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  Think of using a theme, whether for your Christmas tree, or little table top trees, or throughout the house. A page of ideas to get you started.

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Tree tips:

    buying a live tree?
  • dig the planting hole before the ground freezes, store the soil
  • keep the tree in an unheated area away from wind
  • keep the tree inside a week, no more than two
  • mist the branches
    buying a cut tree?
  • daytime buying to inspect freshness
  • check the stems and needles for flexibility and moisture
  • remember to slice a few inches off the bottom of the trunk
  • keep the trunk in a water reservoir, don't let it dry.
  • situate away from heat sources
  • guywire your tree if you have small children

If you get your decorations out of the boxes and find that your bows on your wreaths are crushed, there is hope! Pull out the curling iron, heat it up and straighten up those wrinkles and places that are smashed and wrinkled. A great way to have fresh-looking bows year after year.

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A final note is a hint on taking down the lights when the holiday is over: "Taking down umpteen strings of lights is a one person job! Dad never reuses the original packing. He carefully winds the strings fist to elbow and gently lays them into a 16 gallon rubber container. (This is when small children are not invited to help....they're inside with Mom putting away the fragile ornaments!....poor Mom."
~ from

the wonder of the tree One of my fondest Christmas memories is of viewing the sparkling Christmas tree and listening to Christmas carol music. For many the tree has an important place in their holiday celebration.

The Christian association of the evergreen tree seems to have started with St. Boniface, who used some of the symbolic meanings of the German tribes to illustrate concepts of Christian faith. So from the German traditions the Christmas tree has been part of the decorations of Christmastime.
To help create the effect you imagine, I have a few helpful hints:



Whether choosing specialty lights or certain colors, remember to use plenty of light strings. Quantity is important in this case. I like to be sure to tuck some lights within the trunk area. This will back light many of your ornaments for a pretty effect.

Simple formula for Christmas lights: Tree height X Tree width X 3 = Number of Lights ~I use more than what this appears to compute to. But the hint came from Men's Health- and you GUYS are s'posed to know what you're doing.



The same idea of placing balls within the inner parts of the branches gives sparkle and depth. The Christmas tree is your own artistic composition, and the ornaments are the expression of your feelings about Christmas.

The strongest message is what could be called a 'theme'. This can be a color, style, or subject. It could be a combination of those things, whatever you and your family chooses and likes.

Use the law of perspective to your advantage by arranging the bulb ornaments in decreasing size as you move up the tree. Largest size balls at the bottom, medium midway , and small towards the top of the tree.
If you can, use repetitive combinations or objects and spots of color throughout the tree. An example would be the same bows or angel ornaments.


Added Touches

Some prefer trees with strands of tinsel and with garlands. I do think a garland finishes the tree.It can be anything from simple twists of ribbon to hand strung popcorn. It can be any sort of glass beads or boas of tinsel, there are many options available.

If you use strands of tinsel, whether delicately or generously, it is important to take your time. These look best if hanging vertically like icicles. When they catch the light and shimmer with the air movement the tree seems to sparkle.

One of my childhood memories is of some Christmas holidays at an Aunt's house. She had a beautiful HUGE tree each year, and I can remember that she felt the tree was not finished until lots of tinsel was strewn on the branches. She was very particular and carefully placed small tufts throughout the tips of each branch. It was always very effective, catching the light and glimmering with the air movement.


Tips for a Natural Tree

A once living evergreen is like a giant cut flower, it needs water to rise through the channels in the stem to endure the indoor heat and look its best. First, slice off a few inches from the bottom of the trunk, place in a water reservoir, and remember to add water every day until the uptake tapers off. If you keep the water topped up, the evergreen branches should stay lovely throughout the holiday. A tree that is 5 feet tall or higher needs a tree stand to hold 1 gallon of water. Try to situate your tree away from sources of heat.

Of three types of trees commonly available, pine, spruce, and fir, cut spruces have the poorest needle retention. They tend to shed their needles very quickly in warm rooms. Freshly cut fir trees have excellent needle retention, the Scotch pine needles usually stay on from four to six weeks.

Remember my tip of guy-wiring the tree? If you have children or pets, you won't be sorry.


Tips for an Artificial Tree

[disclaimer: I never wanted or used artificial trees, but for those who do I found this list] Check the number of branch levels. Higher quality trees have more levels. Trees should extend close to the floor. Check the width of the bottom level. Mass market trees tend to have narrower profiles. Look for trees with full, wide base diameters. The center pole should be wrapped. Check to see if the tips are mounted on the branches all the way to the center pole. There should not be empty space in the center of the trees. Check the overall profile and shape of the tree. Trees with uniformly placed branches best for ultimate fullness and shape. If you choose a hinged tree you can fold it up lights and all for next year.
Another hint: If you decide on an artificial tree, it is a good idea to give it a good going over with a vacuum cleaner, either right before it is decorated, or just before it is packed away after the holidays. If this isn't done, an artificial tree will get quite dusty, since it is of course used year after year instead of just once.

a warm Christmas home