You better watch out!
Christmas is right around the corner and Santa is checking his list. Even if you aren't on the nice list this year, you'll still get to partake in a one-time honoured tradition, putting up the Christmas tree.
So, throw on your red hat and suit up. We’re about to tell you everything you need to know about Christmas trees, including some naughty little tricks.
A Short History of Christmas Trees
Christmas celebrations were green long before the first tree was chopped down and dragged inside. Back in the 15th century, people prepared for Christmas by decorating their homes with holly and ivy. It wasn't until the late 16th century that the first Christmas trees came to be.
Christians in Germany began decorating evergreen trees in celebration of the Christmas holiday. The tradition was expanded when Martin Luther added lit candles to the tree as a symbol of stars shining in the night sky. Ornaments started simple but grew in complexity and design as the new tradition spread.
Across countless cultures, evergreen trees and plants have symbolized rebirth and everlasting life. In winter, the people of ancient Egypt used green palm leaves to celebrate the longer days to come and the renewed health of the sun god Ra. Evergreen solstice traditions were also practised by the ancient Romans, early Celts, and Vikings.
Picking Out Your Christmas Tree
The first step to picking out your Christmas tree is deciding whether you want a real tree or an artificial one. There are pros and cons to each option, but at the end of the day, the choice depends entirely on your personal preferences.
Artificial trees are reusable, but you'll miss out on that delicious evergreen smell. They can also be quite expensive, especially if you want one that looks more realistic.
Real trees, on the other hand, are heavy and bulky. They make a mess when they begin to drop their needles. Depending on tree type and size, they can also be quite pricy.
How to Make Your Artificial Tree Feel Real
Start by filling your home with that classic Christmas tree smell. Buy a bag of scented pinecones, or burn evergreen candles. You can even hide scent sticks in the branches of your artificial tree.
If you take your tree out of the box, pop it up, and start throwing on ornaments, it's going to look smooshed and extremely fake. So, before you break out the decoration, you'll need to learn how to fluff a Christmas tree.
Start with the bottom row of branches. Visit each one, taking time to pull the individual sprigs apart. Position some up, some out to the side, and some downward, to simulate natural growth.
Once you are satisfied with the first row, move up to the next one, and so on. When you're finished, your artificial tree will look lush and full. Feel free to readjust the branches as needed while you add ornaments.
How to Decorate a Christmas Tree
Step one for decorating a Christmas tree is to turn on some Christmas music. Get yourself into the spirit of the holiday with a Trans-Siberian Orchestra classic or upbeat Mariah Carey jingles.
Next, take a moment to make sure your tree is appropriately fluffed and positioned for optimal viewing. If you have a real tree, turn it so any bald spots or broken branches are hidden. When that's finished, you'll move on to the lights.
How to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree
There are two rules for putting on Christmas tree lights that you should never forget:
Always make sure the lights work before putting them on the tree.
Always start at the top and work your way down.
If both sides of the tree are visible, say through a window, you'll want to wrap the lights all the way around. When your tree is in a corner, there is no reason to place precious lights out of sight. In this case, wrap your lights almost all the way around, then move down a branch and go back in the opposite direction.
Decoration Dos and Don'ts
Once the lights are twinkling, it's time to break out the decorations. Place smaller decorations on the thinner branches near the top, and heavier ones deeper inside the tree where there is more support. If you have young kids or pets, avoid putting breakable or sentimental decorations near the bottom.
Finally, you'll add the tree topper. Well, there is one last thing. Once all the kids have gone to bed, take some time to hang their Christmas gift card from the tree.
Adding the Christmas Cherry
You've heard of adding the cherry to the top of a sundae? Well, at Christmas time the cherry is no exception, the ornaments are the toppings, and the cherry is all the other decorations around your house. To give your house a true feeling of Christmas, you'll need some or all of the following:
Christmas card displays
Bowls of Christmas chocolates
Wrapped presents for the kids
A jug (or five) of eggnog
A Christmas tree by itself is just a decorative tree. With these finishing touches, you'll have turned your home into a Christmas wonderland.
When to Take Your Christmas Tree Down
There's a lot of debate surrounding this topic.
Some people prefer to take their tree down the day after Christmas. Other Christmas trees remain a fixture until well after the New Year. If you're a stickler for Christmas tradition, you'll want to wait until the "twelfth night," or the 5th of January.
In the end, the best answer to this question is: whenever you bloody well feel like it.
O' Christmas Tree
Putting up Christmas trees is not only symbolic but also a fun way to connect with loved ones. As you fluff your tree and fight with tangles of coiled and knotted lights, don't forget to take time to appreciate what's important: family.
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