Trimming the Tree With Style This Christmas

cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Happy Holidays to all.  By now we are well into the holiday decorating season and after decorating three trees, I thought I’d pass on to you some tips on tree trimming from a designer’s point of view.

To start, I use a pre-lit artificial tree. I prefer an artificial over a real one for many reasons. First, the ornaments stay safe and in place instead of rolling off fragile limbs thus eliminating breakage. Second, the tree never droops. But most of all, we are preserving nature by going with an artificial tree.

I purchased my most recent tree from Balsam Hill, but most places sell pre-lit trees. When choosing your tree, it is important to calculate the bottom diameter as well as the total height (don’t forget the tree topper in your overall height). The bigger the tree, the wider the base.  My ceiling height called for a taller tree, but I did not have the necessary floor space, so I opted for a slim or skinny tree, which is less wide at the bottom.

I also use outlet wireless remotes on my tree, eliminating the need to crawl under the tree to plug it in and out. Wireless plugs are also a great way to plug in all of your other holiday lights inside as well as outside.

A good tip is to label the remotes to the plugs so you are not searching around for the correct remote every time you want to turn it on and off. When I pack up the tree after the holidays, I put all of the plugs, remotes and extension cords in the same storage container.

The first ornament I hang on my pre-lit tree are simple glass balls. I usually use about 6-8 dozen of three similar colors (my tree tends to fall in the bronze, cream and gold hues). The balls serve as a good source of shimmer and color, as well as filler at an affordable price. These can be plain or glittered and any shape or size.  A good tip is to hang the smaller balls near the top of the tree — and don’t forget to hang them inside as well. Standing back from the tree occasionally will help you to determine where you need the balls placed.

Next, I unpack all other ornaments and sort them out on big towels on my table. This way I am able to pick and choose as I go along. It is always fun to unwrap each ornament and remember where you purchased it or who gave it to you. I pick a few and put them in a basket to climb the ladder to hang. This helps save your legs. Trust me, you will thank yourself the next morning.

Don’t forget to hide the pickle ornament. According to tradition, the pickle is the last ornament to hang on the tree. The first child to find it in the morning gets an extra gift from Santa. Actually, there are two stories about the origin of the pickle ornament.  It’s worth a Google.

For the finishing touches, I add feathers and plumes as well as artificial fruit, magnolia blossoms, and glittery stars. Bows are also a good and inexpensive addition to your tree as well. I am always looking for new and different pieces for my trees. The possibilities are endless. Be creative and have fun!

If you would like more tree trimming or design tips feel free to email me at [email protected].

Recent Stories

The nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has proposed two 20-story affordable housing buildings in Dominion Square West, seen from the northeast (via KGD Architecture/Fairfax County) Fairfax County and several…

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Developer Foulger-Pratt‘s unsolicited proposal to redevelop Bowman Towne Court in Reston has been scrapped, Fairfax County announced today. In a termination letter, the developer cited “significantly…

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better. In times of stress, a positive attitude can help you…

Nova Wild — formerly known as Roer’s Zoofari and, before that, Reston Zoo — will partially reopen this weekend with a new self-drive safari. Customers will get the chance to…

The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.


Subscribe to our mailing list