How to Decorate Tree Branches for a Winter Wonderland-Themed Party

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Create a wintry effect with paint and ornaments.
Create a wintry effect with paint and ornaments. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

It's easy to experience a winter wonderland if you throw a holiday party in a snowy area. If, however, you live where snow may not be very likely or if you just want to bring a sense of the outdoors inside, you can create your own winter wonderland as a backdrop for entertaining. One way that rapidly transforms a home or a room is to decorate tree branches. Use a lot of silver and white, and harvest branches from your yard, your neighborhood or the local park.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears or loppers
  • Drop cloths or tarps
  • White spray paint
  • Artificial snow
  • Pots, vases or tree stands
  • Floral foam or wire cages (optional)
  • Floral wire (optional)
  • Pebbles (optional)
  • Cotton
  • Tiny white lights
  • Silver tinsel or icicle lights
  • Ornaments
  • Fresh cedar (optional)
  • Garlands (optional)
  • White or silver ribbon (optional)
  • White or bayberry candles (optional)
  • Juniper incense (optional)
  • White flowers (optional)

Trim the tree branches you collect. Shears work for smaller branches; loppers are best for larger ones. You can use branches from deciduous or evergreen trees, but they will have different effects. Cut the base of each branch so it's flat, then trim off any broken or disfigured sections and remove any dead leaves.

Spread out your tarps, and spray paint the branches with white or light silver spray paint. Let them dry. Then, spray artificial snow lightly on the branches, and let them dry as well.

Stand the branches inside flower pots or vases. Some people like to place floral sponge at the base or use wire to hold the branches into place. Just poke the base of the branches into the foam. Alternatively, you can place several inches of small stones or pebbles into the pot and tuck the branches into them. Use several branches to get a full effect or just one for a more open look. Place cotton in clusters over the stones to simulate snow.

String small strands of white holiday lights through the branches -- this is especially decorative for parties held at night, but works fine in the daytime, too. Not every branch needs lights unless you are going for a particularly sparkly effect.

Drape the branches sparsely with silver tinsel to create an icicle effect. Alternatively, use icicle lights on larger branches.

Hang white star-shaped and snowflake ornaments from the branches. Pull the cotton slightly apart to tuck into or hang from the branches.

Place the pots or vases of branches around your party room, grouping several together in corners, for example. Or place them in bathrooms that guests will use. Put a couple outside the entryway, as well.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hang icicle lights around the walls or windows, and tuck cedar branches sprayed with artificial snow around the lights. Drape garlands of cedar wrapped with white or silver ribbons and tinsel, then decorate with white stars and ornaments.
  • Burn bayberry candles and light juniper incense to mimic the scents of winter. Cedar works, too, and the more fresh cedar you use, the stronger the scent.
  • Adding vases of white flowers around your home supports the wintry theme.

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