How to put up a Christmas tree
Before bringing your Christmas tree indoors
1) Decide on a type and size of tree and where you're going to put it in the home
2) Remove the netting
- Carefully remove all of the netting around your tree using a sharp knife or pair of scissors. Avoid tugging if any parts of the netting gets snagged with the tree as this risks damaging the branches and removing needles; cut through the knot instead.
3) Knock off any loose inner needles
- Give your Christmas tree a shake or drop it onto its base from 1 foot/30cm above ground. You may see a small amount of needles towards the centre of the tree fall away. This is a normal part of the life cycle of a conifer and occurs because the tree is preparing itself for winter. Better for them to drop outdoors than in the home.
- More extensive loss of needles including from the ends of branches would signify an unhealthy tree.
4) Sawing 1 inch off the base of the trunk
- After receiving your Christmas tree, whether you're putting it up straight away or keeping it in storage you'll want to saw 1 inch (2.5cm) from the base of the trunk, cutting straight across perpendicular to the trunk.
- If keeping it in storage it should be kept in a large bucket of water that should be regularly topped up. If you're ready to bring it into the home aim to have it installed with the water basin filled within a couple of hours.
- Make the cut with a saw with large "teeth" - don't use an axe as this is likely to split the trunk and kill your tree.
- The reason for cutting off an inch at the bottom of the trunk is because when trees are cut, sap oozes out and hardens within about 5 hours when not in water, creating a seal and preventing further water absorption. You can ask the nursery or Christmas tree farm to make the cut for you if it won't take you long to get home.
5) Protect your carpets
- Lay down a Christmas tree skirt, tarpaulin or some Christmas themed paper before bringing your tree into the home. This will protect your floors from water spillages and help capture any needles falling from your tree.
- If your Christmas tree skirt fits over the cradle, position a water barrier under the cradle and apply the tree skirt after your tree is mounted. This will prevent pets from drinking the water and make your tree more presentable.
6) Clear a passageway to the desired Christmas tree location
- As you're tree will now be out of the netting it will have slightly flailing branches that are liable to knock over vases, candles, tabletop clocks, cabinets and other small furniture items.
- We have unfortunately heard a couple of disaster stories of prized vases and antiques being damaged in the process, so strongly recommend you clear the passageway of all valuable items before bringing your tree inside.
- If you're planning on bringing your tree in on your shoulder lumberjack style it's also worth being mindful of hanging light fittings that may be knocked by accident too.
7) Get the Christmas tree stand, box or bucket ready
- Make sure your Christmas tree stand, box or bucket fits your tree and loosen the screws (or wooden notches used to secure the tree) to a setting that will comfortably allow the trunk of your tree to slot into place.
- Hopefully you've followed the advice in our how to choose a Christmas tree article and chosen a tree with a trunk diameter that will fit into your tree stand without lopping chunks off the sides. If not, you've probably not got much choice by now! That being the case remove only as much as you need to using a saw not an axe.
- If you're in need of a new Christmas tree stand we have a range of colours available for delivery or collection.
With the Christmas tree Indoors
8) Carrying the tree into the house
- It's best to decide which side of your tree you want to be visible and which side you want to face the wall whilst outside as it's far easier to walk around the tree to find the best side outdoors rather than to spin it around inside.
- We recommend 2 people set up the Christmas tree so one can fix the base whilst the other holds the tree stable.
- The aim is to put the tree straight into the tree stand without resting the trunk on the floor, lying it on the ground or leaning it against the wall. There may be a small amount of sticky sap around the bottom of the trunk which is best in the tree stand water basin rather than on your carpets.
9) Securing the tree stand
- First, check that the tree is sitting straight as it'll be far easier to fix at this point rather than later.
- Most Christmas tree stands and boxes will either have metal screws or wooden notches that slot into place. Have one person tighten these whilst the other holds the tree in place, constantly checking it's still straight.
- Once secured, slowly let go of the tree to check it is self-supporting.
10) Watering your tree and allowing it to settle
- Fill the basin with water. Do not add honey, sugar, aspirin or anything else - plain water is best and will mean you don't end up with sticky presents if it is knocked over. There is no need to spray the needles or branches.
- Allow the tree to "settle" into shape for a couple of hours before decorating. The branches may droop slightly as they re-adjust after being in the netting.
11) Decorating your Christmas tree
- For many people, decorating the Christmas tree is the most enjoyable part. However - it's also important to think about safety - with a bit of common sense a properly maintained Christmas tree should not be a fire hazard.
- If you have to install your tree away from an easily accessible wall socket and will be using electric lights, use an extension lead and tuck it away tidily, remembering not to overload electrical sockets.
- Check your Christmas tree lights to ensure that the bulbs are working properly and inspect the chords for any damage or insecure connections. Using miniature lights that produce less heat and remembering to turn them off when you go out and retire at night will prevent your tree from drying out.
- Newer LED lights cost only pennies a season to run, so they are a good value, while they also decrease fire risk because they stay cooler. Never use candles on Christmas trees for obvious reasons.
- Replace any decorations that look worn; they're generally inexpensive to replace. Strategically position small and fragile ornaments out of the reach of pets and small children to prevent them being eaten or accidentally damaged.
12) Christmas tree care
- Your Christmas tree was very recently a living thing much like cut flowers. It will need the right care and attention including a constant supply of water and the right temperature to look it's best on Christmas day.
- Check out our article on how to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh for full Christmas tree care instructions.