Christmas decorating hacks to bookmark every year

It’s December, which means it’s officially time to deck the halls and start your Christmas decorating – if you haven’t already, that is. Trouble is, it’s not always as easy as it looks to get an Insta-worthy festive home. In fact, recent research from YouGov found that over a fifth of Brits (21%) find putting up decorations stressful.

A further poll by Tesco lists many of the aspects of festive decorating as some of the hardest things to master at Christmas. Untangling fairy lights appears in the top 10, while decorating a tree tastefully and keeping it alive also feature highly in the list of festive stressors.

Thankfully, however, there are some simple shortcuts to creating sparkly, stress-free Christmas décor you can turn to every year.

Let there be (extra) light

Nothing says Christmas more than the magical twinkle of fairy lights, but why stop at adorning the branches?

“Wrapping a set of string lights around the trunk of your Christmas tree is the ultimate hack for achieving optimum brightness,” explains Marlena Kaminska, designer at ValueLights.

“Instead of just resting your lights on the tips of the branches, begin by working your way up the trunk, all the way from the base right to the top. Doubling up on your lights in this way adds depth and a fullness to the glow of your Christmas tree, giving it an impressive, professional look.”

Hanging the perfect number of baubles

Handmade baubles add style and texture to your Christmas tree
Image credit: Resident Artisan / Caroline Martin

Too many and you run the risk of overkill, too few and it could look sparse. It turns out there’s a formula behind the correct number of baubles to use.

The first attempts to introduce some sparkly science into tree-decorating proceedings dates back to 2015, when a group of maths students at the University of Sheffield proposed a calculation for the ideal amount of baubles and tinsel depending on the tree’s height.

According to the formula, a 152cm (five foot) Christmas tree would need 31 baubles, around 776cm of tinsel and 478cm of lights, with a 15cm star or angel to top it off. That’s about 6.2 baubles per foot of Christmas tree (30.4 cm).

M&S home experts have their own theories about the number of decorations needed for the perfectly adorned Christmas tree.

But first it’s important we know the three different type of decoration: fillers for a beautiful base layer, statement to theme your tree, and collectables for the final flourish and to add personality.

When it comes to how many of each your tree needs, the experts have divided it into tree size:

  • For a five-foot tree they recommend dressing with 20 filler Christmas baubles, 10 statement pieces and sprinkle on a few collectable ornaments for an individual touch.
  • A six-foot tree will require 40 filler baubles as a base layer, 18 statement pieces and eight collectable ornaments for added wow factor.
  • For a six-foot slim tree, the experts at M&S recommend decorating with at least 20 filler baubles, 12 statement pieces and six collectables.
  • The magic number of Christmas decorations for a seven-foot tree is a minimum of 75 baubles, consisting of 40 filler baubles with a mixture of statement and collectable decorations.
  • Finally, for an eight-foot tree, the ideal number of Christmas baubles is 60 filler baubles, and 40 statement and collectable pieces to transform the tree into a festive showstopper.

Having such clear numbers on how many baubles you need means you don’t buy too many, nor find yourself running to the shops with a half-decorated tree at home.

Try the tree spacing hack

As well as knowing how many to use, there’s also a totally bougie way to hang your baubles.

Nic Shacklock from says: “To avoid a cluttered tree, leave a gap between each branch every time you add a bauble. Place some beads or ribbon between spaces that may look sparse.”

The type of decorations used is also important, as a variety of bauble shapes and designs will help differentiate the style of your tree.

“Try teardrop ornaments mixed in with different size spheres to give the tree a more contemporary look,” Shacklock adds.

Hanging decorations on a Christmas tree
Image credit: Pexels/Karoline Grabows

You could also try some bauble bunching. TikTok user @marilyn.2685 has shown us that one decoration per branch is so last (festive) season. Instead, we should be threading three or four baubles on a pipe cleaner before placing them on a branch grouped together.

Her video below reveals just how pleasing on the eye bunched-up baubles can be.

@mmarilyn__224 🎄🎄🎄 #fyp #micasa #cheaptok #homedecortiktok #christmasdecorations #homedecordiy #christmasdiy #ornamentclusters #christmashomedecor ♬ Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

Make some DIY fake snow

While some parts of the country have been enjoying some festive flurries, if the weather is more wet than white you could consider making some snow of your own.

“You can make fake snow yourself by mixing baking soda with shaving cream until it’s the perfect consistency,” suggests Jamie Robinson, installation manager at Value Doors.

“The snow can be applied around the exterior of the house as well as certain areas inside the home. Maybe add a light dusting around the mantlepiece or put some on the Christmas tree to make it feel more magical.”

Water your tree with lemonade to keep it fresh

If your real Christmas tree often looks a little sorry for itself as the big day approaches, it may be time to switch up your watering habits.

“Cut plants like real Christmas trees are separated from their roots and no longer make food for themselves,” explains gardening expert Evie Lane at Primrose.

“To last longer, they need sugar for food and plenty of hydration. One can of a citrus fizzy drink is loaded with citric acid and enough sugar to keep the tree fresh.”

The best time to add a lemonade mix to your tree stand is in the last stretch before New Year, when your tree has started to droop.

“Doing so before then could clog the pores in the tree and cause a growth in bacteria,” Lane adds.

Real Christmas tree
Image credit: Ikea

Try the viral hanging garland hack

Nothing says Christmas like a festive garland, but knowing the best way to attach them to walls can be tricky. However, one Christmas garland-hanging hack has been taking over TikTok and Instagram in recent weeks.

The game-changing trick involves hanging festive foliage from a tension shower curtain rod suspended between arches, doorways and windows kitchen cabinets. The end result looks impressive and leaves no damage to walls.

To try the hack, first secure the curtain rod at eye level. Arrange and wrap greenery around the rod, then poke in decorative finishing touches like twinkling lights, ornaments or this season’s must-have ribbons.

When your garland is ready, raise the tension rod into place and tighten it as much as possible.

If that sounds a little tricky, you could try adhesive strips to hang your festive garland.

“Rather than resorting to nails or screws, utilise adhesive hooks and strips to hang your decorations,” says Oznur Ozdemir, stylist and director of Mediterranean Occasions.

“These versatile alternatives allow you to securely hang wreaths, garlands and stockings, all without leaving a single mark. Ensure you clean the surfaces thoroughly before application for best results.”

For larger and heavier items, Command Hooks are an equally reliable solution.

“These damage-free hooks can be attached to walls, doors or even the stair banisters, providing a sturdy base to hang elaborate decorations such as lighted garlands, ornaments or even miniature Christmas trees,” Ozdemir adds.

amara frosted pine wreath and garland on christmas front door -
Image credit: Good Homes

Try some temporary wallpaper

Give your walls a glamorous touch by using temporary wallpaper.

“Available in a variety of festive designs, it can be easily applied and removed without any damage,” suggests Ozdemir.

“Simply peel and stick to create a stunning backdrop for your festive displays.”

Etsy has some great options.