Between the recent freezing temperatures that have gotten our fireplaces roaring and the Christmas music that’s begun playing on the radio, I’ve been feeling more and more in the holiday spirit.

And to me, nothing marks the start of the Christmas season quite like getting the tree up and decorated. I love to get our tree up early so we have as much time as possible to enjoy it.

First things first, it’s all about the base. We’ve used a variety of bases for our trees over the years, so don’t be hesitant to try something outside of a traditional stand and tree skirt. One of our favorite ways to display our trees is by placing them in urns. Not only is it visually elegant, but it also adds a bit more height to your tree without having to decorate an extra foot (or two) of space.

If you like a traditional tree stand, you can still freshen your look. We use scrap fabric and throws to create fun and unexpected tree skirts. It’s a real eye-catcher and a great way to coordinate with the other textiles in your room. We have used everything from leopard print to classic red and green plaids. Using a simple piece of fabric or an inexpensive throw gives you the flexibility to change your look year after year, and you can put the pieces to work in your home long after the holidays.

No space or time? A small tree doesn’t have to mean small impact. Place smaller trees on a table. Not only will your container or basket containing the tree be better displayed, but it also creates the illusion of a full-sized tree. This is a good way to keep breakage to a minimum if you have young kids or animals in the house as they won’t be able to reach the ornaments (except, perhaps, cats).

Speaking of ornaments, there is an art to selecting just the right ones and placing them on the tree. Use varied sizes, textures and colors to create depth and add texture. This can be as simple as choosing different finishes (like metallic, matte, sparkle, etc.) or even different shades of the same hue. Start by placing the largest ornaments first and fill in the blank spaces with smaller sizes. Place the ornaments at different depths — not all of them should be on the edges of the branches. This will add dimension to your tree.

Ribbon is another great way to add texture. Instead of spiral wrapping, we like cutting various lengths of ribbon and securing them into bows or loops and then attaching to the tree individually. This gives you more freedom when placing your ribbons and leads to less chance of getting tangled. While I certainly clove my plaids, we have been using lots of velvet ribbons and I adore the luxe feel they add.

Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design firm Nell Hill’s.