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How to choose and decorate your Christmas tree

It’s a magical moment when the Christmas tree goes up - it means the festive season is here. But just as we can get stuck in a rut with our home décor, it’s all too easy to do the same when it comes to your tree.
Hints & Tips Lifestyle
How to decorate your Christmas tree hero

If you feel like a change this year, whether it’s what tree you choose or how you decorate it, we’ve plenty of inspiration and ideas for you.

Real or artificial?

Many people prefer an artificial Christmas tree as it’s easy, practical, eco-friendly, and saves money. There are two types of artificial tree – the type that can hardly be told apart from the real thing and the stylised tree, which creates the tree shape but can be made of almost anything – think tinsel, sustainable wood, cardboard and even light sculptures.

If you opt for a real tree, you can still think about the environment. Buy it from a reputable local supplier (who sells trees sourced from sustainable forests) or get a potted, living tree.

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Choosing a real tree

Some people combine buying their Christmas tree with a lunch out with the family. A lovely annual tradition, and everybody gets a say.

Look for things like evenly coloured needles that are a rich green colour. Shake the tree to make sure not too many needles fall off. And, of course, measure your ceiling height before you leave home – you want the tree to fit!

When you get your tree home don’t place it too near a fire, as that will dry it out. Place it with its most attractive side facing out into the room, and remember to keep it watered.

Light up your Christmas

The first rule is always to put your lights on before your decorations. That way you can see clearly that they are evenly spaced, and you don’t knock your decorations out of place.

Don’t string your lights only around the very outside, try to space them further in to add a feeling of depth. A large tree can take 500 or 600 lights, while a smaller tree might only need 300. Clear or white lights are a practical choice as they go with different colour schemes.

Layer on the colours

Decide on some key colours that don’t clash with the décor of your living room. Green and white, red and silver, gold and red or silver and red are all popular choices. Or you can go for modern colours such as pinks, blues and purples.

Add your colours one at a time, making sure they’re evenly distributed – this is much more pleasing to the eye than random blocks of colour.

Keep things in proportion

If you have a large tree, make sure the decorations are in proportion, tiny decorations can look fussy and get lost. Multi-packs of baubles in one of your key colours can make a real impact. Thick ropes of tinsel can be wound around in a spiral from the top to the bottom of the tree.

Another approach is to cluster decorations in groups of three, all of the same colour.

Clever co-ordination

Some of us get out the same box of tree decorations out as we do every year. And they seem to multiply. The salt dough stars your child made at nursery school… the knitted mini Christmas stockings from that Christmas fair… the baubles you’ve had forever. Everything gets chucked on under the influence of a glass or two of mulled wine – so that you can hardly see the tree.

That’s all well and good, but if you’d like to go for a more co-ordinated, elegant look this year, it could pay to be more selective and a little less sentimental. You don’t need to throw away those precious mementoes, if you go for a different colour scheme each year, all your favourites will get their turn.

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Anything goes

When decorating your Christmas tree, don’t feel limited to shop bought decorations. Get creative with ribbons or, for a natural look, choose berries, pine cones and mistletoe.

You can even go for a way-out theme if you want to be really different. Look on Pinterest and you’ll find seahorses, flying pigs, elves, Santa hats and even owls in pride of place on top of Christmas trees.

If you love making your home look great, then you’ll enjoy creating a Christmas tree that’s a thing of beauty too. You can go traditional or modern but, by following a few simple rules, your tree is sure to look fabulous, and unique to you and your home. Have fun!

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