DIY Home

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

December  1, 2016

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. 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.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I tuck them in my Christmas tree, use them as place card holders, in center pieces, on my wreaths, on the tablescape, on the open shelves and bookcases. My favorite are the round ones from the JapaneseCedar tree. There are tradition ones that I have had for 40 years(!) from my parents yard. Each year I put them in plastic zip bags to which I've added cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Seems they last forever!”
— BerryBaby
Comment

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:

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?

6 Comments

Lainie December 3, 2016
A nice alternative to single use tinsel is Victorian Tin Tinsel. I can be reused year after year and glitters nicely in the xmas lights.<br /><br />https://www.bronners.com/product/victorian-tin-icicles.do?sortby=ourPicks&refType=&from=fn&ecList=7&ecCategory=100485<br /><br />
 
BerryBaby December 1, 2016
Forgot to mention I have use these trees in the past and I have used the babies breath which you can recycle in your compost . I also buy the tiny tiny glass bead strings they work great and you can use them year after year after year I have some that I think you're 25 years old and I still look good . And of course baby pinecones !
 
BerryBaby December 1, 2016
Pine cones! I purposely planted trees and shrubs that produces pine cones. First, for the birds and squirrels, they eat the seeds out of the cones. Second, for decorating everything! I tuck them in my Christmas tree, use them as place card <br /> holders, in center pieces, on my wreaths, on the tablescape, on the open shelves and bookcases. My favorite are the round ones from the JapaneseCedar tree. There are tradition ones that I have had for 40 years(!) from my parents yard. Each year I put them in plastic zip bags to which I've added cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Seems they last forever!
 
Author Comment
Amanda S. December 1, 2016
We are also pine cone-obsessed. You should see our office right now, getting all dressed up for the holiday pop-up—there are pine cones in all kinds of nooks and crannies!
 
ktr December 1, 2016
We convinced our kids and the neighbor kids it was a fun game to pick up pine cones this summer and toss them into the woods. I guess I should have saved a few!
 
Julia December 1, 2016
I LOVE tinsel! But now (sadly) refuse to use it because of the environmental impact. Instead of encouraging the use of it, an alternative would be a better article. Thank you.