Big Ideas for Decorating a Small Christmas Tree

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Small Christmas trees are becoming more and more popular as people either downsize their homes or downsize their lifestyles.  Today, we’ll take a look at some big ideas for decorating a small Christmas tree.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

Christmas is coming, and I’m thinkin’ you just may have your tree! Have you decorated it yet? For years, my family made it a tradition to decorate the tree in the evening, with vintage Christmas music playing in the background (think Andy Williams and Elvis) and old-fashioned cookies and coffee to nibble on as we dressed our (often large) tree.

In the last few years, new traditions have been implemented, as my children are now grown and married and have children of their own.  Now, they have their own tree-decorating traditions, and for this I am thankful.


For the last two years, I’ve gotten to decorate my own tree… and I’ve LOVED doing it.  With a Hallmark movie playing in the background (one I’ve already seen, of course), and my coffee on the end table, I’ve taken much joy in dressing my Christmas tree.  However, the biggest change has been the size of my tree.

Living in a small home (or ‘tiny house’ as some call it), I’ve had to downsize my Christmas tree, and still make it special.  Let’s take a look at some big ideas for decorating a small Christmas tree. (I’ve put the tips in the order that I put them on the tree.)

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

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Lots of Lights

Whether your tree is big or small, to really make a Christmas tree twinkle, you need to use LOTS of lights.  Whether you choose colored lights, warm white or bright white lights, get enough of them to go inside the branches AND on the edge of the branches.  Better yet, purchase a tree that has been pre-lit. 😉

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

This year, my tree has warm white lights.  Next year, I’m going bright white!

Use WIRED Ribbon

Using wired ribbon adds an element of texture and beauty to a tree, whether you wrap it around or you like it streaming from the top to the bottom.  With a small tree (btw, mine is just about 4 feet high), use ribbon that is 1.5 inches wide and no more than two inches wide.  If you use anything smaller, it will look stringy.  Anything larger, and all you will see is ribbon!

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

I added linen ribbon to go along with my coastal style (I picked mine up at Michael’s on super sale).  To get this effect, cut the ribbon in 18-24 inch lengths, softly twist the ribbon, and then tuck the ribbon into the tree. Adjust as you like. 🙂 (Ignore the twinkle light wires… #photographylearningcurve)

Use a Variety of Ornaments

Whether you want to use all the same color, traditional colors, or go with a limited color palette (like I did with aquas, rose golds, and a bit of white), use ornaments of different sizes and shapes.  You can see here that I have ornaments that all coordinate, but have LOTS of variety!

Aqua “sea glass” with a shell charm.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

Cotton twine and rose gold ombre look.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with twine ombre ornament

A shatter-proof ornament with embossed design.  Totally affordable at Walmart! 😉

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with teal ornament and starfish in background

Extra sparkly rose gold ornament.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with sparkly ornament

Chinoiserie coral ornament with a twist… rose gold glitter.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coral sparkly ornament

I just realized… all of these ornaments are round,  but you can see in the larger photos of the tree, I have different shapes going on, as well.  However, these photos DO show all the different textures of the round ornaments. 😉

Take a look and see how YOU can make some of these ornaments HERE.

Add Elements from Nature

Adding touches of the outdoors may seem silly, since you are decorating a tree that came from ‘outside’.  But, with a tiny Christmas tree, these items carry a lot of pop!

A starfish adds texture and interest to a small coastal Christmas tree.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with starfish and ornament

As well as a sand dollar!

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with sand dollar

Rose gold glittered pine cones tucked inside the tree are a special surprise, too!

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with rose gold glitter pine cone

Stick in Picks

Sounds funny, right?  This is the first year I’ve used floral picks and they have added so much ‘extra’ to this tiny tree.  Whether you use berry picks, a different type of greenery, or even some flowers, adding these floral elements at the very end makes all the difference.

Just stick the picks in wherever you think there needs to be a filler or added interest.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

Snipping a rose gold berry pick in half makes it more budget-friendly, and still looks lovely! And, adding a few twigs of sparkly eucalyptus leaves gives this little Christmas tree some additional coastal vibe (I went back to Hobby Lobby to pick up some more, but they were sold out).

Use a Tree Topper that Fits-the-Bill

Whatever tree topper you decide to use (I always prefer a star or angel to remind me of the night that Jesus was born), be sure that the size is appropriate for a tiny Christmas tree.  If the topper is too small, it will look like all the rest of the ornaments, and get lost on the tree.  If it’s too big, it will overpower the tree.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with driftwood star tree topper

This driftwood star is actually a very large ornament I found at JoAnn’s.  When I saw it, I couldn’t resist! 😉

Get Creative with the Tree Skirt

And last, but not least, add a creative tree skirt as the finishing touch.  Wrap the bottom of your tiny tree with a throw blanket, lightweight rug, table runner, or even some fabric.  There are many different Christmas tree collars available now, too!  You could even use a large planter pot or olive bucket.

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

For a casual coastal look, use some sand-colored fabric draped around the bottom of a small tree (or any size tree!)

And light it up!

big ideas for decorating a small christmas tree with coastal ornaments and ribbon

Definitely going bright white next year!

Use these tips and tricks to decorate your small Christmas tree, and I’m sure you will swoon over your tiny tree, just like I do mine!

How big is your Christmas tree this year?  How do you decorate your tree to make it special?  Let me know in the comments.  They make my day!

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    1. First year using floral picks for me, and I LOVE IT! Adds another beautiful element of texture and depth. Thanks for coming by, Lauren! Hugs, sweet friend!

  1. I did a themed tree about three ft high…after years of children (we hv 9) and kid decorations n colored lights…I went to Pier One just to window shop n they had ornaments ranging from 3.99 to 6.99 buy one get one free…Love my tree…just have a bow on top that doesn’t quite fit so still looking…will be at the Yankee Candle Factory in Deerfield MA today…so hoping to find something there…love yr ideas

    1. Did you find a bow, Jean? Sounds like your tree is beautiful! Love me some Pier 1 Imports’ Christmas decor, and that is an amazing price! If you can’t find the right size of bow, take a look at this tutorial from Yvonne at Stonegable . You could probably make this one to easily fit your tree with some wired ribbon from Hobby Lobby! 😉

  2. Your tree is beautiful. I’m considering downsizing to a smaller tree for next year as my 6.5 foot tree is showing its wear and tear. It’s a difficult decision since I’ve always had large, full trees. I’m 76 years old and just the physicality of putting together, decorating and then taking down a somewhat large tree is becoming too much. You have given me hope that I can do it.

    1. Do it! I was really happy to be able to get my mom to downsize the tree a couple years ago… and it really isn’t difficult to make a small tree ‘stand-out’. 😉 Hope you have a wonderful week, Pat! Thanks for sharing. Hugs!

  3. That is just outright gorgeous Julie! We are discussing downsizing our tree next year, the real ones are becoming a hard chore the older we get! Love your ideas!

    1. Tell me about it… and even this tree took a bit of time! I do like leaving the lights on the tree, though. I put it in a big tree bag, and the lights just need some adjusting the next year when I take it out of the bag… Works GREAT! Love ya, Melan!

  4. Hi Julie! I love the contrast of large and small ornaments…it definitely gives your small tree big impact! And you’re rocking the coastal vibe with all of the shades of blue and the natural elements. Our tree is all about family, with ornaments from my childhood that my mother gave me and new ones that my daughter has made or that we received as gifts. (I also have a second “blog worthy” tree that I decorate myself!) Hope you have a very merry Christmas!

    1. Rebecca, thanks for commenting, and for the sweet words. It’s so neat that you have two trees, one traditional and another ‘blog-worthy’… hehe! Very special. Hugs and hearts!

  5. Love the variety of textures and natural elements, like sand dollars and star fish! All of your ornaments are so pretty, Julie, and it’s great that readers can make their own with your tutorials!

    1. Thanks, Crissy! I figure these ornaments can have lots of twists put on them, to make them personal! Hugs, dear friend!

    1. Thanks so much, Jane! Can you believe this large ‘ornament’ was $20???? It was on ‘sale’ for $10, so I figured for a tree topper, that was worth it! 😉 Thanks for dropping in! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Michelle… Yep, that topper is def a keeper! And, congrats again, Grandma (you need to tell me if you’ve decided on your grandma name!) Hugs!

    1. I have used ribbon on my trees the last two years. I don’t think I’ll be stopping any year soon. LOL! 😉 Love ya, dear heart!

  6. Julie, your tree is beautiful. I really love that blue ornament with the charm. So cute and the bit of coastal nature in their pure white offer so much beauty and texture. Lots of great tips. Pinning!

    1. Thank you for the sweet words, Patti. Yes, the ‘sea glass’ ornaments were very fun to make, and I love the texture, too. Have a blessed Christmas, friend!

  7. I don’t have a big house either Julie but I got a six-foot tree this year and really had fun decorating. You have lots of great tips here that I will definitely be using on next years tree. Merry Christmas it has been a blessing getting to know you this year!

    1. I feel the same way, Mary! It has been wonderful getting to know you this year… I can’t believe my blogiversary is next month! I’m actually thinking of getting a tall slender tree next year… I enjoy decorating a tree so much, and I think I’d like to have more area to decorate! Have a great Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Amber. 😉 Your busy season is almost done… will be able to take a breather? Merry Christmas, sweet friend!

  8. Your tree is beautiful, Julie! I agree with you about the lights – the more the merrier! I love your tip about leaving the lights on for storage too, that would save a HUGE amount of time. I, unfortunately, can’t do that since we have a real tree each year, but a girl can dream!

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