Festival of Trees, I’m still shocked by how many decorations each tree requires. Businesses purchase many of the trees and place them in lobbies, so they’re decked out a la department-store trees. You can see below what I’m talking about in the tree my family decorated, which was sponsored by the Eastern Idaho Home Builders Association:

That’s a full tree. Most actual homeowners do not decorate this way for their own homes (and most of us don’t want to), but there are always new and interesting tree-trimming ideas at Festival, and I’m going to share a few of them here.

  1. The big trend this year? Farmhouse style. Big shocker, I know. Many trees sported buffalo-check ribbon, cotton bolls, antlers, distressed stars—you get the idea.


  1. For a brighter tree, string on some globe lights or C9s. This tree, decorated by my in-laws, featured globe lights that made it so much brighter than the trees next to it. I used globe lights on my own tree last year, and it looked much more “done.” If you want to save some cash, think ahead and buy your lights at end-of-Christmas sales or, like I did last year, scoop up a few boxes at the end of summer when all the patio décor gets marked down.


  1. Add a few non-traditional things. This might include old glass bottles, mirrors, and vintage postcards. I liked this medicine-themed tree with a monogrammed doctor’s bag hanging from a branch. And how cute are those skis as a tree topper in the photo below?

Decorating a tree for the local Festival of Trees is a family tradition, and it benefits a good cause too. Proceeds are donated to a local organization that provides meaningful employment to people with disabilities—that’s a great thing.

Hope you enjoy putting up your tree this year! I’m tackling mine today. What are your best tips for decorating a tree? •

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