Why go on doing the same Christmas tree year after year when everyone enjoys a surprise? See how much interest you arouse with Christmas trimmings and ornaments based on one theme. Select an appealing subject, then find as many ways as you can to develop it. Select one theme for the main tree, and trim a secondary tree with variations of the subject.
If there are children in the house, make sure the theme is within their world-Santa Claus, animals, toys, fairy-tale characters, snowflakes, bells and stars will be most enjoyed. But youngsters have vivid imaginations. Their world of make-believe is so real that they need only a simple statement of design, the distortion of a figure, or a pure bit of color to comprehend more than adults ever will, for children see with their hearts, minds and eyes.
For grown-ups who have left the land of "once upon a time," but love Christmas, develop sophisticated trees, trees of traditional beauty, and novelty trees. Among the themes you might choose are those of shape, subject, material and color.
Shape affords you the opportunity to carry out decorations in stars, crescents, spheres, circles, triangles, cones, snowflakes and spirals. You will be amazed to discover how everything you look at assumes a shape or form, and how you can repeat the same foml with variety which is the spice of good design. For instance, the snowflake with a diamond pattern, or circles with ovals and arcs, or squares with rectangles. For subject you could select one of these: dolls, musical figures, bells, dime-store gifts, jewels, sewing-basket articles (see jacket), musical instruments, birds, or buttons and bows.
Materials would be an intriguing approach. Here you would select ornaments of straw, clay, paper foil, driftwood, dry plants, metal, felt, net, and many others. Of course you must not overlook color as a possible theme. Try a tree in chartreuse, brown and gold, or add a strong spiritual touch with purple, chalk white and orange-yellow. Consider aqua, red violet and pink for a touch of fantasy.
In design, the principle of dominance requires that only one color, one form, one texture or one material must dominate. Interest will be added to your tree if you introduce a note of contrast through color, form, size or texture. Exact repetition is dull and boring.
To add interest, vary the size of the ornaments-use some large, some small and some medium-but remember the principle of dominance so you have more of one size than of any other.
Balance and rhythm will be achieved if you keep the larger and darker colored ornaments in the lower and inner areas of the tree, using the smaller ones which are less intense in color on the top and sides of the tree.
Do not put a small floor tree in a large room or a large floor tree in a small room. Keep the room and tree in proportion to each other for the most pleasing results.
When you plan your tree bear these points in mInd: What do you want to say? How can you say it best? Having said it, stop. Simplicity is the keynote of good design.