Irving Berlin wrote the holiday classic “White Christmas” to be sung in the 1942 Christmas Movie Holiday Inn. The song took the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Sung by Bing Crosby on Christmas Day, 1941, just weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the song set a nostalgic tone, harkening back to a simple rural scene before the world had become so complex.
The song became a cultural phenomenon and instilled the idea of snow-laden branches and a sleigh bell ride drawn by a horse across an unblemished landscape. This image has become foundational to modern Christmas iconography. Today, a snow-dusted and decorated tree still stands as an ideal for Christmas decor in the home, at retail outlets, and in event venues worldwide.
But how can you have a delightful white Christmas tree yourself? The dusting of a tree with small white particles is called “Flocking.” One concern that has emerged around commercial flocking sprays is the chemical makeup involved in making them stick and maintain a commercially required level of fire resistance. We found a good article on commercial and homemade flocking materials. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to use chemical sprays. You can make your own flocking out of natural materials to spare your family exposure to these harsh chemicals.
At the House of Pixen, we avoid chemicals whenever possible. With a selection of Pixen ornaments, you can design a tree around a White Christmas theme and keep exposure to a minimum.
Start with a Fallen Snow Tree Skirt
Tree skirts were designed to cover the bowl of water, hardware, and tree stand that secures a natural tree and keeps it fresh for as long as possible during the holiday season. With all of that going on at the base of the tree, it could detract from the beautiful design of the tree.
Artificial tree stands are much less substantial than the natural tree stands they replaced, but they still warrant a tree skirt to support the overall aesthetic of your holiday display. Whether your tree is natural or artificial, a good tree skirt will cover the hardware, provide a place to stack presents, and aesthetically frame the space held by the tree.
For a standard 7-foot tree, we recommend a tree skirt that comes in at 60 inches in diameter.
When designing a tree around the theme “White Christmas,” a white wool tree skirt is an ideal way to ground the tree and set the tone. The Fallen Snow tree skirt is ideal for this theme. The tree skirt provides the feel of snow that has just blanketed the landscape.
Add matching Snowball Wool Christmas Ornaments
Sustainability and reuse are important to us. That’s why we reuse materials left behind from the Fallen Snow tree skirt in our Snowball wool Christmas ornaments. These handcrafted ornaments look like a stack of snowballs and bring a whimsical quality to any tree.
White fabric ornaments can be used liberally on a tree designed around the “White Christmas” theme. Hang them near the end of the branch to give your tree the sense that it has recently been draped in snowfall.
Bring in snowflake ornaments like the Nina by House of Pixen
Not everyone knows it, but paper is a traditional material in holiday ornament-making. Dresdens are a type of stamped Christmas ornament that uses paper as a malleable, light and easily reused or recycled material. Made between 1880 and 1910, those that still exist are highly collectible, but costly to acquire.
Our paper ornament collection is hand quilled rather than stamped. A skilled paper artisan crafts each ornament, and the finishing touches are completed in our Oregon studio.
Many of our paper ornaments play a supporting role in a White Christmas themed tree, but in particular, the Nina is an all-white paper ornament shaped like a snowflake that adds something special to a White Christmas tree. A dozen of these go a long way in supporting the theme with a repeated visual motif.
Ice Crystals bring the chill
So far, the ornaments we’ve talked about are all light-absorbing materials. They add a softness to the lights wrapped around your tree. When designing a tree on the White Christmas theme, we also want to include light-modifying materials like glass, crystal, and rhinestones.
The Daphnis is a beautiful ice diamond glass ball. With glass glitter and glass ice diamonds adhered to a smooth, round-glass-ball ornament, this dazzling ornament catches the light and reflects it through your tree.
We recommend this type of ornament for the mid-branch in a loosely grown New England-style tree arrangement (see our How to Decorate a Christmas Tree design article for more on tree choice and ornament placement). Because lights on your tree will be both behind and in front of the ornament in a dynamically lit tree, this kind of ornament has a real opportunity to shine.
Silver tassels. Many people use loose tinsel hung from the tips of the branches to represent icicles hanging from the three. We like to use glass bugle bead tassels in silver (for White Christmas-influenced trees). Lit from behind, the glass bugle beads catch the light and emanate a soft glow around their edges.
Any light modifying or light reflecting sliver or white ornaments can be used mid-branch or at the end of the branch. Remember that the goal of a White Christmas tree design is to emulate the look of stars dancing among the branches and light glinting off snow as you pass through a copse of evergreen trees on a cold, cloudless winter night.
Learn more about the origins of the Christmas tree and the history of Christmas ornaments and decoration.
Bring the texture
A winter wonderland is built on contrasts - the smooth, unblemished snow, a jagged tree line or old stone wall bisecting the landscape, the stars against a black sky, and the glow of a distant light against the blanketed earth.
A textured ornament can bring contrast while participating in the overall theme of your tree. The Labyrinth star in White and Silver is just such an ornament. Bringing a combination of materials - lush velvet, wound silver metal accents, detailed chording, and dazzling rhinestones - it unites with the theme and stands out as a genuinely unique ornament on your tree.
Mouth-blown transparent glass ornaments are rare in collections today. That’s because creating uniformly crafted glass ornaments is an art. It’s easier to cover blemishes if the ornament is colored at the end of the mouth-blowing and forming process.
The benefit of using transparent ornaments on your tree is the way they create depth within your design. Adding these ornaments to the mid-branch allows the viewer to see the lights added around the trunk.
The Lapetus is a clear glass ball decorated with flowers and pearls. Detailed with golden glass glitter, these ornaments add a delicate translucency to your tree. If you want to stay away from any colors other than white and sliver, the Narvi features silver glass glitter and ice diamonds that seem to melt over the orb. Iridescence is added to the glass ball ornament during the making process. Delicate and precise, this ornament is a wonderful addition to any White Christmas-themed tree.
Find Your Features
Featured ornaments are the standouts that demand attention and that the rest of the decor support.
When choosing featured ornaments for a White Christmas-themed tree look for ornaments that are larger, that stand out due to design features, or that convey the theme more powerfully than others.
Featured ornaments can highlight the theme by providing a stark contrast, such as red or gold ornaments on a predominantly white and silver decorated tree, or by being perfectly aligned, such as a uniform repeating pattern of white chandelier-shaped ornaments, tiny round white spheres - you get the picture.
The featured ornaments are often those that stand out to you most when you first look at the tree. They can be made the feature by the characteristics of the ornaments themselves, or by the way they are placed and arranged. Most commonly, the featured ornaments are hung near the tip of branches and can be arranged symmetrically, randomly, in spiraling patterns, groups, or an alternating pattern.
Several ornaments in the House of Pixen collection serve as wonderful choices in a White Christmas-themed tree.
The Contessa and Contessa Gilded are all white or white with silver trim ornaments that are influenced by and created in collaboration with artist Eugenia Pardue. These ornaments carry the textured patterns and motifs redolent in Pardue’s paintings and render them as a unique, three-sided artwork that you can hold in the palm of your hand.
Luna is a silver mouth-blown glass Christmas ornament with a textured accent and white and clear flowers. Art deco influenced beading connects the design between flower motifs. Hand-etched with a similar but unique pattern from ornament to ornament, this is truly one-of-a-kind. Crystal stones bring a touch of blue-green color to the ornament.
Rain in Silver is a silver egg-shaped ornament topped with a rhinestone ring that drips rhinestone raindrops down the sides of each ornament. Unique among jeweled ornaments, the Rain in Silver is a standout feature on any tree.
Contrasting featured ornaments on a White Christmas tree can include the Duchess, a gold, three-sided mouth-blown glass ornament that brings emerald-green, gold, and white to your tree.
Another option to stand out against the overall theme is a small, but vibrant ornament like the Reverie mini in red. This ornament, with its pleasing shape and pattern, has a royal red base and a pattern reminiscent of the drapery in a palace or theatre.
Top your Christmas Tree
Tree toppers bring the final finish to your tree. Many designers add feathers, picks with bows, or other decorative elements around the topper, but it is the tree topper itself that is the ultimate jewel on the tree.
Adding a Star Christmas tree topper is a classic, as it harkens back to the star the wise men followed to a manger in Bethlehem. We have two star-styled toppers, the “Star Tree Topper” and the Ravenna.
The Star Tree Topper is built on a wire frame ensconced with silver bugle beads into a three-dimensional form. Created to capture light from your tree and to transform the light into a soft, star-shaped glow, this adds a subtle and beautiful conclusion to your tree design.
The Ravenna is influenced by the ceiling star paintings commissioned for the Mausoleo diGalla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. A more formal design, this topper combines golden metals and white rhinestones together in the form of a dazzling and victorious star. This is an excellent choice if you plan to diverge from the all-white theme by using gold trimmed feature or filler ornaments within your overall design.Bring a touch of color with the Emperial Tree Topper. This white mouth-blown tree topper brings in subtle color with small red, gold, and green rhinestones as well as silver and gold trim. A testament to the skills of our team of artisans, this unique finial tree topper can’t be found anywhere else.
No matter how you plan to create your White Christmas tree, when you are finished you’ll have a design that harkens back to an earlier time, one Bing Crosby and many musicians since him imagine when they sing about the Christmases they used to know.
Explore the full line of ornaments and decor right here on the site. We would be proud to have some of our ornaments grace your holiday home.