Twelve Tips for Decorating a Christmas Tree By Enid Edginton Sometimes decorating a Christmas tree can seem so complicated that you feel like singing "Uh oh Christmas tree" rather than "Oh Christmas tree". Whether you are decorating a natural evergreen or an artificial tree here are some tips for making the entire experience a little less disorganized. 1. I know this article is supposed to be about decorating a Christmas tree but let's start first with removing the decorations. Think back to last year. Did you just strip everything off the tree and throw it in a box? Are your Christmas tree lights all gnarled up into a snarl? Are the limbs of your artificial prelit Christmas trees actually stuffed inside your golf bag? This is how you end up with a bad case of Uh oh Christmas tree. I am sure you have heard of that old saying "as it begins, so it ends and so it begins again." This applies to decorating a Christmas tree as well. This year, you are going to swear to pack up everything in an organized way so that you don't waste time sorting through damaged ornaments and piles of old tinsel. 2. Whether or not your tree looks really good might be dependent on what kind of tree you choose. Believe it or not there are some species of trees that are easier to decorate than others. Pine is the type of evergreen tree that is voted most likely to lose its needles and turn into a version of the pathetic Charlie Brown Christmas tree. The best types of trees when it comes to holding ornaments are firs and spruces. This is because their branches are the sturdiest. Of course if you are decorating an artificial prelit tree than this tip is really not much use to you. 3. If you are decorating a Christmas tree that is real make sure it is fresh. You can tell if a tree is fresh or not by bending the branches. If the branches bend a bit that means it is full of moisture and more likely to support a Christmas decoration. If it snaps, don't buy it. It is too dry to support decorations and likely to spill its needles all over your floor too. 4. If you are buying a natural tree, remember to put the Christmas mat below it before you put it on the stand. Some Christmas tree skirts and mats come with a slit in the center and buttons or Velcro fastens others. Make sure you note what kind you have before you t the tree on the stand as you can't slip a Christmas tree skirt over the tree's head like a person would a sweater. 5. When decorating a Christmas tree make sure that you unsnarl the lights before you try to drape them around the tree. It is also safest to make sure all the bulbs are working before you try to do this too. There is a tiny chance that if you try to change burned out Christmas bulbs while they are on the tree that a spark could ignite the tree and turn it into a Christmas candle. 6. You may have heard that decorating a Christmas tree with electric light bulbs is much safer than decorating them the old fashioned way with candles. This is true as long as you obey one cardinal rule: don't rest a bulb directly against the branches of the tree. Like the old fashioned candles, hot Christmas bulbs can heat up needles and catch fire. This is especially true if you shopped for a Christmas tree at the last minute and ended up with a dry tree. The absolutely safest trees to buy are prelit artificial Christmas trees as some of them have automatic shut-down features if they get too hot. 7. If you have lots of pets and children running around during the holiday season an artificial prelit tree might be safer than a natural one with bulbs strung around it. There is less risk of tiny fingers pulling bulbs down or getting electrocuted. There is also less danger of pets and children swallowing the needles that are shed from natural trees. 8. Decorating Christmas trees is ultimately all about proportion. When hanging decorations put the largest sized decorations at the bottom and the smallest one at the top. The effect is just more pleasing to the eye. 9. When decorating a Christmas tree it is best not to throw clumps of tinsel at the tree as if they were handfuls of spaghetti. The most attractive effect is achieved by hanging clumps of tinsel just at the very edges of each branch. Think a bit about how real icicles look when they are hanging from real trees. 10. Do choose a theme for your tree. Choosing a theme and sticking with it gives you the most fashionable looking tree. You can choose a color theme - sticking to gold, silver and red or pink and gold only (which looks great on a white prelit artificial tree) or you can style the tree after traditions such as the German style tree (decorated mostly with food), the Victorian style tree (decorated with tiny detailed ornaments and lots of angels) or the Country style tree (decorated with glass balls, wooden ornaments and plenty of flocking to simulate snow.) 11. When decorating a Christmas tree remember to make it uniquely yours by adding heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation. Another nice touch is Christmas cards or cookies and candies that you have made in your own kitchen. This gives your Christmas tree a unique personal touch. 12. Whether you are decorating a natural or prelit artificial tree remember that less is always more. Otherwise the tree could look much cluttered is not just the general rule of thumb of Christmas tree decorating. It is a golden rule that applies to all interior decorating.
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