Branch Out

How to host a tree-trimming party

It's a tradition so revered that two classic Christmas songs center on it—one literally rocks around that conifer.

So it's only fitting that the trimming of the tree warrants a party of its very own. Here's everything you'll need.

Set the Scene

Sure, the towering tree commands most of the attention. But festive details are essential. Rally the merrymakers with an on-theme invite. In case it isn't clear that impromptu caroling is welcome, hang a banner with care to encourage it, along with stockings, of course. Finish the mantle with reindeer candle holders, and scatter spinning tree tops around for guests to play. And when the night is done, send guests home with a mini Christmas popper.

Trim the Tree

Plant your evergreen in a sturdy copper base, then get to decorating. Skip the clear versus colored lights debate entirely and plug in mercury glass bulbs instead. String popcorn on a thread as garland, or opt for this glitzy version instead. And then treat your guests to a buffet of delicious ornaments, like bacon, macarons, hot sauce, veggies and a pickle, plus a potato masher for good measure. No tree is complete without tinsel, but avoid the inevitable mess by offering tin icicles

Feed the Crowd

It's not a party without snacks. Start savory with cheesy bacon-wrapped dates and Ritz Crackers topped with cream cheese and bright red pepper jelly. Then it's on to the requisite Christmas cookies: Proffer a spread of linzers, eggnog florentines and chocolate candy cane buttons. If gingerbread's your jam, give them an extra (ahem) kick with ninja cookie cutters. Keep the sugar rush going with toasted almond truffles.

Wild Winter Bouquet Invitations, 20 for $6

Photo: Courtesy of Paperless Post

Oh Joy! "Falalalala" Banner, $4

Photo: Courtesy of Target

Zigzag Stocking, $54

Photo: Courtesy of Anthropologie

White Reindeer Candle Holders, $95 each

Photo: Courtesy of Hudson Grace

Spinning Tree Tops, $14 for five

Photo: Courtesy of Click Design That Fits 

Copper Tree Skirt, $88

Photo: Courtesy of Terrain

Mercury Glass Bulb String Lights, $30

Photo: Courtesy of World Market

Popcorn Ball Garland, $72

Photo: Courtesy of Anthropologie

Bacon Ornament, $6.50

Photo: Courtesy of Archie McPhee

French Macaron Ornaments, $35

Photo: Courtesy of Ballard Designs

Hot Sauce Bottle Ornament, $20

Photo: Courtesy of Sur la Table

Vegetable Ornaments, $6 each

Photo: Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Pickle Ornament, $4

Photo: Courtesy of Pier 1

Polka Dot Potato Masher Ornament, $6

Photo: Courtesy of Sur la Table

Tin Icicles, $20 for 50

Photo: Courtesy of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

Red Pepper Jelly

Linzer Piggy Cookies

Eggnog Florentines

Chocolate Candy Cane Buttons

Ninjabread Cookie Kit, $14

Photo: Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

Toasted Almond Truffles

Mini Christmas Poppers, $19 for six