HOW TO DECORATE A CHRISTMAS TREE
The Christmas tree is one of the most recognisable images there is. Its bushy, tapered silhouette is the universal symbol for Christmas (and car air fresheners). A Christmas tree can be beautiful, elegant and full of wonder. It’s such a shame then, that’s it’s an absolute nightmare to put up.
They say half of all marriages end in divorce – well two thirds of those divorces ended over an argument about proper bauble distribution. It’s a hard job decorating a tree, so we’ve provided a handy guide that will hopefully help you avoid the pitfalls that beset so many families at this difficult time of year. Our thoughts go out to you.
- Pick a tree – it sounds like a simple decision but it’s not. Do you pick a real tree? A fake one? Do you pick one that has Christmas lights already attached? If so, do you return the boxes of lights you’ve already bought? Do you pick one of those singing and dancing ones? What do you do with it when your patience has been crushed by a plastic pine tree warbling ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ at all hours of the night? Do you go for a fibre optic tree and pretend you’re celebrating Christmas in the future? Or do you just stick a bauble on a cactus and be done with it?
- Decide where you want the tree to go – don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure, it’ll get moved later when you realise the lights are casting a glare on the TV.
- Construct your tree – this only applies to those who have bought a fake tree. (If you have to construct a real tree then return it, you’ve been sold a dodgy one.) Start to piece the branches together, one level at a time. Make sure it tapers to a point at the top, if it tapers in any other way, you’ve done it wrong.
- Stand the tree up – you will have a sense of completion at seeing the tree upright. This won’t last. It will fall down. Twice.
- Pick a colour scheme – green, gold and red is the classic Christmas combination, but don’t be scared to try something different. Purple and silver, flaming orange and teal, matt black – whatever you think is right. Bear in mind that you’ll get half way through decorating before you realise you don’t have enough fuchsia-coloured tinsel.
- Attach your lights – best to get these on first for two reasons – one; you can hide the wires with the rest of the decorations and two; it will take most of the week to untangle them. Arrange spaciously in some sort of order and choose a light setting – there will be numerous options – intermittent, constant, flashing, erratic, fit-inducing, dimmer switch on acid – find the right one and ignore the steep rise of your electricity bill.
- Add tinsel – apply liberally, having first sorted through the remnants of last year’s decorations, discarding the ones that look life dead, fluorescent ferrets. Put the most pathetic strips at the bottom of the tree, using baubles to hide any change in width/colour/quality.
- Add baubles – spend an hour furiously trying to thread sting into each bauble, accidentally tying it your finger and cutting off the blood supply at regular intervals. Resign yourself to stapling the baubles on. Once the nicest baubles have been added, turn your attention to the garish ones that you hoped to avoid and include those too.
- Add the heavy/impractical decorations – this will take some time as their sheer weight will drag them off whichever branch you choose. Persevere as the cat will appreciate it when they do they best to tear them down. Include the hanging chocolate decorations, then promptly forget about them until January, when they are past their ‘use-by’ date.
- Finishing off – having argued for longer than you would like over whether you want a star or an angel on top, take the final choice and frantically try to remember how to attach it. Eventually go for a mixture of wedging it on and wrapping branches around it.
There, hopefully that helps.