If you know me, you know I love Christmas trees. I credit it (or blame it) on a childhood, as my mom loved Christmas trees. I don't decorate for any other holiday! There was a big shift in how much I decorated a tree after she died. Every year, I added more decorations to the collection. I only had 1 tree each year in my old house, but when Steve and I moved in together in our Louisville home, I kicked it into overdrive. Before we purchased it, I exclaimed how many trees I could fit. Steve, who could care less, just stays out of my way… after he hauls all the decorations out of the basement. It's a great arrangement!
Last year, I added another tree to the collection. My formal living room had some animal print chairs, and I thought it would be so fun to have an animal print Christmas tree. Elegant, but playful. Is that a thing?!
It ended up being my favorite tree so far, and seemed to be everyone's favorite last year. I thought I'd share my “recipe” for this themed Christmas tree.
Animal Print Christmas Tree
- Christmas tree – I went with a 7.5 foot slightly flocked/glittered tree because I've never met glitter that I didn't like. But, any type of tree would work.
- Ribbon – On most trees, I opt for 2.5″ wired ribbon. I went with 2 different types of ribbon for variety. For this 7.5 foot full tree, I used 40 total yards of ribbon (including the topper) – 8, 5-yard rolls. If the place you're buying from has a good return policy, I suggest picking up at least 2 more rolls than you think you'll need. I've been caught without enough ribbon multiple times, only to go back to the store to find it is sold out.
- Animal print ornaments
- 2 packs of these Kurt Adler 100mm glittered ornaments
- 2 packs of these Kurt Adler glass 80mm ornaments
- About 12 various glass animal print ornaments from CB2. It appears they only have the cheetah print one this year. You can skip these and buy more of the 80mm Kurt Adler ones – they were similar in appearance.
- Matte black shatterproof ornaments – I got mine from AtHome, but Amazon has some also (though the Amazon prices look high to me right now)
- Crystal or acrylic drops – These aren't going to show up a lot in photos, but they look great in person, adding a little more light reflection on the tree. I picked them up over the years from various places, but I got some gorgeous glass ones last year from a local Louisville store, Red Tree Nulu. Amazon has some inexpensive acrylic options – look for chandelier crystals if you can't find what you're looking for – these are pretty.
- Picks – These aren't necessary, but if you wanted to add some floral picks, you can. I used some old feather picks that I already had to add some texture.
- Tree skirt or tree collar – I picked the brown faux fur one up from Target a couple of years ago. They have a similar gray one right now, but a lot of other cute options as well.
Steps to decorate the Animal Print Christmas tree:
Ignore the step numbers in the photos – I grabbed them from a quick Instagram Story last year!
1. Assemble and fluff tree. The fluffing can be tedious, but it's key to having a full-looking tree with minimal gaps. I fluff each section individually as it goes on, before adding the next piece. Then, at the end, I make sure all the pieces are blended together.
2. Make topper. Adding a ribbon topper before the ornaments is key so you don't knock anything off when you're working to affix and arrange it at the top of the tree. I don't have a bow tutorial, but this one is good. If you've never made a bow like this before, please don't get frustrated! It's a little awkward to handle the ribbon and keep everything tight. If you mess up, just start over. I probably started this particular bow over six times and got a hand cramp in the process.
3. Add ribbon. I prefer not to cut my ribbon if at all possible, so that I can easily add it back to the spool for storage and future use in a different application. I start at the top of the tree and work my way down, creating loops and small bows depending on my mood. The trick to getting the ribbon to stay in place without cutting it? Pipe cleaners (or chenille stems, as some call them.) Tuck the ribbon deep in the tree and secure it with a pipe cleaner.
4. Hang animal print ornaments, largest to smallest.
5. Hang shatterproof ornaments. My favorite way to do this is to put them together in clusters of 3. Simply string them on a pipe cleaner and twist together to create a cluster. This creates a little more interest and impact over a single ornament.
6. Hang crystal or acrylic drops if you want some more light reflection in the tree.
7. Add picks, if desired. I am usually really liberal with my use of floral stems and picks in trees, but this tree stood alone without them. I ended up adding a few feather picks that I had from an old tree and wasn't using.
8. Add tree skirt (after vacuuming.) I do this at the end so it doesn't get covered in flocking, glitter, or needles as I fuss with the tree. If you're using a tree collar in lieu of a skirt, put it on at the beginning of tree assembly.