This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Select one with special reference to the space it is to occupy. One with branches firm and quite tall is best: The upper branches should be decorated before the tree is set up; tie upon the tips of the boughs with cotton-batting snowballs, strings of cranberries, tinsel, glittering ornaments, etc. The decoration of the tree may be more or less elaborate, as desired. To insure a brilliant effect, it is a good plan to hang the gifts so that bright contrasting colors may set off the tree. Dolls, gaily painted toys, bright silk handkerchiefs, scarfs, etc., should be placed in prominent view. When the gifts are all nicely arranged, take a liberal quantity of frosting and packages of tinsel, and ornament as much space as possible and cover lightly the front and the sides of the tree with it. Then sprinkle the glittering frost powder upon the tree branches. Under a bright light the tree becomes a veritable creation of fairyland. But at this season of the year more than this should be attempted. A few flags, some Chinese lanterns and boughs of cedar, spruce or hemlock, hung and fastened throughout the store, will be very appropriate. Do not be afraid of having your store too attractive—you can not overdo it. It is a season of rejoicing and people will tolerate a great deal of this; in fact, you must do a considerable amount of it before it will be noticed at all. Appropriate mottoes, made in various ways, will be appreciated. Nice mottoes can be made from pasteboard letters, covered with cotton batting, over which should be sprinkled silver powder. Or, better still, they can be made with pasteboard, gold or silver paper, and gummed letters.