The Best Way to Hang Every Type of Christmas Ornament

From heavy baubles to antique treasures, here's how to add your decorations to the tree.

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The tradition of decorating the Christmas tree is one that families look forward to every year. Ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and are made from different materials—using a variety helps to give your tannenbaum personality and depth.

"It's always really important to anchor your tree with a series of cohesive ornaments throughout," says Malorie Goldberg of Noa Blake Design. "Whether you pick a single color, shape, or texture, this will create a canvas for the more significant or sentimental ornaments to shine while pulling everything together as a whole."

Want to dress your tree in more than just your go-to baubles? From glittery pinecones to heavy kugels, understanding the different ornaments—and how to hang each type—will help your Christmas tree shine.

woman decorating Christmas tree
Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

How to Hang Each Type of Ornament

Your Christmas tree can feature glass balls or shaped glass ornaments, lightweight ornaments with personalized photos, or homemade ornaments made from clay or paper. The best way to hang each ornament depends on its weight and shape, as well as the strength of your Christmas tree's boughs.

One rule you should follow, though? Keeping the hanging material consistent. "Every ornament can be different but if they're all hung from heavy gold yarn, black cord, or metal wire, then the overall decoration will feel cohesive and thoughtful," says Goldberg.

Heavy Ornaments

Heavier ornaments should be placed deeper into the branches.

  1. Thread a hook around the top of the ornament.
  2. Place the hook around a study branch.
  3. Let the ornament gently drape over the branch, rather than leaving it to dangle.

Antique Ornaments

Hanging fragile antique ornaments from a hook makes it far too easy for curious children or pets to knock them loose. Instead, this technique allows you to hang each decoration at exactly the perfect height.

  1. Thread 28-gauge floral wire through the ornament's ring.
  2. Wrap wire around branch and twist ends.

Lightweight Ornaments

Lightweight ornaments, such as those made from ribbon or paper, should be placed closer to the ends of the branch. These decorations can be made to seemingly suspend from ribbon alone—but the ribbon is affixed with wire to prevent them from slipping off, should the tree get jostled while unifying the color scheme.

  1. Tie 3/8-inch ribbon lengthwise around a credit-card-size piece of stiff paper, knot at the bottom, and trim the ends with scissors.
  2. Slip the ribbon loop off and attach to wire.
  3. Thread the wire and ribbon loop through the ornament's ring, pulling taut, wrapping the wire around the branch to hold it in place.
  4. If you want ornaments to hang closer to the branch, shorten the ribbon by wrapping a bit around the bough before securing the wire.

Natural Accents

Natural accents, like glittery pinecones and glass icicles, will play up the idea that your evergreen is from nature.

  1. Tie floral wire around the top of the ornaments.
  2. Hang wire directly on the branches—without ribbon—to make the decorations appear as if they naturally hang from the tree.

The Order in Which You Should Hang Your Ornaments

When it comes time to hang your ornaments, start with the heaviest ornaments toward the inside of the tree and work your way out. "Start with the ornaments that carry the most weight physically or have the largest presence and place them closer to the trunk where branches are heftier and more stable," Goldberg says. "Then work your way out from there, leaving the daintiest and lightest ornaments for the outer branches."

Add Additional Accents to Your Christmas Tree

Once you place your ornaments around the tree, you can add some final touches that will make your tree really stand out. Use metallics to make your tree sparkle. But keep in mind that any shimmer should be simple, and it's best to limit how much glitter and faceted crystal is added to the tree. "If everything shines, nothing will stand out," Goldberg says.

But you don't have to use just sparkly elements to accent your tree. "Adding texture around your ornaments, like pheasant feathers or leather ribbon, will give more traditional ornaments (or, alternatively, more glitzy ornaments) a little bit of edge and make the tree feel fresh," Goldberg says. These final touches to your tree will help to bring the whole look together.

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