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2 Tricks for a Snowy, Icicle-Laden Christmas Tree That Won't Melt

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Our Art Director Alexis, who can turn any space from bland to bountiful with just a few nudges from her hand, often cites her mom as a source of inspiration and taste. Last year, she showed up at the office with small, soft-bristled Norfolk Island Pine trees that many of us had never seen before; her mom had used them as Christmas trees when she was a kid, even though they're tropical plants.

"When I was little, I loved decorating the tree and picking out each ornament," Alexis recalls, but her mom made the aesthetic decisions. "When I got older, her trees were more designed and I was just her tree assistant, fulfilling all her tree visions." Lucky for us, those visions stuck with her. Here are two ways Alexis uses everyday accents—baby's breath and tinsel—to give a tree a surprisingly natural, fresh-from-the-North-Pole look.

Real (Fake) Snow

The Norfolk Island Pine, snowy with baby's breath.
The Norfolk Island Pine, snowy with baby's breath. Photo by Rocky Luten

Alexis’ mom used this tip “if our tree was looking a bit wan (like one year when we tried the fake route or if our tree was rivaling Charlie Brown’s)” and it gave our fake trees at last year's Holiday Market a natural look. (The only reason we couldn’t have real ones in our pop-up was because of this weird thing called “fire codes.”)

To get the look, tuck clusters of baby’s breath, often thought of as a cheap filler flower, into your Christmas tree to look like piled up snow on the branches. Vary the size of the clusters and space them out irregularly.

Real (Fake) Icicles

Photo by Rocky Luten

“I was brainwashed at an early age that tinsel was a no-no,” Alexis remembers, so she was fascinated when she first saw it used the right way.

Instead of tossing whole handfuls of tinsel on the tree, as Chevy Chase probably did in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," single out lone strands of tinsel and drape them, one at a time, over the branches. The process is indeed a little tedious, but the result is a subtle sparkle like frost.

And if a little bit of snow and ice isn't as decked-out as you'd like your tree to be, we've got ornaments aplenty—DIY's and to purchase in our Shop:

Dew Drop Wired LED Lights (Set of 2)

Dew Drop Wired LED Lights (Set of 2)

Laser-Cut Maple Scandinavian Ornaments

Laser-Cut Maple Scandinavian Ornaments

Hand-Forged Brass Ornaments

Hand-Forged Brass Ornaments

The Best Ways to String Garlands + 9 You Can Make from What's in the Pantry

The Best Ways to String Garlands + 9 You Can Make from Wh... by Carrie Brown

Glass Icicle Ornaments (Set of 4)

Glass Icicle Ornaments (Set of 4)

Holiday Decorating Starts Now! With DIY Snowflake Ornaments

Holiday Decorating Starts Now! With DIY Snowflake Ornaments by Amanda Sims


These tips originally ran within this DIY mini trees article last year, but we gave them a fresh stage for this holiday season.

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to decorate your holiday tree?

Tags: Home Hacks, Christmas