09 December 2013

Trimming the Tree for a Natural Look

If you were following my blog last Christmas, you know that I'm completely smitten with the natural style of the Scandinavian Christmas trees foraged from their indigenous alpine habitats.

I love their simple aesthetic.
scandinavian christmas tree
In my dreams, my ideal Christmas tree would be plucked from its naturally growing woodland setting. But the evergreens naturally growing in my region are mainly eastern cedars and southern pines - both great for decking the halls, but neither of which offer a practical branch from which to hang ornaments.

Unfortunately, living in the South, my only option is anything but natural or simplistic. All we're offered here seems to be these obesely rotund firs.
fir christmas tree
home depot
Not at all the minimalistic tree I'm in search of.

If your choice of Christmas trees are as limited as mine yet you prefer a more natural growth pattern to your tree, your only option is to trim away the excessive growth to expose the tree's natural silhouette. I know. It sounds a bit daunting. But if you're brave + have the confidence, you'll end up with a beautiful tree that looks much more like what you would find in an indeginous habitat.
fraser fir christmas tree
Above is the fir tree I started with. And below is my end result.
trimming the tree
 As you can see, much of the excess growth was removed.

If you'd like to replicate the look, you can do what I do - choose the skinnest + sparsest fir on the lot (you may even luck out + find one marked down due to it's assymmetry). Once home, selectively remove the majority of growth from the interior of the tree, leaving only the most horizontal + symmetrically grown branches.
trimming the tree
The end result is a tree that's open branched and more like what you would find growing in nature. 

By opening the interior + creating a slightly more horizontal pattern to the branches, light is able to shine through to reveal the tree's sillhouette and there's ample space for ornaments.

And to keep with the natural aesthetic, place the tree in a worn bucket or wicker basket and fill the interior with burlap. Lastly, lightlty adorn the tree with ornaments that might be found in nature. On mine, I used a mix of pine cones, birds, glass icicles, antique Christmas spiders, and a vintage set of woodland elfs all in a color palatte of white, glass, + silver.
vintage elf
vintage elf ornament
pinecone elf ornament
glass christmas spider
bird ornament
natural growth christmas tree
So pretty.



  1. I like what you ended up with very much but, honestly, that first tree picture is TOO sparse for my taste. And it bugs me how the wires for lights are so obvious. I do think you're absolutely right about the more natural look, in general Your finished product is gorgeous!!

    1. thanks! the scandinavian tree is sparse, for sure, + not what most americans would consider beautiful; but i just love its simplistic style and the fact that it grew in its natural habitat.

  2. OK, I am not just saying this to be nice...I REALLY mean it.
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that tree.
    Total perfection.
    I adore those glass icicles but couldn't have them because of my critters.
    But truly, LOVE it.

    1. yeah. we have a new member of the family, a boxer, who is extremely interested in my tree. i have to keep a constant eye on him. if he weren't so cute he'd be in all sorts of trouble! ;)


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