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Participate in the Festival of Trees as a Decorator

Anyone Can Participate And All Are Welcome

Registration is open year-round for our 2021 Festival of Trees on Friday, December 3, and Saturday, December 4. 

We encourage creative individuals, groups, and organizations to decorate a tree for the Gamble Garden Festival of Trees.   You may donate and decorate either a tree of up to 4′ tall.

Decorators are responsible for providing the tree, lights, decorations, and display materials for their tree. Decorated trees will be available for purchase by silent auction with proceeds supporting Gamble Garden.

Ready to Begin…

To receive more information about decorating a tree, please join our decorator mailing list and sign up here >>

If you are ready to complete or download a Tree Decorator’s Packet, please download the DECORATORS’ GUIDELINES PACKET

Decorators’ Guidelines

  • Artificial trees only.
  • Maximum height of 4 feet.
  • Trees must be decorated to be viewed from all sides
  • All trees should be decorated and dropped off by 4 pm, Tuesday, November 30, for photos.
  • Each tree will be provided with one electrical outlet.
  • Please do not use food items on or under the tree.
  • New LED lighting only.
  • Decorations may include gift certificates that can be factored into the value.
  • Trees may be moved during the event. Please ensure your decorations are secure to the tree.
  • To be included in the program, please complete and return the Designer Agreement, no later than November 15, 2021.
  • The Festival of Trees Committee reserves the right to exclude any offending or purely commercial exhibit and to impose additional rules and regulations applicable to all exhibits. Upon notification, decorators will be responsible for making changes deemed necessary by the committee staff for safety and quality assurance purposes.

All trees and all decorations, lights, and items on and under the tree become the property of Gamble Garden.


  • Nov 15, 2021 – Form/Packet returned
  • Tuesday, Nov 30 – Tree dropped off by 4 pm
  • Thursday, Dec 2, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm – the Festival of Trees Preview Party. In-person bidding
  • Friday, Dec 3, 9 am – Link to your tree’s auction page emailed to you to share
  • Friday, Dec 3, 10 am – Festival opens with online bidding
  • Saturday, Dec 4, 3 pm – Auction closes, trees available for pickup
  • Week of Dec 6 – Final report sent to each decorator

Recommended Trees

Some of our 2020 Festival of Trees decorators used and recommend the following trees. All should be available on Amazon, Walmart and other online retailers.

  • Vickerman Pre-Lit Flocked Anoka Pine Tree with 50 Clear Mini Lights and Burlap Base, 30-Inch, Flocked White on Green
  • National Tree Company ‘Feel Real’ Pre-lit Artificial Mini Christmas Tree | Includes Small Lights and Cloth Bag Base | Nordic Spruce – 3 ft 
  • National Tree Company ‘Feel Real’ Pre-lit Artificial Mini Christmas Tree | Includes Small Lights and Cloth Bag Base | Nordic Spruce – 2 ft
  • National Tree Company Pre-lit Artificial Mini Christmas Tree | Includes Small Lights and Cloth Bag Base | Majestic Fir – 2 ft


  • Please indicate the value of the tree, decorations, lighting, and all additional material (including gift certificates) on the Decorator’s Agreement form
  • All extra props and decorations under the tree are part of the entry. 
  • All trees and all decorations, lights, and items on and under the tree become the property of Gamble Garden. 
  • The cost of the tree and its decorations should be considered a donation to Gamble Garden. A tax donation form will be provided. 

Tree Themes

Each tree should have a cohesive theme with decorations, color, concept. The tree’s theme should be submitted to Gamble Garden by November 15.

Need help getting started? Take a look at our theme ideas below.

  • “For the Birds” tree with edible items for birds
  • Ski-themed
  • Coastal/Christmas at the Seashore
  • Stanford
  • Legos
  • Trains
  • Golden State Warriors
  • 49ers
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Collection of vintage ornaments
  • Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  • Swedish
  • Citrus
  • Red, White, and Blue
  • California themed
  • Hawaii themed
  • Southwestern themed
  • Jingle Bells
  • White Christmas
  • Winter Forest
  • Hearts
  • Love
  • Hope
  • Stars
  • Milkway
  • Riddles
  • Haikus, poetry theme
  • The Grinch
  • Puppies & Kittens
  • Mittens
  • Artist themed such as Monet, Norman Rockwell, O’Keeffe
  • Teas
  • Dreams
  • Wishes
  • Wands/Magic
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Gingerbread
  • Fairies & Fairy houses
  • Reindeers
  • 12 Nights of Christmas
  • Cocktail Time
  • Flower Garden
  • Kitchen Treasures
  • Scrooge
  • Music notes/themed
  • Elf on the shelf
  • Sports of all types
  • Old-Fashioned Allure
  • All Santa Claus
  • All kinds of snowflakes
  • book themed
  • All animal themed
  • Nativity themed
  • Angels
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint or candy cane
  • Winter floral
  • Holiday spice (clever with cinnamon sticks, cloves, other sachets of spices?)
  • Nutcracker

Decorator Questions

  • Do I need to have any experience, background, etc to be a tree decorator?

No, anyone can be a tree or wreath decorator. We only ask that you follow the guidelines above.

  • How will the tree be auctioned?

We are using Auctria to run the auction completely online. Bidders will place bids via their phone on by computer, remotely. Bidders do not need to be present to bid.

  • Do I need to be present during the event?

No, we welcome you to attend but you do not need to be present at any time during the event. Your tree can be dropped off completed on Tuesday, November 30.

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