Handmade Holiday Christmas Tree

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Inspired by handmade ornaments, colorful lights, and hand-strung popcorn garland, my family room Christmas tree celebrates the holiday season with personality and fun! 

christmas tree with colored lights in living room.
presents under a christmas tree in red colors.

A Handmade Holiday

‘Tis the season for trimming the tree. As you might know, I typically design and decorate two (sometimes three) new trees every year. Coming up with new and unique motifs is a joy for me. (Check out some of my trees from Christmases past HERE.) 

With a focus on a handmade holiday this year, I sharpened my scissors and heated up my glue gun to craft something meaningful and special for this tree (and my second tree AND…. the rest of my holiday decor too). 

This post isn’t full of links for you to buy a whole new set of Christmas tree decorations. In fact, the only product link I’m sharing is to my actual Christmas tree which you can find HERE. This is one of my favorite artificial Christmas trees and I always get lots of questions about it.

This year I opted to use only ornaments that I already had and ornaments that I made with my own two hands.  While I have many great tree designs from Christmases past, I’m loving this one for it’s meaningful homemade touches.

close up of hot cocoa christmas tree ornament and popcorn garland.

The Same But Different

This phrase has come up a lot in my head the past several months as I planned for and implemented my Christmas decor. Recently, as I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, I’ve wanted to embrace the decor that I have (instead of going out and spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a new decor) AND take time to focus on handmade. I’m happy to report that I’ve been doing just that and it has made all the difference. 

So, if you’ve been here before, this tree may look the same, but… it’s also a bit different. 

decorated foyer with christmas tree in the background.
popcorn garland strung on a decorated christmas tree.

This tree is unique from all of my other trees because it incorporates several handmade elements and uses those big vintage-inspired colored lights.

Yes. Yes. I know I’m way off in regards to all the trendy Christmas tree decor, but I honestly couldn’t be happier with the way this design came together. It’s a one-of-a-kind reflection of me and it’s my intentions coming to life. I stuck to my plan and made it happen! 

I’m going to show you more of my Christmas tree and walk you through some of my tips and ideas for making a tree uniquely you. 

Let’s get into it. 

close up of decorated Christmas tree.
decorated christmas tree with popcorn garland and red ornaments.

Christmas Tree Decoration Tips:

1. Start with Ribbon

If you’re new here, I want to mention that I always like to start my tree decorating with ribbon. You may have never done this before, but I highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful way to tie the tree together, it adds movement, and fills in the gaps.

If you’re curious about my method, you can check out this post HERE that discusses my tips and tricks for adding ribbon to a tree. This is a ribbon I’ve had in my collection for at least 8+ years. I can hardly believe that it finally got put on a tree! 

2. Pick a Color Scheme

I always like to start with some sort of theme. Typically color leads my way, but sometimes the theme will be inspired by a dress Adele wore or feelings of nostalgia. Since moving to this home, I’ve always done a red theme in this room (maybe someday I’ll break from this pattern), so I went with the red theme again but with a twist. 

christmas tree with colored lights in living room.
christmas tree with colored lights and ornaments.

3. Sprinkle in Your Personality

With anything I do or decorate, I always like to do things a bit differently and/or with an element of unexpectedness. (There’s way too much of the same thing everywhere these days.) While I’m typically a white lights person, I threw caution to the wind and opted for big vintage-inspired colored lights

As you may have noticed from my photos, the best part about this decision is that I actually have lighting options since I used a pre-lit tree and added colored lights to it. Now I have the option to do white, colored, or both. I find myself using the colored lights the most, but having both on is pretty spectacular too! 

christmas tree with red decorations and popcorn garland.
christmas tree with colored lights in living room.

In fact, I loved the colored lights so much that I even added them to my mantel garland to bring it all together. (My mantel is decorated similarly to how I did it last year with my collection of vintage Putz houses. You can see more of it HERE.) 

I also incorporated some of my favorite glass ornaments which include mini thermoses and red trucks. They make me smile.

glas red truck ornament.

4. Add Something Handmade 

As I mentioned above, I knew going into this tree design that I wanted my handmade elements to shine. I tend to like a heavily decorated tree, but I pulled back this year (though to some I’m sure this is still heavily decorated) to give a little space for the things that I made. I’ve found such joy in slowing down and making things this year that I really wanted those handmade elements to take center stage. Here’s what I made: 

diy clay christmas tree ornament on a tree.
  1. DIY Clay Cookie Cutter Ornaments – These were SO easy to make and really fun too. The results look so professional. I used oven bake clay in white. You could use any color that you like or even paint the ornaments! 

Find the tutorial HERE.

close up of embroidery hoop ornaments.
  1. Handmade Embroidery Hoop Ornaments I wanted this project to be budget-friendly, so I used old plaid shirts that no longer wear and a couple of thrifted finds to craft these fun embroidery hoop ornaments. They may be my favorite. You can make these extra special by making them with old baby clothes or something that belonged to a family member that has passed away. 

Find the tutorial HERE. 

popcorn garland hung on christmas tree.
  1. Hand-Strung Popcorn Garland – I had the idea to make a popcorn garland but almost didn’t do it because I thought it would be too difficult and tedious. Boy, was I wrong! This project was really easy and didn’t take nearly as long as I expected. Plus, it gave me an excuse to slow down and sit and watch a movie. 

In fact, I loved the results so much that I strung even more popcorn to use on my staircase banister garland. Highly recommend. 

Find the tutorial HERE. 

decorated foyer with christmas tree in the background.

Put all of those elements together and you have my Handmade Holiday Christmas Tree! 

I hope you love it as much as I do! 

christmas tree with colored lights in living room.
christmas presents under a christmas tree.

Time to Trim The Tree

And that’s a wrap on one of my Christmas trees. (I’ll be sharing the second one soon. I’m just finishing up a few details. Stay tuned.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas to try with your tree decorating OR the inspiration to break the “rules” and create a Christmas tree in your own unique way

As far as I’m concerned there’s no such thing as an ugly Christmas tree. I love them all. 

If you need a little more inspiration, I’ve got it! Check out this post HERE for 26+ of my unique Christmas designs that I’ve created over the past 12 years. 

Merry Christmas! 

christmas tree with red decorations and popcorn garland.
large pinecone in christmas tree.

Want more Christmas decorating ideas?

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  1. Michael,

    I can’t get enough of this years tree!! It is simply breathtaking! Are you going to have a class on how to build the tree? I would love it if you did. I would love to know how you start and finish your trees from top to bottom, side to side, round and round or however you do this…it is simply Devine! I think I can say for one, I’m not putting enough decorations on my trees. This year I didn’t add a garland but added more ornaments and it definitely looks better but yours are just magical and that’s what I’m looking for.
    You are a top of the line designer in my book! I love everything you’ve done so far. Even your art is fantastic! I would love to know when your birthday is? I follow the zodiac signs just to see who falls in to what category. Again such a beautiful soul you are! No, I don’t comment much but it takes me a while to know who the real artists are!

  2. This is my favorite tree that you have created yet. Our holidays are always heavily steeped with traditions which I wish more folks would embrace. I do not see a need to keep buying new items every year with new themes. Part of the joy of Christmas is reflecting back on years spent with loved ones. I enjoy bringing out those precious ornaments year after year and the memories that go along with them. Keep doing you my friend.

  3. You are a true original designer! I love both trees and all of your decorations throughout. It is so nice to see vintage decor because it takes me back to some of the happiest holidays I enjoyed as a child. Have a very Merry Christmas and safe and Happy New Year!!

  4. Michael truly beautiful – it’s the simplicity, fullness of the tree, the homemade aspect, and I can never get enough of RED! I’m awed by your decorating talents as you are truly blessed! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you/your family!!

  5. Absolutely beautiful. I love seeing what you come up with each year. Like you, I have every color there is and do a different theme every year. And I always make something to make it my own. I have gotten a few of my color combos from you. I vowed this year to not buy a thing. The only thing that I knew I wanted to do was to use colored lights on the mantle and do the gradient rainbow tree that you did several years ago. After I put up my flocked pre-lit (white lights) Christmas Tree ~ I decided that I loved the tree plain. So, I left it that way. I strung together all different colored balls to make a garland (have you looked at the price of those :o) and then laid colored lights underneath it. I made a second one for my buffet, and made a wreath to match. They turned out so cute. Everyone asked how I did it. Oh, I also had three friends that wanted “new to them” Christmas items so I gave away 7 tubs of things. 🙂

  6. I get how you feel the pressure to outdo yourself year after year, but you always do! It’s fun to see this tree in my IG feed–it really stands out. Throwback with a modern twist–just love it…