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10 tips for decorating your Christmas tree

1. Get the right tree

Like all great artists, you need the right canvas.

Start by selecting the type of tree, by far the most popular tree in the UK today is the Nordmann fir. It has a good full shape, glossy green colour and importantly excellent needle retention which is important if you still want it to look its best on Christmas day.

When purchasing your tree, make sure to tailor your choice to fit your decorations. A tree with visibly separated branches is best for displaying large ornaments, while a more full-looking tree with branches close together is best for plain, garland-heavy decorating. When it comes to height make sure that you choose a tree that will sit at least 30 centimetres below your ceiling. This takes will allow room for your tree stand and whatever tree topper you will add.

2. Find the perfect location for your tree

To show off your holiday artistry, make sure to place your tree near a large, preferably front-facing window. Just don't put it too close to the window as this will prevent natural sunlight from entering your house and warming the room.

3. Prep the tree

Cut about 2 to 3 centimetres off of the bottom of the tree trunk. Make sure you cut it perfectly straight so the tree will stand upright. Once cut don't leave it too long out of water or the sap will harden and the tree won't be able to soak up water in your stand.

Use a hand saw or strong secateurs to cut any extra limbs off of the bottom too that might get in the way of your tree stand. Then, place it in your tree stand.

Before beginning to hang and decorations, it's important to take the time to separate each individual branch, especially if your tree has been wrapped in netting during transport.

4. Make sure your lighting matches your tree

Walk into any department store and you'll see Christmas lights in a variety of colours. But before purchasing a set, it's important to consider what kind of tree you have and your decorating colour scheme. For starters, the cable should blend in with the tree. That means that green is best for real trees.

As for the colour of the bulbs, try combining two or three colours which complement well and accentuate your tree.

5. Layer your lights

Layering lights can bring add a new dimension to your tree. To do this, wrap white lights somewhat tightly around the interior of your tree—enough to provide illumination, but not so much that they distract from the tree itself. Then, wrap coloured lights around the outside of the tree, using them sparingly as a highlight. With this technique, you'll have a tree that not only shines outward but appears to be alive on the inside as well.

6. Hang your favourite ornaments first

Decorating a Christmas tree is all about striking the right balance. And while finding a middle ground ultimately comes down to your personal taste.

It's easy to rush the decorating process and place your ornaments any haphazard way, just to get it done quick. But if you want your Christmas tree to be the envy of your friends and family, pick out your favourite ornaments and hang them first, making sure they get prominent placement.

7. Creating focal points

Whether using your favourite ornaments or something else try creating five to seven focal points on your tree that will naturally draw your gaze. Whether you use unique pieces, especially large ornaments, or strands of flashing lights interspersed with traditional ones, these focal points will make even the most disorganized of trees appear to be well-thought-out masterpieces.

Not sure how to create focal points on your tree? One easy way to do so is with clusters of ornaments. Try using wire to cluster three or more baubles together. Not only will this help create focal points on your tree, but it will also reduce the amount of time you spend decorating.

8. Adding an extra dimension

To bring more dimension to your tree, hang any other ornaments at various distances from the centre. By placing your ornaments evenly on your tree you can create depth and turn your tree into a true masterpiece. Whatever you do remember to keep in mind the need to maintain balance.

9. Step back and look at your tree

Chances are, your tree is larger—or at least as large—as you are. If that's the case, it's almost impossible to determine whether or not it's evenly decorated when standing right next to it.

So, frequently take a step back and survey it up from afar, as well as from different angles. Unless your tree is in a corner, it's going to be seen from all sides, so you're going to want to make sure it's in tip-top shape every way you look at it!

10. Keep your tree nourished

To keep your tree it looking at its best, it needs to be watered. Place it within a water basin or stand that holds at least 4 litres of water. During the first week after installation, trees will absorb more water than you might think, especially if you have it in a warm living room.

So be vigilant about keeping the stand topped up at all times.

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