Be sure to add a show stealer or two in the form of large ornaments or even novelty items.

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This year, go all out when trimming your Christmas tree. Think trees so richly festooned with ornaments that they seem to be dripping in jewelry.

Here are seven tips for creating an opulent, impactful tree.

Place the tree in an interesting holder. Instead of a skirt, consider placing your tree in a large metal container or a garden urn. This can raise the height of tree that looks too short, and adds a polished feel to the base of the tree.

Start with lots of lights. A good rule of thumb is to use 100 lights per foot of tree. Check your light strands before putting them on and replace any that are burned out with new LED strands, which last longer and use less energy. For a truly luminous tree, wrap each branch in lights. Start at the base of the branch, wind the strand up to the tip, then go back to the trunk and repeat on the next branch.

Add branches and picks. Inserting faux greenery branches and picks, like magnolia blooms or holly berries, will make your tree fuller and give it more dimension. Allow a pick or branch to extend outside the cone of the tree just a bit. Secure them in place with wire or zip ties.

Pick a powerful focal point. Be sure to add a show stealer or two in the form of large ornaments or even novelty items like an old-fashioned sled, a pair of vintage ice skates or antique skis. Try working in winter village pieces or oversized snowflakes. Be sure to secure the larger décor items well with wire or zip ties so they don’t come crashing down.

Mix the size of the ornaments. Separate your ornaments into three piles: small, medium and large. Hang the large ones first, securing them toward the back of the branch, where they will serve as a backdrop. Next, add the medium, and then the small, close to the tips of the branches. For a fully loaded tree, hang lots of layers of ornaments, some on top of the others, using a mix of sizes, shapes and colors.

Tuck in ribbon. Finish the tree with twists of holiday ribbon. Loop the ribbon into loose knots, then dot them in, starting at the bottom of the tree and working up. Do not wind the ribbon around the tree.

Take a final look. When you are done with your tree, step back and give it a critical look. What does it need? Fill in holes and balance asymmetries in weight, color or texture.

Your last step? Pour yourself a hot cocoa, dim the lights and bask in the warm glow of your masterpiece.

Tips for buying an artificial tree

Gone are the days of stiff, flimsy, plastic trees. But there are still some things to consider:

• Needles made from PVC look more realistic than those made from plastic, while needles made from PE are even more lifelike.

• Fake trees can be found in all sizes and price ranges. The quality of the tree and additional accents will affect the pricing.

• You have options: Faux trees can look traditional, have a snowy finish or even be metallic.

• When considering size, leave at least 1 foot of space between the top of the tree and the ceiling (more if you have a topper).

• Pre-lit trees can simplify the hectic holiday season. There are even trees with dual lights that can switch between white and multicolor.

— Cox Newspapers