How to Light a White Christmas Tree

At the end of the Christmas season one year, I bought a cute pre-lit, 4′ white tinsel Christmas tree – for $12! It had 110 tips, but only 70 lights. I knew it needed more lights. A LOT more. But how did I get the lights and wires to match the white tree?

How to light and decorate a white Christmas tree

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Lights to tree height ratio

When I was a florist and owned my own shop, companies would hire me to do their holiday decorating – so I have a lot of experience turning a skimpy tree into a knock out.

The rule is to have 100 lights per foot of tree.

So this little 4′ tree needed another 400+ lights.

I ended up taking the existing 70 lights off first, because they weren’t put on the way I like, then off to the store to get more lights!

When all the lights have green wire

When I got to the store, I could only find the lights with green wires that are normally used for trees. But after poking around, I found icicle lights with white lights and white wires. I’ve never used these before to light a tree, but they actually worked out great!

How to light a white Christmas tree – like a pro!

1.  Cut a big pile of white twist-ties into 2″ lengths. These will hold the wires in place, and the good thing about this method of adding lights is that they can be left on the tree year after year! At the end of the season, I put a large, plastic trash bag over the tree and store it in the attic until next year.

2.  Plug in the first strand of lights and make sure they all work. Leave them plugged in while you work, since that will help you see how they look on the tree.

3.  I bent the very top of the tree over in half, since it was a little too long. If you will be using a tree topper, put that on first to determine how much space it takes up on the top. Now start at the top with the lights, and secure with a twist-tie.

4.  Wind the strand of lights around the “trunk” of the tree. You want the tree to be lit from the center outward. This gives the tree depth and fullness.

5.  When you get to an “icicle” on the strand, wind it from the trunk outward on a branch, and secure the end with a twist-tie. Click here for a quick video to show the wrapping.

6.  Keep going until you get to the plug of the first strand of lights. Plug in the next set of lights, and keep the plugs close to the center of the tree so they are hidden. Try to keep all the plugs on the same side of the tree if you can.

White lights – unlit

Unlit white lights on a white Christmas tree

Lights – all lit up

A close-up of lit white lights on a white Christmas tree

Using the icicle lights took a few more strands than I originally thought, due to the way the icicle strands were spaced on the main wire. I ended up using 5 boxes of 100 lights AND still had to add the original strand of 70 lights to finish the bottom!  So this little 4′ tree now has 570 lights.

Side-by-side before and after images of a white tree with and without extra white lights

The tree is decorated to coordinate with the colours of the room, which is brown, white and chartreuse. I also used the white twist-ties instead of hooks to attach the ornaments, so the whole thing will be stored as-is at the end of the season. I found little white birds to put on the tree, but there was no place on them for a hook or tie – so I got out the glue gun and glued them to the tips of the branches!

How to light and decorate a white Christmas tree like a professional

Doesn’t that look pretty?

How to light and decorate a white Christmas tree like a professional

To make a similar tree, I’ve linked to products below:

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