The Christmas Tree
Whether you buy your tree from a roadside stand or store lot, trek to your own private grove to chop one down yourself, or unwrap it from a box purchased at a department store, you’ll want to pick one that’s right for your living space. Measure the floor-to-ceiling dimension before you select a tree, and be sure to leave a good bit of room at the top for the angel, star, or other tree-top ornament.
Assuming yours is a live tree, you should cut the base of the tree’s trunk on a diagonal angle once you get it home, and immediately place it in water. If it’s cold, the branches are likely quite tightly tucked against the trunk: Let the branches drop for a few hours, preferably overnight, by standing the tree inside the house (in water) before you try decorating it.
Look for a sturdy tree stand that will help steady the tree and provide a good water reservoir, to reduce the amount of watering you have to do. Some natural trees now come with a plastic bag that helps protect them on the journey to your house. Once the tree is up, slide the plastic bag down and leave it on the floor under the tree (it’s also a good idea to put a layer of newspapers or other protective surface between the tree stand and the floor). When it’s time to take the tree down, you can simply slide the plastic bag back up over the tree, catching most of the stray needles before they bury themselves in your carpet.
Once the tree is up and its branches have dropped, you can decorate to your heart’s content, with Christmas-tree skirts, lights, garlands, and more. Indulge in a favorite theme or just decorate as your whims take you.