Christmas tree topper ideas to add a festive finishing touch

Use our favourite ideas to put the cherry (or, more likely, star) on top
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  • Your Christmas tree takes centre stage over the festive season, so we’re always looking for the perfect way to finish off the decorations in style. From stars to angels, lights to bows, there are a plethora of Christmas tree topper ideas to suit any style.

    Before you think about your decorative tree toppers, first decide which of the Christmas tree ideas you’re hoping to achieve. Modern, traditional, eclectic… whichever you go for, the topper can be used to sum up or enhance the theme shown on the rest of the branches.

    Christmas tree topper ideas

    ‘A Christmas tree topper is the final piece to dressing your tree,’ notes Cazz Foster, Stylist at Dunelm. ‘This can be a classic star, fun ornament, or home-made decoration.’ So whatever you’ve got in mind for your tree this year, take a look through these inspired Christmas tree toppers.

    1. Tie a bow

    Christmas tree topped with red velvet bow

    Image credit: Marks & Spencer

    Who doesn’t love finishing off their presents – or hairstyle – with a bow? Give your tree the same special treatment and use a plush velvet, embellished design to add elegance to your tree.

    Pick a bow in the colour you most want to pick out of the baubles on the tree – this will make them appear more dominant and obvious to the eye.

    If you can’t find the perfect bow on the high street, then make your own! Ensure you tie the fabric around some thin wire first to keep it pert and shapely for as long as the tree is up.

    2. Choose a light-up option

    Christmas tree with pastel baubles and light up star in from of staircase garland

    Image credit: Dunelm

    Light-up Christmas tree toppers are a fun way to finish off your decoration. But be careful about which one you select.

    Stay on the classy side by choosing light in a similar shade to the fairy lights around your tree. if one is white and the other yellow, the clash will irritate you. If your light-up topper has a cord then make sure you’ve explored Christmas tree light hacks to avoid getting into a twist.

    Slim, minimalist designs such as this Sliver Star, £5, Dunelm are a great choice because they add a touch of extra sparkle without overwhelming, or looking bare when not switched on.

    3. Finish with a flower

    Christmas tree with red rose decorations by red sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Make it appear that you know how to decorate a tree professionally by committing to a striking, floral scheme.

    Decorate with a relatively small number of baubles in a restrained palette – think maximum three colours – and fill the gaps with faux blooms in your choice of these shades. For the perfect topper, wrap the stem of an artificial rose around the top brand of the tree and, if need, use wire to position it perfectly. Wrap any exposed wires with florists’ tape for a seamless finish.

    4. Add some fancy feathers

    Christmas tree topped with orange feathers in blue room

    Image credit: John Lewis & Partners

    ‘Clips, stems and unusual shapes are a great way to give your tree texture and interest,’ says Jason Billings-Cray, Christmas Buyer, John Lewis & Partners. This is even more applicable when it comes to your choice of Christmas tree topper.

    Christmas is a time of celebration, so why not take inspiration from many festivities around the year – and world – and use an array of statement coloured feathers to create a tree topper? Work the feathers in from a few branches down from the top to give the impression that they’re sprouting from the trunk itself.

    This style won’t just look great at Christmas – if you throw a Roaring Twenties bash for New Year’s Eve, your tree will be right on theme!

    5. Include your favourite animal

    Christmas tree topped with white owl in rustic dining room

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Whether you’ve got an artificial tree, or you’re looking to decorated your real Christmas tree, it’s lovely to add an ode to nature with your decor.

    A rustic home scheme is the perfect backdrop for a nature-inspired Christmas tree. Enhance this further by selecting a bauble or clip of your favourite furry friend to take the place of your topper.

    Owls, stags and doves are popular choices, but if you’ve got a quirkier sense of style, why not add in a miniature version of your pet. Who wouldn’t love a dachshund at the top of a tree?!

    6. Go for a DIY approach

    Christmas tree topped with green paper star

    Image credit: Future PLC

    For a fun and easy Christmas tree design and topper that the whole family can help with, look to paper decorations.

    Fold out paper stars are perfect to let little kids get involved in decorating without the worry of anything getting broken or swallowed. You can play around by mixing and matching shapes and sizes, so long as you stick to one or two colours. For extra impact, choose an oversized option to act as the topper.

    The 3-D versions of these paper decs are also a wonderful way to fill the space ;eft at the base of the tree once the presents have been opened.

    7. Run a ribbon to the top

    Small outdoor Christmas tree decorated with gingerbread and white ribbon

    Image credit: Future PLC

    While the bow is a definite tree topper trend this year, it’s a lot more versatile a decoration than you might have initially thought.

    The ribbon technique is perfect for when you’re contemplating small Christmas tree ideas, On these, simply choose a long length of ribbon and wind your way up from the lowest branches of the tree right up to its height, when you finish it in a bow made of the same type of ribbon. You could also layer with different colours of ribbon for an extra striking effect.

    This can be done as a replacement to fairy lights if you can’t find any weatherproof options for outdoor trees, or in addition to lights, so long as they’re LED to stop the material from overheating.

    8. Double up with two tree topper designs

    White Christmas tree in hallway with heart and bow toppers

    Image credit: Future PLC

    There are enough decisions to be made around the holidays, so if you can’t choose which of your favourite Christmas tree toppers to go with – use them both!

    So long as one option can hang, and the be tied or be placed on top, two designs can sit in happy harmony. You can create the illusion the two toppers are linked by choosing similar materials and colours, or go for a contrast to make your bold choice obvious.

    This is also a great idea if you’re using a bauble rather than a traditional tree topper, as a beautifully tied bow behind it will help take up the empty space.

    9. Choose a classic star

    Christmas tree with yellow lights topped with star

    Image credit: Cox & Cox

    Stars are a perennial favourite of many households for a reason – they’re a classic choice that can be used for many years to come.

    When choosing your star, it’s clever to opt for a fairly simply woven or metallic design. This way, no matter what theme your tree or living room take for Christmas in the future, your tree topper will work with the style.

    10. Add a heart to the top

    Christmas tree topped with red heart by fireplace in dining room

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather, so a simple heart hung from the top of your tree is the perfect way to sum up the season.

    If your decoration has too wide a string to hang neatly, or there aren’t any close enough lower branches to rest it on, use some thin wire in a matching colour to tie directly onto the top.

    11. Top with an angel

    Christmas tree in living room topped with angel

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Another traditional choice – the angel, or a fairy, is a sweet way of finishing off your family Christmas tree.

    A benefit of these toppers is that they typically can simply be places on top of the tree, meaning you don’t have to twist, tie or attach anything extra.

    There are any number of angelic toppers on offer, so there will absolutely be one to match your style.

    12. Embrace the fun

    Pink Christmas tree topped with unicorn horn and eyelashes

    Image credit: Wilko

    For the young – or simply young at heart – novelty toppers are always an option!

    Perfect for a girl’s bedroom or a playroom, this artificial Christmas tree design shows off a statement topper. ‘A unique Christmas tree topper set. A striking tree topper which features eyelashes, ears, flowers and a horn – a trend that is sure to grab everyone’s attention this Christmas!,’ says Wilko.

    Only issue is that we’re ever-so-slight jealous of the eyelashes this unicorn has managed to achieve…

    How do I choose a Christmas tree topper?

    ‘It’s important to choose a tree topper that is to scale with your tree,’ says Sylvia James, interior designer at HomeHow.co.uk. ‘Leaving it until the last minute without any thought will result in a topper that is disproportionate and using the same one with a different tree is lazy.’

    ‘Invest in a few different shapes and sizes and continue adding more to the collection as the years go by.’ Your design should reflect or echo the theme of the tree decorations, or any Christmas style you have running through the room.

    Also remember you need a topper which fits! Ideally you want a good few inches of space between it and the ceiling, so you may have to bend or cut the top branch to make your choice of topper sit correctly.

    Do you put the tree topper on first or last?

    Christmas tree toppers should be the second thing added following the lights. Although we think of the topper as ‘finishing’ the tree, by leaving it to the end to put on, you’re risking knocking off precariously balanced baubles or getting the cord of a light up topper stuck in between decorations.

    Another thing to consider that if you put the topper on last and then realise there’s not enough room between the tree and the ceiling, it’s a fair bit trickier to deal with.

    What is the most popular Christmas tree topper?

    The two most common Christmas tree toppers are far and away stars and angels. And different sources will suggest that one is more popular than the other, but there’s no definitive answer.

    ‘People in Scandinavian countries tend to use the same tree topper to complete their Christmas tree year after year,’ muses Sandie Wallman, Founder of Nordic House.

    ‘It can often be a family heirloom and stars are always popular.’ We typically think of stars as being more traditional, however, the tradition of using Christmas tree toppers began in Germany in the 1800s. The Rauschgoldengel, or the tingled angel, was a shiny golden foil angel that became popular during this era,’ say the experts at Balsam Hill.

    ‘The advent of patriotic accents in Great Britain eventually saw flags, such as the Union Jack, making their way to the tops of numerous Christmas trees.’

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