Collector Mark Levy offers these tips.
• A prospective purchase should make you smile, and smile again as you imagine your family's reaction. The ornament should be photogenic-would its image work as a holiday card?
• Convert a wacky beach-shop souvenir or sun-catcher into an ornament by attaching fishing line.
• Outdoor wire "twig" trees need different arrangements and lighting than traditional trees. Balance ornaments that belong in the background with those that stand out as stars. For instance, boats, lighthouses, stained-glass fish, tin creatures, and glass globes can create a nautical background. The foreground can belong to larger-than-life personalities.
• Add a sliding dimmer switch to an extension cord to allow for custom illumination on a prelit tree. The result will enhance rather than distract from the ornament display.