The Pineapple Christmas Tree at The Marshall House
How to Decorate Your Own Pineapple Tree
The pineapple, the symbol of hospitality, is well-known and much-loved in Savannah, Georgia. At The Marshall House, we love it so much, we’ve been decorating our Christmas tree as this fabulous fruit for nearly 20 years!
A few years back, the hotel’s traditional Pineapple Tree got a little make-over by Melanie Waldo of Heart and Soil. She's the brains and skill behind most of our awesome plants, flowers, and Christmas decorations at all six of the inns in our Historic Inns of Savannah collection. We asked Melanie for a How-To guide for guests who’d like to replicate the tree at home.
What You’ll Need:
* A real tree. The fatter, the better.
* Garden tools (loppers and hedge trimmers for shaping the tree)
* 600-1000 white lights
* The net (instructions below)
* Approximately 45 golden ball shatterproof ornaments (hot glue 3 ornaments together in a cluster, repeat with all ornaments)
* 12 large real sago palm fronds
* Six to 10 small artificial sago palm fronds (optional, but helpful as they are flexible and help make a realistic topper)
* Green and golden pipe cleaners
* A hot glue gun
How to Make the Net:
The key for preparing the net is selecting a good quality of the cord/piping. While it can be done with thin, less expensive cord, a thicker piping makes a much more elegant end product. For The Marshall House’s large tree, we purchased 320 yards of drapery piping at an art & crafts store.
1. Measure a doubled-strand of piping against the height of your tree. Your piping strands need to be twice as long as your tree is tall, so run the piping from the bottom of the tree, to the top and back again. Cut the piping. Repeat 16-24 times, depending on your tree size and thickness.
2. With the piping folded in half, begin with a knot at the center point, forming a loop. Later, these loops will be tied together to cinch the net in place on the tree.
3. Continue tying the knots in the double strands, approximately every 12 inches. If your tree is smaller you might want to adjust the spacing of the knots.
4. Lay two strands next to each other and attach them with pipe cleaners. (Gold looks better, but for demonstration in the photo below, we used green). Continue to attach strands together until you have used all of your cords. Do not worry if you think the net looks very messy and boring on the floor. It will look great once it is on the tree!
How to Install:
1. Cut the top of your tree off. (Melanie suggests this part of your tree can be used as a small “Charlie Brown” tree in the kids’ room).
2. Start trimming the tree to get the typical pineapple shape. You want to cut off all the longer tips as well a good amount around the bottom.
3. Once you are happy with the tree’s new “pineapple-like” shape, string the lights to your liking.
4. For the pineapple crown, start by twisting 2-3 green pipe cleaners together end-to-end to create a long piece for tying the palm tree fronds together.
5. Take 2-3 of the longer real sago palm fronds and tie them straight to the top. Keep connecting more pipe cleaners while you tie additional fronds to the tree. We used artificial fronds as well, especially along the bottom, because they can be manipulated to achieve a more authentic pineapple crown.
6. Next, lay the net on the floor, and pull some extra piping through the loops at the top of the tree. Then, drape it around the tree. The key is to have a few additional hands to help. While the net can be stretched out a little bit, it cannot be pulled too much. It is important to get it over the tree evenly. Tie it right underneath the crown. Loose strings close to the floor can be used to tie these ends under the tree.
7. For the final touch attach the ornament clusters randomly.
8. We finished our tree off with white poinsettias around the base, but we hope yours will have presents!