Let’s get this party rollin and start decorating! If you haven’t already put up and decorated your Christmas tree, now’s the time.
One of my favorite sights to see, other than a dog’s head hanging out a car window, is a Christmas tree tied on top of a car. Makes me happy. Now that the holiday season is officially upon us, I get to see this a lot.
I am frequently asked what kind of Christmas tree I buy every year, and my answer is the Fraser fir.
Why, you ask? For many reasons.
For starters, Fraser firs have a great shape, the branches are always nicely spaced and they have beautiful dark green needles. And, too, its needles hang on longer than other evergreen trees, such as pines and spruces. Fraser firs exude that ever-important Christmas tree fragrance, and in my opinion, they are the best trees for decorating indoors. So, hands down the Fraser fir is my go-to Christmas tree.
When shopping for a Christmas tree, always follow these tips:
- Ask how fresh the trees are. If they were cut several weeks ago, then keep walking.
- Look for dark green needles, not yellowish.
- Run your hand along the needles; if a lot of needles drop, then the tree is too old and will not last the entire holiday season.
- Have the tree farmer cut an inch off the bottom before bringing it home. This will help the tree drink water.
- Once home, immediately place your tree in water.
- Ensure that the tree stand adequately fits the tree stump. Don’t force a tree into a stand that is too small.
- No need to drill holes in the bottom of the stump; this does not help the tree drink water.
- Check the tree stand daily, and do not let the water get below the base of the stump.
- Keep trees away from all heat sources, such as fireplaces, heat registers, direct heat vents and direct sunlight.
Now that the tree is up and in its stand, it’s time to string on the lights. A good rule of thumb is that 100 lights are needed per foot of tree. For example, if you have a 7-foot tree, you will need 700 lights. Before you string the lights, plug them in to make sure they are all in working condition; no burnouts.
There are no definite rules on how to string lights on a Christmas tree, but there are two methods I go by that will make your tree sparkle for the season. My first method is to simply wrap the tree with the strands. Start at the top and wrap around the tree in a clockwise motion, weaving the lights from the trunk to the outer edge and back again. Continue this pattern, but only joining three strands of lights together; plug in the third strand and then start new with the fourth. This is according to manufacturers directions.
The second method I recommend is to wrap each individual branch with the lights. This method does require more strands of lights, but it ensures that the entire tree is full of sparkling lights. Again, starting at the top and on the inside closest to the trunk, wrap the lights around a branch to the outer most end, then wrap back to the inside of the tree overlapping only a couple times, then move to the next branch. This method is certainly more time-consuming and the least glamorous part about decorating your tree, but the effect is a bright one.
To ensure your tree is stable and doesn’t topple over, I recommend tying it off. Wrap a narrow rope or a heavy gauged wire around the tree trunk, and tie it to a cup hook secured to the wall or a molding. This is a good insurance policy against curious toddlers and overzealous pets.
And lastly, I always plop a few milligrams of vitamin C in with the water every couple of days or so. Everyone has their own theory about feeding their Christmas tree in hopes that the needles stay intact longer, and the experts have their say as well. In my own experience, vitamin C has worked wonders and my vacuum always thanks me for it. Food for thought.
Enjoy trimming your tree!