How To Decorate & Style a Christmas Tree – According to A Sydney Stylist

Christmas, By Far My Most Favourite Time of Year!

The term Christmas can mean a lot of different things to different people. For me it’s not so much about the gifts but the feeling of togetherness!

Let’s rewind a bit! As a young girl, I’d watch in wonder while mum adorned our Christmas tree with her precious red glass apple baubles. Placing each one with care, ensuring all ornamnets were evenly spaced and perfectly positioned. Stepping back to assess her handiwork before adding yet another layer.

Felt like a grand masterpiece came to life with each year! And thus, my love for the festive season filled with tradition, family and its jolly decor was born.

Skip forward to owning my very own tree, gifted by dear mum, I began my own collection of unique, hand-crafted ornaments.

And as the family grew with two wonderful children, so did our tree. Creating our very own family ties and new traditions, along with carefully chosen ornaments, to represent our love for the festive season.

And every year since, the decorating of our home and tree continues to be the centrepiece of all the merry-making, and good cheer, transporting me to childhood memories filled with anticipation and excitement! For the lead-up to Christmas day, never seems to fade.

A heartwarming festive tradition, passed down to my children, now young adults

Before You Begin: 

Your tree can be as luxe as you want it to be.

Your investment in both your tree and its decorations, is totally up to you and the budget you set. As an exapmple, 25 years ago I made a decision to invest in glass ornaments crafted in Germany and Poland.

I set a budget allowing a $30-$50 spend per ornmant and limited it to 15 ornaments in that first year. Adding 2 ornaments per year until our tree felt complete. Temporay affordable ornamnets were used at the time as fillers that moved on to become outdoor tree decorations.

A working progress if you will.

**Stylist Tip: Nailing the fundamental steps is key to styling a Christmas tree, that’ll make the whole crew go ‘wow!’ 

Here’s how I like to prepare, build and decorate a stylish Christmas tree!

Step 1- Selecting Your Tree & Theme

*Select a tree that will suit your home. Christmas trees can be costly, invest in something that will go the distance. It’s important you select a tree that sits well in the room it will be displayed in. Oversized trees are nice but can look out of place when squeezed into a small tight area.

This one featured first to the left purchased from David Jones, is in its 25th year and has served us well.


Step 2-The Lights

  • Select the style and colour lights you prefer.
  • Always start at the bottom and work your way up.
  • Distribute the lights evenly.
  • The trick is to go up and down, Not around the tree.
  • Always work with the lights on, this will give you a sense of where the decoration should be later placed.
  • The more lights you add the more fabulous the tree (my tree with stars featured below left).



Step 3-The Decorations

  • Decorations will set the trend for the theme e.g. winter-white, silver, or traditional red and gold (choose carefully).
  • You should have at least 12 filler ornaments for every foot of the tree.
  • Pick solid colours, keeping with the theme chosen.
  • Choose at least 10 “special” ornaments for every couple of layers of the tree.
  • Select decorations that are both large and small.
  • Start at the bottom and work your way up.
  • Zig-zag larger baubles at the bottom and medium to small towards the top.
  • Fill in spaces with smaller ornaments.
  • Decorate as deep into the branches creating depth in your tree.
  • If you have young children or pets that want to play with the ornaments, set special ones higher up the tree.
  • Choose a tree topper to complement the theme and decorations (my favourite is a classic silver star).




  • Progressively take a step back from time to time, making sure all lights and ornaments are spaced evenly around the tree.


Stylist Tips:

  • Decorate the rest of your home with a similar theme. Christmas trimmings make all the difference to a living space.
  • If you’re splurging on hand-crafted ornaments, choose wisely! Doing so can help you save money and avoid heartache in the long run.
  • Safeguard your precious ornaments and decorations in sturdy boxes, and relish in the holly-jolly magic season after season!
  • Make it a family affair! Gather the troops and let the decorating magic unfold. ‘Tis the season to share the joy!


christams-table-decorations-style-culture  beautiful-christmas-tree-decorations

Where to source Christmas decorations and ornaments:


Sourcing ornaments is rather fun and so easy these days. Depending on your budget retailers like Ikea import fun, easy to set up trees and decorations.

Department stores like David Jones import hand-crafted European ornaments, the likes of Balsam Hill,  Villeroy & Boch and Waterford

Their magical Christmas kingdom is always a treat to visit and admire.

Last but certainly not least the creme de la creme of festive glass ornaments, and my personal collective favourites Christborn® made exclusively from mouth-blown glass and by hand in Dörfles-Esbach near Coburg in Germany, and Polish artisans @ IMPULS

♣ ♣ ♣

PS, bet you didn’t know I have been fortunate enough to shop for and style client’s homes and yachts over the years! Shopping for decor and festive ornaments is by far a season favourite!

Should you need a stylish helping hand to source keepsakes for your tree, simply fill out the form here select “Other” and I will be in touch with details.

First printed 24 November, 2017 – Updated with love December 2023

christmas-star-decorations  christmas-decoration-style-culture

With Love & Style Always!

Kerry  ♥ 


Kerry K Athanassiou | Style Culture Founder

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