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Decorate your Christmas tree with a common theme
Connect lights and ornaments with ribbons
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A tree is decorated at the offices of Moore’s Wealth Management in downtown Gainesville. Several Christmas trees are decorated and displayed at businesses and centers across Hall County.

Christmas Tree Decor Inspirations

Challenged Child and Friends Festival of Trees

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Buisson Barn, 6354 J.F. Jay Road, Gainesville

How much: $85 per person

More info: 770-535-8372, ext. 109, www.challengedchild.org

Northeast Georgia History Center Family Day: Celebrating a Green Christmas

When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Northeast Georgia History Center, 322 Academy St., Gainesville

How much: Free

More info: 770-297-5900, www.negahc.org

Few things have the ability to bring out the inner child in even the most grinchy Scrooge like the Christmas tree.

Whether your tree is big or small, live or artificial, limitless holiday potential rests on those spiky branches.

Once you’ve finished unwrapping your collection of ornaments and untangling your lights, take a few lessons from local designers to make your holiday tree go from bright to dazzling.

Dee Reising, florist with Occasion’s in Gainesville, said the most important things to remember when decorating trees are color and light.

The first step to decorating the tree is hanging the lights. Create a sense of depth by weaving strings of light throughout the tree from the center to the outside.

“Then you hang shiny, glitter ornaments near lights, smaller shiny ornaments go more inside the tree nearer to the lights,” Reising said. “Your decor ornaments, the unusual, neat or different ones, you’ll want them to be on the outside of the tree.”

Reising said another unique, yet polished way to hang ornamental balls is in clusters of varying sizes. Hang a small-, medium- and large-sized bulb in complimentary colors next to each other throughout the tree.

If you’re more visually inclined, nearly 20 trees decorated with unique themes will be on display at the Buisson Barn in Gainesville for the annual Challenged Child and Friends Festival of Trees. The event is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Lauren Falter, interior designer with Classic Interiors in Gainesville, spent Wednesday afternoon at the barn decorating her tree with a “woodland dream” theme.

“All the decorations are organic to nature, meaning they’re grape vines, burlap, houndstooth vines mixed with vintage velvet reindeer,” Falter said.

Reising and Falter said the “woodsy look” is popular this year.

Falter said the natural look can be augmented by adding an extra “layer” to the tree by using different kinds of decorative picks with berries and feathers of ice.

To accomplish the natural aesthetic, designers suggest using burlap to make a tree skirt and weaving burlap ribbon throughout the tree.

Ribbon has been hugely popular in the past few years because of its ability to tie the theme together.

“If you have random ornaments that are all different colors, one way to tie them together is to get a ribbon that will tie the colors together,” Falter said. “If you’ve got bright, shiny ornaments that are all different colors, you could tie in different kinds of ribbon like one solid ribbon, one in bright plaid with a lot of colors. It would almost act as a fabric, pulling the colors of your ornaments together.

“A lot of people do like a large ribbon on top of the tree, but when they try to do the trailers from the big ribbon down the tree sometimes it looks awkward,” she continued. “Because you don’t want it to just lay on top of the tree. You want it to look like it’s intertwining throughout the tree. So one trick is to cut it into 14- or 16-inch strips and twist it going in and out of the tree so it looks like it’s one piece, but it’s not.”

For those whose decorating style follow the more hands-on, child-friendly approach, there are lots of ways to get children involved in the decorating process.

From 1-4 p.m. Sunday, the Northeast Georgia History Center will offer children a chance to make “green” ornaments for their trees with recycled materials during its monthly Family Day.

Julie Carson, education and volunteer coordinator with the Northeast Georgia History Center, said it’s amazing how cute children’s hand-made ornaments look on a tree.

Carson said one of her favorite trees at the center is the children’s tree, which is full of items created by children.

She encouraged families to attend the event and make their own ornaments.

“These are things they can keep for years to come,” Carson said.

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