Design Holidays & Celebrations

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.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Proceed with Caution 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

The Bare Minimum 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

Half Dressed 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

Hole-y Night 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

Lights Out 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

Tall and Skinny 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

Eclectic Evergreen 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

Middle Mistakes 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

Color Clash 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

Burn Out 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

Spacing Issues 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

Tilting Tree 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

O Christmas Tree

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.