If you’ve started your festive celebrations with a trip to buy the Christmas tree and are now wondering how to transform your forest tree into the centrepiece of your Christmas decorations, read on for our Christmas tree decorating tips.
If you haven’t yet bought your tree, you might like to read our guide to Buying a Wonderful Christmas Tree.
PICK A GOOD POSITION
Before you start to decorate your tree, clear the furniture and make space to lay out your decorations. Christmas jumper, music and festive drink may help. Test your lights. Buy new lights if necessary.
Try to put your tree in a not too busy part of the room so that it doesn’t get knocked and bashed into, ensuring that it’s well away from any radiator or fire that will dry it out. If you have mains powered lights you’ll need to put the tree close to a socket to avoid trailing wires, but not so close that you have to crawl under the tree every day to turn the lights on and off.
If you have the space, try standing the tree in the middle of the room so it can be admired from all sides; a little used conservatory is ideal. Site your tree in a bay window and let passers-by share a little of your joy.
TWIRL AND TRIM
Place your tree stand on a mat or cloth to protect the floor throughout December, secure your tree in the stand and make sure it’s standing up straight. Twirl it around so that the best side faces the room and take a critical look. Use secateurs to trim back any branches that spoil the shape or stop you pushing the tree close to the wall.
A tree 1.8 metres high will need about 10 metres of lights. You can wind one long set around the tree, like a maypole or for a different look, use three shorter sets. Starting at the top and working downwards, zig-zag one set of lights backwards and forwards across the front of the tree and then repeat with the other two sets down each side.
BAUBLES AND GLITTERY THINGS
Choose a simple colour scheme. You can read about this year’s Christmas decorating trends here. Some people like to buy a few new baubles each year and it’s a good idea to have at least three of each kind for impact. Mix old and new baubles but be selective and keep to your colour scheme rather than throwing every decoration onto the tree.
Leftover baubles can be piled into glass vases or bowls, used to decorate a second tree or stored away for next year.
Make the most of the ethereal qualities of some Norway Spruce trees by hanging delicate baubles and a simple string of lights. Nordman fir trees are dense and consequently ideal for a bountiful display of large baubles and dramatic decorations.
Once your lights are in place, decorate your Christmas tree with a pack of inexpensive plain baubles to make a good base for your decorations.
Hang larger baubles closer to the centre of the tree and smaller ones towards the ends of the branches to create depth.
Next, hang your special and more decorative ornaments evenly around the tree. It’s best to hang the large ornaments and baubles first and fill the gaps with the smaller ones, making sure your precious or breakable decorations are high enough to be out of harm’s way.
THE STAR OF THE SHOW
Finally, add your tree topper. Traditionally, the Christmas tree was topped with a star representing the Star of Bethlehem or an angel but nowadays you can find all sorts of tree toppers from owls and stag heads to fairies and snowflakes. Make sure your tree topper is safe and not likely to topple. You might need to cut off the top few centimetres or tape a small stick to the trunk steady your tree topper.
STAND BACK AND ADMIRE
Your Christmas tree should now look magnificent. Fill the stand with water and keep it topped up thoughout December so that your tree looks its best until Christmas.