Our Top Tips For The Season: no. 3

Keeping your Christmas Tree fresh

To keep your Christmas Tree as long as possible, avoid putting it too near a radiator or fireplace. The hotter the interior the more likely it will be to start shedding its needles – part of its natural lifecycle.

Buying it early?

If you are buying it early, keep it outdoors until you are ready to decorate it. Once you bring it in, shave off a small core of the butt just as you would prune cut flowers before they go into a vase.

Keep it damp

Keep trees damp throughout the period you have them in a house either by placing them in a tub full of pebbles and water or wrapping the base with wet newspaper in a stand. They need a surprising amount of water.

Keep it clean!

If you set out a circular skirt out of newspaper, brown paper or wrapping paper at the base of the tree it makes clearing up after Christmas easier. If you are not ready to put your parcels under a tree, try decorating plain with an imprint of potato stamps

Your tree is a canvas

Remember to think of your tree as a canvas when you purchase it; if it isn’t quite symmetrical prune the branches that stick out or seem too close together. The cuttings can be used in decorations elsewhere.

Pick a colour scheme

Pick out a colour scheme to decorate the tree to make the arrangement look more cohesive.

Start with the lights

Start with the lights – we don’t believe you can ever have enough on a tree and these days it is possible to buy solar versions which means they use less energy. Generally 30 lights per foot of the tree look best and tuck the wire away to hide it.

Christmas tree decorations

We have a tradition of buying or making a new decoration every year. It means that when we decorate the tree every year with our children we all have shared memories of the Christmas we had before and gets us into the spirit of the season.

Work your way up the tree

Put the largest baubles at the bottom of the tree and work your way up with smaller ones to the top. Our latest decoration we have is made from a loo paper roll (!). It’s amazing what you can create and then spray with a metallic paint that co-ordinates with your theme.

The mantelpiece

We also get together with our children and a best friend or two to make mantelpiece arrangements, celebrating the occasion with a cup of tea or glass of wine as we work. Cut Nordic pine branches make a good basis for wreaths. They are also a very simple way of decorating a mantelpiece if you don’t want to go to the trouble of doing an arrangement in an oasis. Just add baubles and lighting to make it look festive.

The exterior

Don’t forget to make the exterior of your house look fun too with a wreath on your front door. But also topiarised plants outside like box or bay look wonderful lit with solar outdoor lights. Or you could let your shrubs do the talking for you, like Photinia Red Robin which has lovely flame red leaves.

Or the rest of the house

Bases are important in decorating your house to look stylish at Christmas. All sorts of options are now available from baskets through to solid round metal bases. We also have come across a lovely idea of putting a tiny tree in a pot and placing it on a bedside table, coffee table or somewhere else that looks eye-catching in the house. We have a hall cupboard that works well dressed with a tiny tree in pretty tub.

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