How to decorate a Christmas tree in 4 easy steps

Very soon, people up and down the country will be getting out the Christmas decorations to begin the holiday season in earnest. But is there a right way or a wrong way to decorate your tree, and how can you make your fir fit for Harrods front window?

Here are some key points from experts at John Lewis, offering a 10 step “treetorial” on how to deck out your Christmas tree.

If you’ve yet to select the tree itself, you may also find our guide to the best artificial Christmas trees as well as the best real Christmas trees useful. There’s a wide array of options, from a striking 7.5ft artificial spruce (£260, The White Company) to a classic Nordmann Fir from stockists such as Wyevale Garden CentresSend Me a Christmas Tree or Pines and Needles.

Pick a good location

Whether your tree is real or artificial, you need to consider where to place the tree, especially if space is at a premium in your home. Ideally it will be near a plug socket, avoiding the need for wires across the living room floor, and you can re-arrange furniture if necessary to avoid clumsy kids and wagging tails from getting in the way of your festive creation.

If you’ve got a real tree, pick a location that’s as cool as possible ( far away from radiators and fires ). This will prevent it from drying out too much ahead of the big day.

Measure up

Having picked the best place for your tree, measure the width, depth and ceiling height and don’t forget to factor-in the height of your tree stand and the topper too. Give your tree enough room so its branches hang freely and you can decorate all around.

Tip: If you’ve got a real tree that’s too tall, always trim it from the bottom so it maintains its triangular shape.


Fluff those branches. Yes, that’s official advice from Christmas experts at John Lewis who say artificial trees especially need serious “fluffing”. (You’d probably need “fluffing” too if you’d been squashed in a cardboard box in the loft for 12 months.)

John Lewis assistant buyer Christmas Scott Bartle advises: “Spend 45 minutes putting your tree together and fluffing the branches to give it that full and authentic look. It’s all in the preparation. If you’ve fluffed your tree and the lights are even, you can’t go wrong.” Simple.

Get your lighting right

Spend a good half an hour or so getting your Christmas lights positioned just right. Start from the top and work your way down, weaving them around every major branch and leaving about six inches between the loops.

How many do you need? Mr Bartle says you can never have too many. “We recommend at least 170 lights per metre of tree,” he says. “That’s the absolute minimum. Personally I’d put 1,000 lights on a 6ft tree. The more the better.”

If you need new lights, it might be worth investing in copper wire lights – they’re much less likely to break, give a cleaner, crisper and brighter light – plus you’ll barely notice the wire on the tree.

Tip: Save yourself from frustration and make sure the lights are working before you put them on.

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