The centrepoint of Christmas for many families, the Christmas tree is a striking symbol of comfort, warmth and festivity. But how do you pick the right one? There’s big ones, small ones, green ones, blue ones – and that’s not even getting into lights, baubles, tinsel (the Marmite of the Christmas tree) and more.
So, we’ve pulled together everything we know about Christmas trees into a simple, 3-step guide. Feel free to click away to the deeper content, or just stay here for the most straightforward way to get a Christmas tree that works for you. And if you really don’t feel like reading a lot, the guide is as follows:
- Pick a tree that fits your space
- Decorate it how YOU want to
- Water it where you can, and keep it cool
Couldn’t be simpler! And if you’re worried about the possibility of a 2021 Christmas tree shortage, click here to find out how you can avoid disappointment this Christmas.
A Christmas Tree That Fits Your Space
This may be too big
Put simply, get a tape measure out and size up the space you want to put your tree in. If you’re going for a tree you want to keep outdoors you can go as big as you like, but bear in mind the difficulty of getting electricity over to it (if lights are your thing) or keeping a stepladder steady on a lawn.
With measurements in hand, you can shop for Christmas Trees knowing how big you can go – but also think about how small you’re willing to go if budget becomes a concern. There’s also the width to consider – Fraser Firs are a bit closer together at the bottom, while Spruces and the Nordmann Fir flare out more widely towards the base.
3:2 is probably a pretty good estimate for the height vs the width (a 6ft Christmas tree with a 4ft footprint), so make sure you’ve got enough space clear around your tree and you’re not poking your dinner guests in the back or covering the TV. For more help on choosing a tree, take a look at our guide to finding The Best Christmas Tree For Your House.
Once you’ve picked your tree, it’s on to the super fun part – decorating!
Decorate It How You Want It
A fine looking tree – if a little close to the fire
Don’t be convinced to go for multicoloured lights just because Jim and Nora from across the road have gone for the whole colour wheel in their windows. Do what you want to do (or what the kids want, whatever leads to family harmony), and take your pick from warm, cool or neutral colour palettes.
Go lights crazy and tinsel mad, or strip it right back to 8 baubles and a classy star. Choose colourful, choose white and silver, green and gold, or every clashing colour you can think of – we’re not going to tell you what to do, other than to do what you want. It’s your tree after all.
There’s different areas to decorating a Christmas tree, from the tippity-top (Angel or Star?) to the bulk of the body (tinsel, lights, both, none?), through the base (tree skirts or exposed ankles?) to the surrounding area (walls, ceilings, coffee tables and more). Whether cluttered or concise, take your pick and plan accordingly.
“Looks like enough water, Dad, you can turn the hose off now”
Christmas tree care is oft overlooked, leading to lots of needle drop and trees that don’t quite make it to the 12th Day of Christmas and all those drummers drumming. Keep your tree away from heat sources like fires and radiators, and give it a little drink every week or so (just add water to the stand/base) to keep it looking fresher for longer.
If you’re able to, keeping it outside until you’re ready to have the family round can keep it healthy, full of sunlight and sprinkled showers. However, we know this isn’t possible for everyone so you don’t need to worry too much about it!
For more info and a more in-depth read on Christmas tree care, check out this Care for your Christmas Tree guide!