Roses are red, and Christmas trees are, too! Red (along with green) has long been associated with the holiday season. The bright shade is typically used for ornaments, lights, and decorative accents. This year, why not think outside the box and style a red Christmas tree?

Sports themed red artificial Christmas tree featuring football and gold Christmas ornaments and red accents in the background

In this post, we list down some theories on how red became a staple holiday hue. Discover its complementary colors, different shades, and what they stand for. Explore red Christmas tree décor ideas for all your occasions throughout the year.

How Red Became a Traditional Christmas Color

Did you know that it probably had religious roots? According to Wonderopolis®, one theory relates to the birth of Jesus Christ. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus (and green represents everlasting life).

Another theory dates back to the 14th century when churches would stage the Paradise Play, a re-enactment of the Adam and Eve story. To represent the Paradise tree, pines were decorated with red apples. Eventually, decorating Christmas trees with apples and ornaments became a tradition.

Colored illustration of red Christmas ornaments on a green background
Colored illustration of bishop Saint Nicolas, the inspiration behind Santa Claus

Of course, red is also associated with Santa. As you may know, the character is based on St. Nicholas, a bishop in Turkey around 280 AD. There are many legends about him. But, according to History.com he was known for his kindness and generosity. This is why he eventually became the inspiration for gift-giving jolly Santa Claus.

St. Nick was depicted in robes of different colors like blue and green in different countries. Later, red became the distinctive color of his costume. He became the plump, jolly figure of Christmas we know today. National Geographic credited this shift to political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1880s). NPR attributed it to an iconic Coca-Cola ad illustrated by Haddon Sundblom (1931). No matter the origin, we now know Santa as the lovable guy in the red suit. He’s one of the main reasons red will remain a traditional Christmas color.

Colored illustration of Santa Claus carrying a bag of gifts

Shades and Symbolisms of Red

Many things are known for being red in color like certain fruits, wine, fire, and lipstick. It also has countless shades that range from light to bright to deliciously dark.

The light and dark shades of the color red including tomato, tango red, candy cane red, lipstick red, cranberry, and maroon

This rich hue means many things, too. It represents unconditional love, passion, and bravery. It’s supposedly so powerful that it can have various effects on the mind and body. Some examples are preventing you from overeating or giving you a winning edge, according to Health.com. People who love the color are typically bold and confident. For them, making a statement is like a second nature.

Color Combinations to Try with a Red Christmas Tree

Choose a Treetopia red Christmas tree if you’re looking for a way to express your unique sense of style. Their vibrant foliage and lush needles look stunning bare or decorated. Select from different sizes and lighting options to suit your space and theme.



Wondering how to decorate a red Christmas tree? Get inspired by these hot color combinations. Use ornaments from your existing collection, or have fun buying or crafting new ones.

Decoration color combinations that work on red Christmas trees, such as white and silver, pink and platinum, and green and gold

Red Christmas Tree Themes for a Happy Ho-ho-holidays

Maybe you want to keep it classic with red ornaments, holly, ruby-colored tinsel, and Santa snow globes. But, if you want to go the extra mile, decorate an artificial tree that’s red from the tip of its topmost branch down to its matching stand. We have cheerful decorating ideas for you to explore if you’re looking for red Christmas tree inspiration.

North Pole Express

Bring out your collection of white Christmas ornaments and decorate a tree inspired by the whimsical workshop of Santa Claus. Think snowman or Santa Claus figurines, snowflake ornaments, and icicle-shaped decorations. Erin of @eringetsfresh also added a few bright green Christmas balls that give her two-toned theme a cheerful pop of color.

Jennifer Perkins created a Santa-themed extravaganza with her patterned and pink trees. She decked her Candy Cane Christmas tree with pink dollhouse ornaments, while her pink centerpiece featured red and white Christmas balls.

Dramatic and Monochromatic

Pile on the reds for a truly bold look like @geulden_eye. Assorted Christmas ornaments and ribbons of the same color were used. Their varying textures gave this red Christmas tree depth and character.

Here’s a fun idea for a red and white tree. Color-coordinate ornaments according to the tree section you’re decorating. Have even more holiday fun by getting the family to wear matchy-matchy striped jammies.

Bright and Bohemian

Do you have colorful tissue paper lying around? Why not turn it into red Christmas tree decorations? JaderBomb did just that for her red pre-lit pencil tree decorating theme. She also added vintage glass ornaments and spray-painted pinecones to complete the bohemian vibe.

Pastels and Candy Canes for the Holidays

White and pink are great accents for red. Take it from Anh Lin of Girl & The Word. She paired a patterned Christmas tree with her pad’s feminine color palette. The result? An edgy yet sweet Christmas scene.  

‘Round the Year with a Rosy Red Tree

Go beyond Christmas and ring in other special occasions with a red Christmas tree. Here are ways to dress it up for different celebrations throughout the year.

A Totally Sweet Valentine’s Day

If you don’t have a red and white Valentine’s Day tree like Jennifer Perkins, use a white garland to create a striped effect. Then, mix and match heart-shaped decorations in different sizes along with sparkly ornaments.

Tip: Prepping for Hearts Day? Read our blog post for pretty Valentine Trees and Sweet Decorating Ideas.

Sports-Themed Red Christmas Tree

Support your favorite sports team with a red tree! Many teams use red as their primary or secondary team color. Think the NFL’s New York Giants and Buffalo Bills. As tribute to either of these teams, put navy and white ribbons on a red tree. If you’re rooting for the MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, pepper your tree with white ornaments. There’s also the NBA’s Miami Heat or the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cheer for either by decorating with mini black ornaments or golden garlands.

Tip: Score more tips for game day! Check out our blog on Sports-Themed Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas.

Tree of Valor for Patriotic Holidays

Show your American pride for Labor Day, Independence Day, and other patriotic holidays. It’s all about red, white, and blue, so deck your red Christmas tree ornaments in the same shades as Old Glory. Or, if you have a white and blue tree along with a red one, stack a section of each together. Then, use garlands, ribbons, and other ornaments for your DIY version of our Stars and Stripes tree.

Tip: Planning a patriotic party or an all-American home makeover? Head over to this blog post for more Independence Day tree inspiration.

Random Red-Letter Days

Why not make a saucy statement for Burger Day? Say cheers to Thanksgiving with a rosy autumn tree because wine not? A scarlet centerpiece for a gory Halloween theme is spot on, don’t you think? Get creative and use a red Christmas tree to celebrate your special days in unique ways.

Tip: Want to express your gratitude this Thanksgiving? Then say thanks with a festival of fall Christmas trees.

Red on Repeat

Aside from its rich history and versatility, red is an expressive color. It’s used in various art forms like painting, literature, and even music to convey a strong message that is full of emotion.

Here are a few music playlists from Spotify to inspire you while decorating your red Christmas tree. These feature songs that have the word “red” in either the album or band name:

K-Pop Group Red Velvet

Red Album by Taylor Swift

Rock Band Red Hot Chili Peppers

So, which red Christmas tree theme is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments section. Or, share this with family and friends who are looking for red-hot decorating inspiration.

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