It’s that time of year when Christmas is just around the corner and thoughts of the festivities mean preparing your home for the occasion. Whether you go all out during the festive season or prefer to add smaller touches to the home, I think we can all agree on the importance of a breathtaking tree. Festooned with glistening lights, eye-catching baubles and topped with a shining star, no other centrepiece compares.
Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
- Shop around for the best tree
Before I buy my tree, I make sure to shop around so I know I’m getting the best value for money and the best quality I can afford. For example, I’ve purchased trees from a pop-up seller before because I could see they were authentic, beautifully proportioned, value for money and I received great tips on how to maintain the tree throughout the Christmas period. It’s easy to get into a cycle of always buying your tree in the same place but I would encourage to shop around if you have the time.
I’ll often browse the web to see how places such as Homebase are selling them this year, there’s often new sizes, treatments and dressings that create new choices you may not have considered. Once I’ve looked online I’ll then try and pop in to have a browse before making a final decision.
This year I decided on Homebase who had a vast selection of many different sizes and styles of trees. We went for a ‘Fraser Fir’, a carefully pruned non needle-drop tree with a lovely scent of balsam. It is a living tree which can be planted after Christmas.
2. Plan a colour theme before you go shopping
I always think it’s nice to have a colour palette planned before you go bauble shopping. It’s so easy to get carried away by so many beautiful and ornate decorations once you’re actually inside a shop – I know this first hand! I would recommend looking for inspiration from places such as Pinterest, Instagram, bloggers and magazines.
If I could start all over again, I would probably go with a white and gold theme, but, like many people, we have a selection of coloured decorations which have built up over the year. The best thing to do here is decide how you would ideally like to style the tree and work your way to this each year by adding a few new pieces to your collection, gradually replacing the old and creating your ideal theme.
This year I have seen some incredible decorations in Anthropology, although £10 per bauble is quite extravagant! White company and Heals are also a favourite while more affordable options are Homebase, M&S and Primark. I tend to buy one or two more premium baubles each year and then buy a bulk pack from a cheaper store as almost ‘filler’ baubles that fit in with the colour theme. John Lewis also has some stunning pieces for the home in general.
3. Tree care
Make sure you maintain your tree for Christmas. The British Association of Christmas Trees (yes such a thing apparently exists!) explains, that provided care is taken in looking after the tree, the tree should survive over 4 weeks. It is suggested that trees should not be purchased earlier than 1st December.
It is part of the life cycle of the conifer tree that it sheds needles and they will accelerate that shedding particularly if they dry out. Some trees do so more quickly than others. The best way to ensure satisfaction is to care for the tree while it is in your home. A tree should be treated like any plant being brought into a warm, dry atmosphere and regularly watered each day.
Container grown treesThese are trees that have been grown for at least one season in their pots. It is often possible to lift the whole root system out of the pot and see the closely woven root which has grown in the pot. The trees themselves should look fresh. The trees will be small and seldom more than three foot. The trees should be watered and cared for as for any house plant. After Christmas they can either be planted out with a very good chance of success or they can be left to grow on in their pot, but it is much better in this case to re-pot the tree in a larger pot. It is seldom possible to re-pot trees in this way for more than one season
It is essential that cut trees should be fresh when purchased. The needles should not be dull and dried up. The branches should not be brittle. The outer needles should not fall off if the tree is gently shaken.After you have bought your tree it should be kept outside in a cool shaded place, preferably standing in water, until it is required indoors. Before bringing the tree indoors it is an advantage if about half an inch is cut off the butt in order to open up the pores of the tree. Mount it in a water-holding stand or wedge it in a bucket with pebbles, small stones or screwed up newspaper, and place it away from direct heat. Keep the container topped up with water every day; you will be surprised how much it needs.