10 Steps to Decorate a Christmas Twig Tree [2023]

Let’s talk about how to decorate a Christmas twig tree.

If you’ve invested in a minimal, simple and stylish Christmas tree this year you might be wondering how to decorate a twig Christmas tree.

You’ve probably realised that you need a different approach to tree decorating so I want to share my experiences of the twig tree decorating ideas so you can make the most of this modern and contemporary Christmas tree.

A Christmas twig tree is definitely for those who love an alternative or more minimal look. I actually thought my family, and the children in particular would complain, but they love it, and in fact, when I suggested we might convert back to a snowy tree this year, they objected.

final-decorated-twig-tree

How to Decorate a Twig Christmas Tree: 10 Foolproof Steps

Decorating a twig tree for Christmas offers a minimalist and rustic appeal. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a charming and festive look:

  1. Choose a Twig Tree
  2. Christmas Decorations Colour Scheme
  3. Select Ornaments
  4. Christmas Tree Shape
  5. Choose Location
  6. Lights
  7. Ornaments Hanging Hack
  8. Homemade Ornaments
  9. Choose a Christmas Star
  10. Tree Skirt

Read More: The Ultimate Christmas Decorations List (with FREE Printable)

1. Choose Your Twig Tree

Before you begin decorating with your twig tree Christmas decorations you’re going to need to buy your Christmas twig tree – or Christmas stick tree as some like to call them. Alternatively you might want to make your won. 

Natural twig trees can be made from pieces of twigs, natural elements, some twine and a good, sturdy pot. 

If you prefer to purchase a tree to use year after year, and you’re in the UK check out my Christmas Twig Tree Buying Guide.

I bought my own white twig tree several years ago from John Lewis.

Bare branch or white Twig Christmas tree in a neutral living room,

Here’s their latest Twig Tree (available 2023) which is perfect. It has a natural look, that all important festive feel and makes a striking centrepiece in any room.

Christmas twig tree in a cosy living room setting
Christmas Twig Tree – John Lewis

When choosing your twig tree for Christmas, look for the following:

Height: As when choosing any Christmas tree, selecting the right height is of paramount importance. A twig tree tends to be shorter, but sizes vary. Measure your space and select an appropriate tree height.

Impact: Consider the width of the tree once fully assembled. If you’re using a twig Christmas tree in small spaces, ensure it’s a good fit.

Lights: Most twig trees these days are pre-lit. You’ll want to check the type of lighting – do they have warm white lights for example? Ensure you get the warmth of lighting you need for your decor scheme.

Multi-Use: Many Christmas twig trees can be used both indoors and outdoors, so if you think this might suit you in the longer-term, make sure you choose one with a multi-use setup. 

2. Decide on your Christmas Decorations Colour Scheme

tree-decorations

Keep the colour scheme simple and neutral. These trees don’t really lend themselves to a striking bejewelled theme so keep it very straight forward. I’ve opted for a white twig tree and metallic look with touches of black this year.

When you’re deciding on how to decorate a bare branch Christmas tree, my first choice is always to keep the colour scheme simple and neutral.

I’ve opted for a white twig tree with metallic look ornaments adding touches of black this year. 

In previous years I’ve added a lot of traditional Scandinavian red but decided to leave it out this year.

Scandinavian style is synonymous with simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, which often translates to neutral, muted tones combined with a touch of color. Here are three color palettes that would reflect this aesthetic for a Christmas twig tree:

  1. Neutral Elegance:
    • White & Cream: This gives a clean, snowy look, evoking the feel of a winter wonderland.
    • Soft Grays: A muted gray can add depth without overwhelming the neutral palette.
    • Birch Wood Tones: Incorporate ornaments or decorations made of birch or similar light woods.
    • Accent: Add a hint of metallic, preferably Silver or Pewter, for a touch of festive sparkle.
  2. Nature-Inspired Calm:
    • Forest Green: This acts as a subdued, natural hue, reminiscent of evergreen forests.
    • Taupe & Beige: To complement the green and add warmth.
    • Matte Gold: Use sparingly as an accent, to bring in a little shine and festivity.
    • Accent: Introduce Dusty Blue ornaments or decorations, evoking a serene winter sky or frozen lakes.
  3. Modern Monochrome:
    • Black: Not traditionally used for Christmas, but when used minimally and sophisticatedly, it can be striking.
    • White: This will create contrast with the black, giving a clean and modern look.
    • Charcoal Gray: To bridge the starkness between the black and white.
    • Accent: Incorporate Metallic Rose Gold or Copper elements. These metals provide a warm, modern touch against the monochrome backdrop.

For each palette, consider incorporating the following:

  • Textures: Add depth with varied materials, like felt, wool, ceramic, or glass.
  • Natural Elements: Incorporate pinecones, dried fruits, or small branches, adding authenticity to the Scandinavian feel.
  • Lighting: If your tree isn’t pre-lit or you want incorporate more lights, opt for warm white fairy lights or LED string lights. The warm glow will accentuate and complement all the above palettes, creating a cozy atmosphere.

Remember, the beauty of Scandinavian design lies in its simplicity, so it’s essential to keep things balanced and not to over-decorate.

3. Select Ornaments

Scandi ornament twig Christmas tree decoration

If you’re not sure of the type of Christmas ornaments to choose, I’ve selection 10 different twig tree Christmas ornaments with suggestions on how to incorporate them together on your tree this Christmas:

1. Glass Baubles:

   Clear or colored, perhaps with a frosted or matte finish. A staple for any tree. Use in groups of threes or fives, ensuring even distribution.

2. Wooden Cutouts:

Shapes like stars, reindeer, or snowflakes made of thin wood. Scatter them intermittently around the tree, providing a contrast to shinier ornaments.

3.Metallic Ornaments:

Items like small metallic birds or geometric shapes. Place these near the lights so they reflect and shimmer. Use sparingly.

4. Ceramic Discs:

Flat, round ceramic pieces with festive designs or phrases. Hang these closer to the primary branches as they might be slightly heavier. Mix them with other ornaments for a balanced look.

5. Feathered Ornaments:

Ornaments adorned with soft feathers, giving a touch of softness.They can act as fillers and give the tree a fuller appearance. 

6. Miniature Woven Baskets:

Tiny baskets made of wicker or another natural material make the ideal tree decoration. Place these towards the base, and consider putting small trinkets inside.

7. Crystal Icicles:

Clear or colored glass icicles that reflect light beautifully.Hang these on the outer branches so they can dangle and catch the light.

8. Tassels and Pom-poms:

Made of soft yarn or thread, in colors that match your theme. These can be dispersed throughout for texture. They look great in clusters.

9. Beaded Garlands:

  Strings of beads in glass or wood. Drape them from top to bottom or wrap them around the tree.

10. Wire Ornaments:

Delicate shapes made from thin metal wires, like stars or abstract designs. Use these to fill gaps, as they’re light and won’t weigh down the branches.

Incorporating Together:

Numbers: For a typical twig tree of around 4-5 feet, you might consider: 

  • 15-20 glass baubles
  • 10-15 wooden cutouts
  • 5-8 metallic ornaments
  • 8-10 ceramic discs
  • 8-10 feathered ornaments
  • 3-5 miniature woven baskets
  • 10-12 crystal icicles
  • 10-12 wire ornaments

Balancing: Ensure the heavier items (like ceramic discs) are spread out and closer to main branches. Intermingle different textures, like the softness of tassels with the sheen of glass baubles.

Height Variation: Use varying lengths of hanging string or wire to ensure ornaments sit at different heights.

Top Tip: I always recommend laying out your select twig tree ornaments on a table or the floor before you begin. Check out the color scheme, sizes and textures, ensuring you have the correct balance BEFORE you begin hanging them.

4. Christmas Tree Shape

christmas-living-room

Once you’ve erected your twig tree it’s time to define the shape. The approach is just as with a traditional Christmas tree but you’ll want to work a little harder to crate that authentic triangular shape.

Make sure the tree branches are pointing upwards, just slightly, to ensure ornaments don’t fall. 

Remember that these branches aren’t as sturdy as a traditional tree and can’t take too much weight. I’ve learned this the hard way having seen my branches slowly sag to the floor over time, with ornaments falling and breaking in the past.

It’s important to mix up the weight of ornaments on the tree to ensure this doesn’t happen.

5. Choose Location

decorated-twig-tree

The location of your twig tree is paramount in emphasizing its minimalist, Scandinavian charm so you’ll want to think carefully about where you put yours. Here are three tips to help you choose the best spot:

1. Maximize Natural Light:

   The Scandinavian aesthetic places a significant emphasis on natural light, given the long, dark winters of the region. Natural light will accentuate the simplicity of the twig tree and make it stand out.

   – How: Position your twig tree near a window or a source of natural light. The light will create shadows and highlights, adding depth and visual interest to the minimalistic design of the tree. If possible, choose a spot where the tree can be backlit by the morning or afternoon sun for a magical silhouette effect.

2. Choose a Calm, Uncluttered Space:

   Minimalism is a key characteristic of Scandinavian design. By placing your twig tree in a serene and uncluttered space, you’ll amplify its beauty and the calmness it brings.

   – How: Opt for a corner or section of your room that isn’t overwhelmed with other decorative items. The tree should be the focal point in its chosen location. If you have a fireplace, consider placing the tree nearby, as the juxtaposition of the bare branches and the warmth of the hearth complements the cozy, “hygge” feeling typical of Scandinavian interiors.

3. Ensure Stability and Safety:

 While twig trees are usually lightweight, their irregular shapes can make them susceptible to tipping.

   – How: Place your tree on a flat surface, away from high traffic areas where it might be bumped or knocked over. If you have pets or small children, consider this in your placement decision. If the tree comes with a base, make sure it’s stable. If not, you might want to secure it in a sturdy pot or holder.

Remember, the beauty of a minimalist, Scandinavian twig tree lies in its simplicity, so letting it “breathe” and stand out in its own space will do justice to its aesthetic.

6. Lights

christmas-star

Most shop bought twig trees come ready pre-lit for a delicate, shiny glow. But if you want to add your own lights, you can of course. I’d recommend choosing simple, streamlined Christmas lights that won’t overpower the tree but add a subtle glow.

​Just ensure you match the warmth and intensity of your extra lights to the original. Warm white lights work very well on a minimal stick tree, are in keeping with the overall look and aesthetic of this type of Christmas tree.

7. Ornaments Hanging Hack

star

My biggest hack when hanging ornaments on my Christmas Twig Tree is this:

  • Take several of your largest hanging ornaments and hang them equal distances apart around the tree. For example, if you have 4 of the same ornament, split your tree into quarters and hang one ornament in each section. 
  • Repeat this with other groups of ornaments and work you way through your full collection until the tree is decorated. 
  • You’ll have a well balanced, beautifully decorated twig tree!

Find appropriate twig tree decorations by shopping the stores and their ‘Scandi’ or ‘Minimal’ Christmas tree themes. You’ll find decorations more suited to twig trees amongst these. Buy a few new ones each year to build your collection.

You’ll actually need to spend less on your decorations and ornaments as you really don’t need as many as you do for a traditional tree.

Just remember you can see through this tree so you need to decorate all the way round to the back!

So, this glamorous little feather bird probably isn’t your typical scandi themed decoration but I love it, and as it’s white, it fits perfectly with everything else.

8. Homemade Ornaments

christmas-bird

The holidays are a time for family, so get everyone busy making some DIY decorations. It’s a wonderful way to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

There are loads of ideas online of what you could make, and the end result is something to keep, as a memento of the Christmas time.

It adds a wonderful personal touch to the tree, and it’s fun looking back over your creations in the years to come.

Homemade ornaments can often encapsulate the essence of a Scandinavian-themed Christmas tree more genuinely than store-bought items. Here’s a list of ideas for homemade ornaments suitable for a Scandinavian twig or stick tree:

  1. Salt Dough Ornaments:
    • Craft salt dough shapes, such as stars, hearts, or simple animals. Paint them white or leave them natural, and string them up with twine.
  2. Dried Orange Slices:
    • Thinly slice oranges and dry them in the oven. The translucent, caramelized look adds warmth and a touch of color.
  3. Cloth Pouches:
    • Use linen or burlap to create small pouches filled with dried lavender or spices. This not only looks rustic but also provides a pleasant scent.
  4. Wooden Bead Ornaments:
    • String natural wooden beads onto twine to create simple patterns or shapes. They can be made into circles, stars, or other geometric figures.
  5. Pinecone Ornaments:
    • Gather small pinecones, and you can either leave them natural or lightly brush them with white paint for a frosted look.
  6. Paper Stars:
    • Fold and craft stars from brown craft paper or old book pages. They provide a delicate and airy feel to the tree.
  7. Crocheted Snowflakes:
    • If you can crochet, white snowflakes are perfect. Stiffen them with a sugar solution to maintain their shape.
  8. Cinnamon Stick Bundles:
    • Tie 2-3 cinnamon sticks together with twine or a soft ribbon. This adds a subtle fragrance and rustic charm.
  9. Felt Ornaments:
    • Cut shapes (like hearts, trees, or animals) from felt and hand-stitch the edges. You can even add a bit of stuffing to make them slightly puffy.
  10. Twig Stars or Snowflakes:
    • Collect thin, straight twigs and bind them together using twine or wire into star or snowflake shapes.
  11. Wool Yarn Ornaments:
    • Create small tassels, pom-poms, or even mini woven pieces using wool yarn in neutral or muted colors.
  12. Straw Ornaments:
    • Traditional in Scandinavia, straw ornaments can be twisted and tied into shapes like stars, hearts, and geometric patterns.

Incorporating Together:

  • Stick to a Color Palette: The Scandinavian aesthetic thrives on muted, neutral colors with an occasional pop of a muted shade, like forest green or dusty red.
  • Natural Materials: Emphasize on using natural, raw materials like wood, wool, and straw.
  • Simplicity: The charm of Scandinavian design is in its minimalistic approach. So, even when making ornaments, keep designs simple and uncluttered.
  • Balance: When placing the ornaments on the tree, ensure a mix of textures and sizes spread throughout.

Crafting these ornaments can be a delightful way to anticipate the festive season and infuse your Christmas decor with personal touch and memories.

9. Choose a Tree Topper

personal-decoration

Finish the tree with a topper. Depending on the size of your twig tree, this could be a small star, an angel, a large bow, or even a unique handmade item.

You can’t add a Star or Angel tree topper here, but I do like to hang a star decoration near the top just as a nod to the tradition. It makes me feel good and extra Christmassy.

10. Tree Skirt

Cover the base of your twig tree with a festive cloth, faux fur, or even a collection of pinecones and dried fruits. If the tree is in a pot, you might also consider surrounding the base with small gifts wrapped in theme-coordinated paper.

The Perfect Twig Tree Decorations

Here are some of my favourite Christmas tree twig decoration ideas, some of which I’ve used myself, others which I’d recommend as the ideal twig Christmas tree decorations

How do you decorate a white twig tree for Christmas?

Here’s our quick guide to decorating a Christmas twig tree:

  1. Select a Theme: Decide on a color palette, leaning towards muted tones or monochromes to capture a minimalist feel.
  2. Light It Up: Begin with warm white fairy lights, draping them evenly from the base to the tips, ensuring a balanced glow.
  3. Choose Ornaments: Opt for lightweight, Scandinavian-inspired decorations such as wooden cutouts, glass baubles, and handmade felt items.
  4. Incorporate Nature: Add dried orange slices, pinecones, or cinnamon stick bundles for rustic charm. Remember to space them evenly.
  5. Finish with a Topper: Conclude with a simple star, woven heart, or a handmade topper, keeping it proportional to the tree’s size.

Are twig trees only for Christmas?

No, Twig Trees can be left up all year round. You can decorate the for different seasons such as Easter or move them outside into the garden in the Autumn/Winter. Simply remove and pack about the twig tree decorations and enjoy your Scandinavian style twig year at all times of the year.

Remember that decorating a Christmas twig tree should be a joyful experience. There’s no need to follow every step strictly. Feel free to let your creativity flow and modify the steps based on your preferences and the materials at hand. Enjoy the process and have a merry Christmas!



Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an interiors writer and blogger and has an insatiable love of home style and decor

Find me on: Web

31 Comments

  1. Kimberly Duran
    December 6, 2016 / 11:18 am

    Ahh your tree came out great! I bought two tiny versions of these white trees for my bar cart but I could imagine a large one as you have would take a bit more planning to get the styling right. I love how it ties into the rest of your decor as well. I’m such a ‘more is more’ person but I can totally appreciate how a few careful choices can really make a space as it has yours (and I love that the kids got their own!!) πŸ™‚ Fab! Thanks so much for participating in the hop! xx

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      You know we all have very different styles and tastes and that’s what making the Hop such a job in my opinion. Thanks again for doing such an amazing job at organising it all Kimberly, it can’t have been easy! x

  2. Candy Pop
    December 6, 2016 / 11:47 am

    It’s delightful and looks so beautiful in your living room! I love your mantle piece decorations – the houses are so cute! x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      Thanks Natasha, I think I got them in Dunelm a few years ago x

  3. Stephanie
    December 6, 2016 / 11:52 am

    It looks great, and perfect for space saving. I like the fact that you can pop items on it all the way around and you can see them! I love the kids tree too, nice Santa on the top!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      You gotta love that Santa eh? Thanks Steph x

  4. Geraldine
    December 6, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    Great tips there Jen. Your living room looks beautiful and festive x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:27 pm

      Thanks so much Geraldine, that means so much x

  5. Jenny
    December 6, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    This post reminds me!I have two birch trees outside, could I decorate these too… and a small maple tree
    Loving the photography and the personalised bauble!
    Merry Christmas Jen

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:24 pm

      Hey Jenny, definitely go for it with your outdoor trees. Thank you x

  6. Rachel
    December 6, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    Oh Jen, this is lovely. I need to pass your tips on to my six year old as he has the same tree in his bedroom and adorns it with ALL the decorations. Seriously, ALL of them. I wouldn’t say it’s an eyesore but it’s not far off πŸ˜‰

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:24 pm

      Oh Rachel, I would love to see that! πŸ˜‰

  7. Suze - Luxury Columnist
    December 6, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    Can’t wait to read all these lovely Christmas decorating posts! As for the twig tree, I like its simple elegance – perfect for smaller rooms

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:23 pm

      Thanks so much Suze, I know, there are some incredible posts in the hop aren’t there!

  8. Old Fashioned Susie
    December 6, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    This really works in your room, but I think my husband would cancel Christmas if he didnt have a traditional tree! So scandi xx

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:22 pm

      Yep it’s definitely not for everyone. I do have pangs of longing for a traditional tree now and again, I’m sure one year I’ll succumb x

  9. Anna (Don't Cramp My Style)
    December 6, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Look beautiful! I literally grabbed so alike bauble from homesense ( the little house dome) and smashed it all over the floor! and it was the last one!!!Its hard to be me..sigh

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:20 pm

      Oh no Anna, what a shame! I’m sure you’ll find one somewhere else, good luck πŸ™‚ x

  10. Fresh Design Blog
    December 6, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Totally my kind of style, I adore these trees! It’s so nice your kids get there on one to decorate too.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:19 pm

      Ah great Rachel, a fellow minimalist ish. Thank you x

  11. Hollie
    December 7, 2016 / 12:45 pm

    Beautiful styling, love the personalised bauble! Kinda taken with the idea of the tree in gold though! You’d think I’d get bored of gold, but apparently not…..!

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:18 pm

      Thanks Hollie. I did have a little pang when I saw it in gold, one more tree wouldn’t make much difference right?

  12. Carole King
    December 7, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Love your twig tree! And I agree that you have to keep them simple. Some really good tips. x

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 7, 2016 / 2:17 pm

      Thanks Carole, I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but it works for me x

  13. Bianca Hall
    December 7, 2016 / 9:33 pm

    I love your tree Jen! And I love that it doesn’t take up too much space (I grumble for a month about all the displaced furniture and plants!). I wonder if I could get away with one next year?! And GOLD you say? X

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 9, 2016 / 11:40 am

      Haha yes Bianca, GOLD. Know what you mean about all the displaced furniture, we do sometimes move out that yellow chair, but nowhere for it to go this year. x

  14. Karen Clough
    December 7, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    I must admit, I wasn’t sure I liked the twig trees I’ve seen so much of this year. But you’ve totally changed my mind! It’s all about personalisation isn’t it? Love all the personal touches on yours and how it’s really representative of your family. I’ve become such a soppy thing since becoming a mum haha! It’s gorgeous hun πŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 9, 2016 / 11:38 am

      Bless you Karen, thanks so much. Glad I’ve convinced you x

  15. Maxine Brady
    December 8, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    I really want one of these twigs for my home – they look so good. Not actually seen one in a real home before, so it has inspired me to ask Santa for one. Lovely styling.

  16. Vicki
    December 8, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    I love it! What a great idea for something a little different. It looks fantastic and I love the idea of the kids doing their own tree too.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      Author
      December 9, 2016 / 11:36 am

      Vicki, thanks so much, I’m always a little worried that it’s not your typical type of tree x

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