Everyone seems to have their own approach to decorating the Christmas tree. Some use nostalgic ornaments and handmade crafts, others want a very formal, themed tree. At some houses, they’ll have one of each! Whether you’re decorating your first tree, looking to change things up, or want to have better decorating practices, this is the blog for you. Believe it or not, when it comes to decorating the tree there is a right and wrong way to string lights, hang ornaments, care for your tree, and more. Keep reading for our best tips!
You might have a real tree, you might have opted for a fake tree. But whatever your preference, there are some maintenance needs to keep your tree looking beautiful as long as possible.
For an authentic tree, water is key. The outer layer of wood on the tree trunk is essential to absorbing water, so never cut off the ends to make it fit your stand. Also make sure your stand can hold enough water for your tree. The rule of thumb is one quart of water per inch of diameter of the stem. Some people use aspirin or fertilizer to make the freshness of the tree last longer, but this is a myth! Plain water is best to keep your tree looking beautiful. As long as you keep the stand full of water and the tree away from heat sources, you shouldn’t have to worry about it drying out until after Christmas. For more tips, check out the National Christmas Tree Association site.
For an artificial tree, most of the care is with storage. If you can, store your tree in the same box it came in and tape it shut to keep out moisture and insects. If you don’t have the box, a heavy bag will work. Store it in a cool, dry place so the materials don’t get damaged. Also try to keep it away from any areas where it might fall or get crushed. Be extra careful if your tree is pre-lit to not damage any of the cords. After a few years, you may find that your tree needs to be cleaned. Use a brush attachment on your vacuum and a damp dusting cloth to carefully dust and clean your tree. Always start at the bottom in the center in case the vacuum is too powerful.
Lighting Your Tree
Did you know there’s a proper way to light a Christmas tree? Amateurs simply lay the wire on top of the branches and move down the tree in a big spiral. Professionals know that to really create a glamorous tree, a different approach is needed.
Begin at the top of the tree and work your way down. This will ensure you don’t have an awkward half string of lights to deal with when you get to the end. To string the lights, start at the trunk of the tree, move towards the tip of the branch, back to the trunk, and repeat! This creates more depth to your tree and illuminates it to it’s full potential. This works for real or fake trees, but the strength of the needles and branches may affect how you pull this off.
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For example, this illustration shows going up and down a single branch because of the strong, even branches of the artificial tree. A real tree may have long, soft needles and skinny branches, so you would need to go up the center of the branch, over to the next, and back to the trunk.
Decorating the Tree
Now that your tree is lit, it’s time to decorate! The next step is to add garland. You want the garland to be evenly spread out, but there are no real rules to how exactly it should look. If you want a more eclectic look, you can mix several types of garland (metallic, natural, thin, and full). Or, you can leave it off altogether for a more natural look that emphasizes the other decor.
The final step is hanging the ornaments. Begin with your favorites to make sure they get prime spots on the tree. Then place your largest ornaments to make sure they’ll have room, and finish by filling in with smaller decorations. Colors, themes, and shapes are all up to you! You can check out our 2016 Holiday Decorating Trends blog for inspiration for your tree and more.