I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving, and are filled with holiday cheer. Seriously, it's the most wonderful time of the year! This girl loves Christmastime, how about you? I spent last week decorating my home and tree for the holidays, which has me on cloud 9. Yesterday, I shared a photo of my family's tree on Instagram, and received such nice compliments that I thought I should share here on the blog, along with a few tips for those of you who haven't started decorating your tree just yet.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, since childhood. I used to be so excited when my parents would take my brother and I out to the local Christmas tree lot to pick out a tree, and then we got to go home and decorate while singing Christmas carols. Those were such great memories, and now with having a family of my own, it's fun to create new memories and see the wonder of Christmas through my children's eyes.

For those wondering how to create a festive and "full" tree, here are my top tips to achieve the look:

1. Artificial Trees for the win

After I got my married almost 8 years ago, my husband told me in lieu of a real tree, that it was best for us to get a artificial tree from a local store, like Home Depot, and I think I almost passed out lol! How dare he try to change my childhood traditions? Well folks, he was right! After getting our first artificial tree, I was hooked! Although artificial trees don't have the smell of Christmas, there are several advantages to using them when decorating. First being, they are mess-free and easy to store after Christmas.

Artificial trees are a good investment over time. Real trees now of days start at $40+ and then are thrown away after Christmas. But decent artificial trees, depending on when you purchase and the size, you can get for $100 - $300 or more, and can last 6+ years if taken care of. When getting your artificial tree be sure to consider the height of your ceilings, and whether to get a narrow versus full tree depending on the size of the room the tree will go in. Also, getting a pre-lit tree is best, and be sure to make sure the tree looks somewhat full - nothing is worse than a bare looking tree.

2. Large, unique and variety of ornaments

A couple years ago, the day after Christmas, I took a friend's advice and decided I wanted to get ready for the next Christmas a whole year in advance. While some might think that's crazy, it's really smart because nice and large decorations can sometimes be expensive, but if you buy right after Christmas the savings are HUGE! So whether your tree is already decorated or not - no worries, just make sure to take this advice the day after Christmas this year. That year, I went to TJ Maxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls (great for unique ornaments and props) and Target (great for large and small plastic ornaments) and got 90% of the decorations I needed for the following year.

While I didn't go in the store with a theme in mind, because I just wanted to be inspired by what I saw, I would suggest going to the store with at least a color scheme in mind so that you make the best use of your time and money. I found 2 huge red, green, gold and silver ornaments and those became the inspiration that built the whole concept for the tree. They were unique, bright and made a big statement, so I wanted the rest of the tree to compliment that concept. I ended up getting a variety of ornaments and things I turned into ornaments (like a reindeer, sleigh and frosty the snowman), from big to small, in different shapes, but all within complimenting color families. Also remember, the more decorations the merrier so that your tree looks nice and full.

3. Have fun and take your time

The planner/designer in me loves a good design challenge, so tree decorating is naturally fun for me. My advice is to not get so caught up in making the tree perfect though, that you forget to have fun in the process. I turned on 97.1, since they are playing Christmas music all season, and had the Jackson 5 Christmas cd in rotation, too. The kids pretended to be little elves, and were great helpers - we had our assembly line rolling, as we decorated!

Also, be mindful to take your time, so that you don't get tired at the end and just throw stuff on the tree for the sake of just being done. I decorated my tree over 3 days - one day hubby simply set up the tree, the next day I decorated the front, and the final day I went to the store to get more ornaments and finished the sides and back of the tree. This process made it easier for me, and I was so happy with the end result.

I hope these tips are helpful! Share how you're enjoying the holiday season in the comments, and what you think about my non-traditional tree.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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