Fabled Longwood Gardens has just opened its annual holiday tours and it’s beginning to to look a lot like Christmas! When I was just 16 years old, I visited Longwood Gardens to see the annual, over-the-top Christmas display. Alongside the traditional masses of red poinsettias, garlands of evergreen and pinecones, and enormous boxwood topiaries, I saw – and fell in love with – a 15′ tall all-white Christmas tree.
Of course, that was a long, long time ago. But, ever since, I have been collecting white and crystal ornaments for my very own sophisticated, all-white tree.
Although I have some very expensive pieces of Waterford and Lenox, I also have a fair number of inexpensive pieces to “fill in.” These include 144 crystal icicles that I bought on clearance for less than $10 in July (I bought every single box in the store), crystal drops from a defunct chandelier that I picked up for a mere .10 each at a thrift store, and some clear balls I unearthed at a craft store after the holiday.
The key to creating a magical all-white tree is really a four-step process.
First, even if your tree is pre-lit, add more lights. Add lights until you think there are too many… and then add more!
Next, place reflective ornaments (especially mirrors or mirrored pieces) deep within the branches and at the back of the tree. They will reflect all of those lights and the tree will “glow” from deep within.
Then, space out the white and silver/crystal. I place all of the solid white pieces first, then add silvery and crystal pieces. Throughout the season, I find myself occasionally rearranging a bit, to make sure there are no “clumps” of white – I like it spaced pretty evenly.
Finally, for a professional look, make sure there are enough different shapes and sizes, but that there are repeats of ornaments. For example, I have a dozen oversized, round ornaments (9″ across), several mercury glass pinecones (12″ long each), and numerous spires and teardrop shaped pieces. These anchor the tree visually. Then I can add in all of the unique, one-of-a-kind ornaments like snowflakes, hearts, lyres, snowmen, and birds of all types.
My tree may not be 15′ tall like my Longwood Gardens inspiration tree, but it is always a favorite. Above is some inspiration to get you started on your own all-white tree!
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Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to style for the way you really live and was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com. You’ll find everything from fashion and beauty, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors and DIY projects, plus the latest ideas for holiday events and parties of all kinds. Editor Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the Delaware-based literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!
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