In this post: Everyone has their own approach to Christmas tree decorating. Why not showcase your personal style and passions in your holiday decor?⇒
I have a thing for teacups.
I’m not sure where this passion came from, but it’s been with me for a long time. Certainly it goes back to the early days of our marriage.
No doubt it arose from my taste for antiques and perhaps the realization that teacups were one of the most affordable things you could find in an antique shop.
You could spend a few hours perusing the stalls of an antique market and find a couple of little treasures that packed a whole lot of gorgeousness into a tiny little package.
Hence my collection was born.
I also recall having this budding collection but nowhere to put the teacups, as I didn’t yet have a fully furnished home. An early solution was my teacup chandelier, but as the collection grew I found ever more unique ways to display my teacups.
Until finally one day they wound up on my tree…
Christmas Tree Decorating
Now, truth be told, when it comes to decorating trees, I have tended to take the easy way out. For one thing, I think a bare understated tree can be quite pretty on its own. I enjoy the look of sporadic baubles placed at intervals where they can be well appreciated. A few ornaments, some twinkling lights and call it good.
But lately I’ve been thinking about dressing a tree up in the full regalia. Perhaps it’s the challenge that’s been calling out to me, or maybe I’ve just been romanced by the trees I see online, but I wanted a tree that fully expressed my personal style and taste.
I decided to take up the challenge.
In an effort to start slow, I selected a lush but petite tabletop tree. You can see the 4′ tree in its bare state above. It comes pre-lit and equipped with red berries. I chose a corner of the living room with a well-sized square end table, placed a rustic wood tree collar on it and placed my little tree inside.
Then I stepped back to assess what was needed.
Pro Tip: Taking photos at this stage is a great way to see where the holes are in your tree and to evaluate which areas will need the most work.
Certainly everyone has their own strategy when it comes to decorating a tree, but I’ll outline the steps I took to achieve both a full plush look and one that expresses my unique style.
For the first step I used picks to add density to the tree. I wanted to stay pretty simple in my color feeling since I knew I’d be leading up to the teacups which would bring in color, so I opted for picks with white faux snowberries.
I started tucking in the picks where the holes were most obvious, bending branches to accommodate them as I went along. I also wanted a very random pattern, so they would look more natural.
I must admit, from this point on, after each item was added I could have easily left the tree that way and felt I was done. That’s exactly how I felt when the picks were added and that’s likely how my trees have wound up very simple in the past.
But I moved onward this time, according to the plan.
Weave in Ribbon
Next up was the ribbon and I will freely admit, this is the area that has always intimidated me in the past, but I was determined to get it right.
When it came to selecting the ribbon, I put a good deal of time into figuring out what colors and patterns I wanted to use. For a small tree I figured two patterns was enough, and again, I knew I’d be using varying china patterns in the teacups, so I opted to stay with green and white ribbon. I picked a 2 1/2″ wide green gingham check and an off white ribbon with pretty green trees.
Next I needed to master the technique of adding ribbon to the tree and it was way easier than I expected. I used multiple cut pieces, roughly two feet in length, and started by ruffling up the wired ribbon in a few spots and tucking in the ends. I found they tended to curl in the right way by themselves, so I just folded in both ends and added all the pieces randomly.
I was paying attention to filling up holes, while creating a pleasing pattern with the ribbon. I did one pattern at a time and got comfortable pretty quickly.
Much like the picks, when the ribbon was done, I could easily have stopped there. I actually had to push myself to keep going because I thought it already looked quite lovely. But on I pressed.
Wire Teacups to the Tree
I think everything you add to your tree is expressing your taste, from the tree itself to the ribbon and other elements you select. But here was the most telling aspect of my personality. Deciding on teacups shows a clear preference for vintage, feminine and French style and that’s what I most wanted to convey.
So I rounded up my favorite pieces in varying shades of pink, gold and white and wired the handles to the branches. If the design on the cup was more interesting on the inside, I faced the cup outward, making sure to assort the shapes and colors in an irregular fashion.
And again, I could have stopped here.
Add Some Ornaments
To finish things off, I decided to use some traditional ornaments, giving the tree a bit of holiday glimmer. I chose mercury glass ornaments for their vintage look, as I felt that worked best with the antique teacups. I kept it simple and only filled in sparingly.
Top with a Crown
A little tree like this doesn’t really need much of a topper, but I thought it would be fun to add a small gilded crown which offers the same French aesthetic as my vintage teacups.
I just plopped it over the top branch and let it fall askew.
And there you have the finished tree. It’s a sweet little representation of my personal taste, pays homage to my favorite decor elements and works well with my modern French room decor. It’s a bit unique to my style, which is always the aim of personalizing your home.
So how about you? Do you put personal items that express your passions on your tree? Whether you have ornaments collected on past journeys or ones hand made by children throughout the years, with attention paid to whimsical styling, your tree can express what’s uniquely you.
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
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