Want to know how to put up a Christmas tree? There is a little bit more to it than 'stick it in a bucket' (although there's nothing particularly wrong about just sticking it in a bucket). Do it like a pro and enjoy a Christmas tree that looks beautiful and stays fresh throughout the holidays.
When is the best time to put up a Christmas tree?
There's no hard and fast rule, but bear in mind that realistically, a real tree will only last indoors for two to three weeks; after that time, it'll begin to shed needles and will no longer take in water. For that reason, it's best to put up your tree during the second week of December – that way, you're guaranteed a fresh-looking tree on Christmas Day.
How to put up a Christmas tree
Always choose a sturdy, appropriately sized stand, ideally made from painted metal for maximum stability. Your tree should feel snug inside, not wobbly – but you do need a bit of a gap between the trunk and the inside of the stand so that you can water your tree. The best tree stands have screws for securing the trunk. If yours doesn't, and your tree is wobbly inside, try wedging something (a cork, for instance) between the trunk and the stand.
Once you've installed your tree, water it, filling the stand up enough for you to be able to feel the level of the water with your finger. This will help with knowing when to top up the water.
Where to position your tree
As far away from sources of heat as possible. Dry, warm air will kill your tree, and quickly. Ideally, your tree should be positioned in the middle of the largest, best aired room in the house. The less heat that room gets, the better. You may also wish to get a humidifier to help your tree stay fresher longer. Trees want natural light, too. A room that gets good sunlight in the day is best.
How to keep your tree safe for kids and pets
Make sure your tree is stable to avoid is getting knocked over by boisterous toddlers/puppies/kittens. All decoration should be hung as close to the trunk as possible; avoid hanging anything too close to the tips of the branches as they may slide off or be pulled off by curious pets/children.
If you have a cat or puppy, avoid decorating tinsel: they love chewing on the stuff and can get very sick from it blocking their stomachs. Always unplug any lights when not supervising.
When to take down your tree
If you're superstitious, do it by the 6th January. If not, whenever it has started to shed its needles/no longer takes up water. Remember to take it to a tree recycling point – your council website should tell you where you nearest one is.