12 Christmas Tree Decorating Fails

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and one of the best things about it is trimming the Christmas tree with glistening string lights, garlands, and ornaments. While there’s no wrong way to decorate a tree, a few missteps can leave you with a lackluster display. To make sure this year's tree is truly magical, avoid these 12 tree decorating fails, from unruly branches to ugly ornaments.

  1. Proceed with Caution

    Caution tape garland

    flickr.com via Joel Friesen

    Christmas is a lighthearted and jolly occasion, but this caution tape garland is reminiscent of a police investigation. It’s best to leave the jokes at the door; after all, the only crime this holiday season should be your uncle's sweater choice.

    Related: 10 Holiday Ornaments to DIY with Everyday Stuff

  2. The Bare Minimum

    Bare tree

    flickr.com via Abbey Hambright

    Sure, Charlie Brown's tree was charming, but in the real world twiggy trees look bare. The bushy branches of a nice, full pine let your ornaments truly shine.

    Related: 10 Ways to Decorate Your Xmas Tree for Under $10

  3. Half Dressed

    Tree garland

    flickr.com via osseous

    Measure the tree before you hit the store so you know how many strands of garland to buy. Otherwise, your bedecked evergreen may look like it forgot to wear pants.

    Related: Christmas Miracle: 8 Simple Fixes for All Your Tree Troubles

  4. Hole-y Night

    Missing branches

    flickr.com via Carolyn Davis

    Artificial Christmas trees can handle some wear and tear over time, but if your tree is missing an entire section, it may be time to replace it.

    Related: 9 Tips and Tricks to Cut the Christmas Clutter

  5. Lights Out

    Light failure

    flickr.com via vanherdehaage

    String lights add twinkling beauty to any Christmas tree, but they have a tendency to black out if even one bulb is broken. Check that every bulb works before stringing a strand on your tree.

    Related: 7 Reasons Not to Chuck Your Tree After Xmas

  6. Tall and Skinny

    Thin tree

    flickr.com via Exile on Ontario St

    Too-thin Christmas trees look droopy and uninspired. Always choose a plump, attractively branched one that’s appropriately scaled for the space. As a bonus, wider trees have more room for presents underneath!

    Related: 10 Gifts You Should Never Give

  7. Eclectic Evergreen

    Chaotic tree

    flickr.com via Michael Strevens

    Eclectic trees have the potential to be fun, but they can just as easily look a little off. This public display seems chaotic, thanks to its random decorations, overgrown branches, and asymmetrical shape. 

    Related: The Cheapest Gifts from the Fanciest Home Brands

  8. Middle Mistakes

    Sparse tree

    flickr.com via Kimberly Vardeman

    Remember to decorate all the way around the Christmas tree! Grab a ladder to reach higher branches, because neglecting these will make the evergreen look sparse.

    Related: 12 Gadgets Every Homeowner Wants for Christmas

  9. Color Clash

    Color clash

    flickr.com via Jeff

    When you're choosing a color palette for your Christmas tree, it's best to stick with the classic holiday hues. Introducing funky colors, such as purple or orange, can leave your tree looking corny instead of cool.

    Related: The 50 Hottest Gifts from Home Depot

  10. Burn Out

    Burnt out

    flickr.com via mulf

    Imagine this: You’re hosting a holiday party when half of the lights on your Christmas tree suddenly burn out. Enlist the help of a surge protector to ward off disaster and keep lights twinkling all season long.

    Related: 15 Insanely Easy Ways to Decorate for the Holidays

  11. Spacing Issues

    Christmas tree lights

    flickr.com via Cavalier92

    Didn’t buy enough string lights? Instead of clumping them in one section of branches, space them evenly around the entire Christmas tree. They may end up a little thin, but the symmetry will help create an aesthetically pleasing design.

    Related: 10 Gifts to Get Now Before They’re Gone

  12. Tilting Tree

    Tilted tree

    flickr.com via arcticpenguin

    Don’t let your tree resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If the evergreen isn't firmly set in its stand, it could topple over—possibly in the middle of your holiday dinner party.

    Related: 25 Handy Stocking Stuffers Under $25

  13. O Christmas Tree

    12 christmas tree decorating fails


    Avoid your own Christmas tree disaster with this helpful guide for finding the perfect evergreen. Then trim your tree with these affordable decorations and fun DIY ornaments.

  14. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!