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Christmas Tree Decorating Tips

Staying Alive: A Tree Trimmer's Survival Guide

After spending hours trimming your tree, the last thing you want is a dried-out, needle-dropping mess that barely makes it through the holidays. This year, make your masterpiece last (ahem, until the New Year's, that is) with simple tips any novice can follow!

Before You Decorate

    • Before you place your tree in a stand, cut about an inch off the bottom of the trunk. This helps to remove any hardened sap that may have formed on the bottom and will allow your tree to soak up more water.
    • Once you get your tree home, place it in water as soon as possible.

Choosing a Stand

    • If your tree isn't quite ready for its stand, then you can stick the trunk in a bucket of water and stash it for several days in a cool location.
    • Go for a stand that actually fits your tree — shaving the sides of the tree will remove the outer layers, which soak up most of the water.

Watering Your Tree

    • To figure out how much water your tree stand will need to hold, calculate a quart of water per inch of stem diameter.
    • Check daily to make sure that the water level is always above the base of the tree.

Safety First

    • Keep your tree away from major sources of heat like fireplaces, heaters, and direct sunlight to keep it as fresh as possible. Something as simple as buying smaller lights that don't emit a ton of heat will help!
    • While it's tempting, try to avoid overloading the electrical circuits connected to your tree.
    • Turn off the tree lights when you leave the house or go to bed.

The Fun Part!

    • Lights should be the first decorative element you put on your tree. Start by arranging them on the branches near the base of the tree. Weave the lights along inner branches first, and then move to the outer edges of the branches.
  • After the lights, add your garland, and finish with ornaments. Instead of hanging all your ornaments on the tips of the branches, place some closer to the trunk to add depth.

    Getting Rid of It Responsibly

  • Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, so they can easily be recycled into mulch or used for other purposes. Find out how you can recycle your tree responsibly this year!
Source: Pottery Barn
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