The Best Christmas Decor Tips From the Woman Who Decorates the White House for the Holidays

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When it comes to Christmas decor, who better to get tips from than the designer of the White House Christmas, Genevieve Gorder? (No, seriously, have you seen the White House at Christmastime?) 

Here, Genevieve shares her best tricks for making artificial Christmas trees smell like pine, creating beautiful mantel decor…without a mantel…and more. 

Tip No. 1: Use Essential Oils to Make Your Christmas Tree Smell Like Pine

“When I’m working with a faux tree, I’m happy for the sustainability but I’m missing that smell of pine, so you can add a layer to appease the senses. You can either mix on part pine needle essential oil with two parts distilled water in a spray bottle and simply spritz your tree, felt ornaments…all of it. Or you can use a diffuser with essential oils!” 

GET THE LOOK (AND SMELL): 

BH Balsam Fir

Holiday Scents of the Season Cartridge

Holiday Scents of the Season Cartridge

Scents of the Season™ Fragrance Machine

Scents of the Season™ Fragrance Machine

Lodge Faux Fur Tree Skirt

Lodge Faux Fur Tree Skirt

Double-Sided Starburst Tree Topper

Double-Sided Starburst Tree Topper

Tip No. 2: Decorate Your Christmas Tree From the Inside Out 

“When you’re decorating a tree, think about decorating the darkest parts of the tree first [and] working your way to the outer branches last. Bring the lights—and really reflective, glittery and light-colored ornaments—to the inside of the tree. Reach in and go to the trunk and work your way out, leaving those superstar ornaments that everyone loves to the outer branches. What you create is a magnificent sculpture with depth and layers rather than just a tree with some decor sprinkled on top.” 

GET THE LOOK: 

Winter Wishes Ornament Set

Winter Wishes Ornament Set

Enchanted Woodlands Acorn Ornament Set

Enchanted Woodlands Acorn Ornament Set

Winter Leaves Picks

Winter Wishes Ornament Set

Winter Wishes Ornament Set

BH Essentials Mercury Glass Ornament Set

BH Essentials Mercury Glass Ornament Set

Capiz Ornament Set

Beaded Snowflake Ornaments

Beaded Snowflake Ornaments

French Country Ornament Set, 12 Pieces

French Country Ornament Set, 12 Pieces

Grand Forest Ornament Set

Grand Forest Ornament Set

Alpine Adventure Felt Ornament Set

Alpine Adventure Felt Ornament Set

Reindeer Funfest Felt Ornament Set

Reindeer Funfest Felt Ornament Set

Tip No. 3: Go Vertical With Ribbon on Your Christmas Tree 

balsam hill trees on set

“I love doing a cascading vertical ribbon down the tree to create a high-end look. It’s what I do in the White House and it creates this ‘wow’ moment that’s really easy to do!”

Gold & Champagne Christmas Tree Ribbon

Gold & Champagne Christmas Tree Ribbon

Tip No. 4: Beautifully Decorate Your Mantel…Without Even Needing a Mantel 

holiday mantel decoration

“Pine trees are great, but there are so many different greens to play with, and magnolia is my absolute favorite for mantels. They use these expertly on every mantel in the White House almost every year. What I love is the two-tone leaves that add depth and that dose of extra we all crave during the holidays. But what I love about this tip is you don’t need a mantel to do it! It works beautifully on any flat surface in your house. I weave flameless candles on the surface and then bring in a few birds and you’re done.” 

Outdoor Magnolia Leaves Foliage

Outdoor Magnolia Leaves Foliage

Feathered Friends Ornament Set

Feathered Friends Ornament Set

Tip #5: Use Wreaths For Gorgeous No-Fuss Centerpieces 

wreath centerpiece

 “This works for your dining table or any tabletop surface that needs a little something, but sometimes you just don’t want to DIY, so I love this idea. Lay a wreath down the center of your table and adorn each center with a group of varied size flameless candles. It’s simple and beautiful and you can use any wreath you like. If you want to take it up a notch and do a little DIY, you can also use wreath wire to add in a layer of small photos of nostalgic family moments.”

Festive Red Berry Foliage

Festive Red Berry Foliage

Miracle Flame LED Wax Pillar Candle

Miracle Flame LED Wax Pillar Candle

Balsam Hill


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