Caring for and decorating your tree
Caring for your tree
Trees are sold in a pot with roots, or cut. If yours has roots, it needs only an occasional watering to keep it moist. If it is cut, re-cut the trunk with a saw, taking off ½ in (1cm), then put the tree into a bucket of water so that it can have a long drink before you bring it inside. Use a tree holder with a reservoir for water and remember to keep topping it up – but make sure you turn off the tree lights when you do.
Decorating your tree
If you want a beautiful, sparkling tree, be generous with the lights and allow about 40 lights for each 12 in (30 cm). For our 7ft (2.1m) specimen, we used 300 white pea lights - 20 extra for good measure.
We started with five bundles of birch twigs, sprayed with white and glitter paints. We laid them horizontally on the branched and trimmed them slightly wide of the branches. Then we added hanging nightlights with replacement votive candles – but do remember never to leave lighted candles unattended.
Most of us decorate our Christmas tree with an assortment of baubles and ornaments that have been collected over the years, with a few more added annually, and stored as valuable treasures in our attics. Inevitably this means the tree usually has a mass of lights and personal touches, with no clear design. From my own experience of professionally dressing trees, I have found that choosing all one colour does create a more sophisticated look – Delia likes to decorate hers with a mix of white and silver, using flowers and candles.
It may sound decadent to decorate your tree with fresh flowers, but if you choose a long-lasting type, such as shaggy chrysanthemums, they will see you through the 12 days of Christmas.
To hold the flowers we have used glass test tubes (similar ones are available at Ocean 0870 242 6283 www.oceanuk.com), tied on with alumuminium wire. You can also use plastic phials that you may be able to buy through your florist when you order your flowers. Make sure you keep the tubes or phials topped up with water to keep the flowers fresh.
..And bows for baubles
Use bows to attach baubles to the tree and to tie around the branches. Make three loops out of a length of ribbon and scrunch and hold the middle with your thumb and first finger. Take another piece of ribbon 6 in (15cm long), and pinch it in the centre so that its half its original width, then wrap it around the middle of the three loops and tie it in a knot at the back. (You may need someone to help you do this). Thread one end through a bauble and attach to the tree. Repeat for six or more baubles and for extra bows to tie on the inner branches of the tee to give the decorations more depth.
For more home decorating ideas from Paula Pryke:
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