Setting up a Christmas tree is a time-honored American tradition. In fact, decorating fir trees has been a winter custom in many parts of the world for thousands of years!
It’s a fun event for the whole family and an important marker to let you know that the new year is coming soon.
Some homeowners like artificial trees while others prefer the real thing. It’s up to you and it’s quite regional, too. For example, So Cal real estate will be different than Denver real estate. Owners at Westridge at Sycamore Hills in Upland, Southern California won’t have the same access to tree farms as those at Terrain Ravenwood in Castle Rock, Colorado, so maybe artificial works better.
It doesn’t really matter, though, they both can be loaded with holiday magic in no time!
Setting Up a Live Christmas Tree
Live trees can be a fire hazard if they’re not set up properly and consistently watered. In warmer climates, trees can drink up to a gallon or more of water per day. Florida residents at Estero Pointe in Fort Myers, Florida need to be extra diligent to ensure their tree is getting enough to drink and that the base of the trunk is never exposed.
- Wrap the stump of your tree in a wet towel to keep the base wet until you get home. Before bringing the tree into the house, use a saw to make a fresh cut 1-2 inches from the bottom and place in a stand immediately to start the flow of water.
- Use a tree stand with 4 adjustable clamps for better support.
- Consider using a plastic tree bag for easy cleanup after the holidays. You can hide the bag with a skirt.
Getting More Life Out of Your Tree
Here are a few helpful hints to eke a little more holiday cheer out of your tree.
- Cut your tree after a heavy frost: Trees go into dormancy when sub-freezing temperatures hit. A dormant tree has prepared for winter and will last longer once cut.
- Don’t skimp on the stand: Exposing the base of your tree to the air for even an hour can cut days from its life. Buy a stand with a deep reservoir.
- Add a crushed aspirin to the water each day: Aspirin opens the vascular system of the tree for better water flow and lowers the pH level of the water to be more suitable for evergreen trees.
- Use LED lights: Incandescent bulbs burn hot, drying out your tree much faster.
Safety First: When the floor around your tree starts to fill with dry needles, it’s time to remove the tree from the house.
Lights, Garlands, Action
Order matters when decorating your tree. Always start with lights and garlands first and then move on to do the ornaments last.
- Tip for lighting: Don’t use large bulbs on a tree that’s too small. If the boughs droop from the weight of the lights alone you won’t have any give left for ornaments.
Decorating your holiday tree doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. A quick search online and you’ll find an endless selection of fun ornaments to make after a quick trip to the craft store.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Make your own bows. Bows are very inexpensive and can be made with whatever ribbon you choose.
- Pine cones can be used in a million different ways.
- Hang old toys from the tree.
Organize Ornaments on the Floor before Hanging
If you’re like many Christmas lovers, your boxes of decorations get bigger and fuller every season. Since you won’t have room for everything, it’s a good idea to lay out all your options to make sure all your favorites make the cut.
Get a Small Tree for the Kids
Decorating more than one tree eliminates hard choices between hanging all the ornaments your kids like/made or not. A small children’s tree also lets you keep the kids involved while you decorate the main tree to perfection.
Let’s face it, for some of us the tree has to be just right. You know who you are.
Don’t Be Afraid to Break from Tradition
For a tree topper most people automatically think of a star or an angel – but really, however you want to top your tree is an excellent choice.
From heirlooms to family photos or even a football helmet from your favorite team, the tree topper can be a real opportunity to try something different and give your tree a unique focal point.
Choose a Theme for Your Holiday Tree
Some people like a little bit of everything on their Christmas tree and others prefer a matching theme or cohesive plan. Sticking with a theme can be fun and is an excellent choice for those who have just moved into a new home and are shopping for new lights and ornaments from scratch.
Here are a handful of theme ideas to give you inspiration:
- Pick a color. White Christmas is always a popular choice but red, blue, green, any color will do.
- Or pick two! Silver and charcoal. Orange and cream. Matching or contrasting both work fine.
- Rustic or country.
- Icicles and snowflakes.
- Your favorite hobby or sports team.
- Santa’s workshop.
- Candy cane (this is a tasty option for artificial “frosted” trees).
Still on the Fence?
Thinking this may be the year to make the switch to an artificial tree? You aren’t alone.
While early artificial trees didn’t look so great, many are available on the market today that are nearly indistinguishable from real trees. You can even buy scented ornaments to recreate that Christmas smell.
Along with saving money in the long run and sparing a tree’s life, one huge advantage of artificial trees is that they are easier to decorate. Especially if your vision of the perfect tree is full glam.
From all of us at Taylor Morrison, we wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons. Let us know in the comments which of these ideas you used this year. Remember that there’s no wrong way to trim your tree!