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Lights? Check. Ornaments? Check. Festive soundtrack and a tin of seasonal chocolates on the go? Of course! Decorating your Christmas tree is one of those activities that always incites magic and excitement, especially when the whole family is involved. But, whether you favour a freshly-chopped pine or a pre-lit artificial style, it’s always a big decision choosing when is the best time to put your Christmas tree up(and to take it down). And then there’s the other big festive dilemma - how should you decorate your tree? Should the tinsel go first or the fairy lights? What colour baubles should you go for? And whose favourite ornaments should take pride of place? So, we’re tackling all your seasonal decorating questions and offering a helping hand with our expert tips and tricks on helping you decorate your most spectacular Christmas tree ever.

Choosing the perfect Christmas tree

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to picking your dream Christmas tree and it can be overwhelming to choose which one will work best for you. So let’s start at the beginning, do you want a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree?

Real Christmas Trees

There are lots of benefits to choosing a real Christmas tree, from their full, traditional appeal to the festive scent of their pine needles. Not to mention the fun of shopping for one and choosing your unique beauty to take home with you to decorate. It’s worth noting that real Christmas trees should last five weeks or more when looked after properly, so, if you like to decorate your tree in late November it should still look magical by the time the big day arrives.

Popular Christmas tree species include:

• Norway Spruce

• Nordmann Fir

• Blue Spruce

• Fraser Fir

Real Christmas trees can be expensive and can’t be re-used in the same way as artificial trees. Some species cost more than others, and larger trees can be pricey. You should also be ready for lots of vacuuming or sweeping if you choose a real tree, since their needles will shed throughout the festive period.

Artificial Christmas Trees

Artificial Christmas trees are an excellent option for lots of households, especially those with pets or young children. It’s easy to find a synthetic alternative that looks just like a real tree and these options might even appear fuller, straighter, and more vibrant than the real option. A big bonus is that you won’t need to worry about shedding or drooping and choosing an artificial Christmas tree can also help save money in the long-term. Look for a high-quality option that you can use year after year, and be sure to pack and store it away carefully to ensure it’ll look just as good next Christmas.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

The best way to decorate your Christmas tree will depend on the ornaments you have, the aesthetic and colour scheme you’re trying to achieve, and how much you care about the final result. Some families like to decorate a playful and creative Christmas tree, whilst other households prefer a more preened and perfect finish that’s worthy of a spot on Pinterest.

Let’s get the decorating started by looking at the main stages of dressing your Christmas tree. We hope this handy guide helps you create a magical masterpiece that brings the ultimate festive glow to your space.

When To Put Up Your Christmas Tree

Tradition states that a Christmas tree should be put up at the beginning of advent which begins on the four Sundays before Christmas, but many of us are opting to put up our trees earlier and earlier to help extend that glorious festive feeling in our homes. If you have an artificial tree then there’s no worries about it still looking perfect when the 25th December wraps around, but if you’re decorating a real tree then it’s worth noting that they last around five weeks (or possibly less for budget options).

Setting Up Your Christmas Tree

Start the decorating process by clearing a spot for your tree and setting it up in a pot or stand. If you’re decorating a real tree, you should give it some time to settle into place. Removing the netting and leaving it overnight in its stand will allow its branches to drop into an easier position for decorating and bauble hanging. An artificial tree might require some fluffing up to look its best. Either way, it’s easier to do these bits before the actual decorating of your tree.

Put on your Christmas lights

The first thing to add to your Christmas tree is fairy lights. They help create that cosy festive atmosphere that’s perfect for movie nights, holiday parties and get-togethers with family and friends.

Tinsel time!

Tinsel isn’t for everyone and some prefer to shun it altogether whilst others opt for beads or festive garlands instead. If you are headed down the tinsel route then the best time to add it is after lights but before your ornaments. Wrap it around your Christmas tree in a similar way to the fairy lights and make sure to distribute it evenly for a gorgeous finish. It’s worth stepping back regularly to check your masterpiece looks spectacular from all angles, as it’s easier to erfect light and tinsel placement before your ornaments and baubles go on.

Add Your Ornaments and Decorations

Now, time for the fun part. Start by hanging your absolute favourite ornaments – they might be family keepsakes you’ve had for years or brand new beauties you couldn’t resist buying. Once these are up, it’s time to get filling the space with your remaining baubles, ensuring that some are placed on lower branches and at the back so everything is evenly spaced. One last thing – how many baubles do you want? You can keep it minimal and fuss-free or go all out and attempt to get multiple baubles on each branch.

The Finishing Touch

Angel? Star? Whatever your Christmas tree decoration ideas involve, save this finishing touch until the end. Place it on top of the tree (you may need to cut the very top of the tree off if it’s a real tree to get your ornament on) and then step back and enjoy your beautiful Christmas tree. Now it’s time to put on your favourite seasonal film, pour yourself a glass of mulled wine and enjoy your brilliantly cosy and heart-warming festive home. Happy holidays!