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Stress-Busting Tricks for Trimming Your Christmas Tree

Updated on October 9, 2017
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green enjoys "all things Christmas" and shares tips and ideas with readers.

Ho, ho, ho...


Lights Hopelessly Snarled? Tree Tipped over? Help!

Many people look forward to decorating the tree... that is until they encounter common problems. Just ask any male friend what he thinks of snarled lights and you will see why he's run out and bought a tree with the lights already on it.

When it's time to deck out the tree, a little planning truly goes a long way. Decorating a Christmas tree is not as simple as hanging a few ornaments and stringing a few lights. And if you don't plan well, you may find your efforts have turned into a marathon. From the top of the tree to the bottom, using time-tested, stress-busting tricks can take the headache out of trimming the tree.

And after all, Christmas and the preparations for it should be enjoyable, not headache producing.

Uh-oh! The Tree Tipped Over!

I attended a Christmas event where the speaker related that the year the family had the largest tree ever, which they had decorated with special vintage ornaments, family heirlooms, no less, the family cat had jumped on the towering tree and the whole thing tipped over. Sadly, the ornaments crashed to pieces.

How to Avoid Tip-Overs

Securing Your Tree--before starting out, place your tree in a tree holder and ensure that the screws are turned tightly to avoid the tree tipping over. This may seem obvious but many householders have learned to their chagrin that failing to tighten screws can result in disaster. A tree that has innocently behaved itself, once decorated and weighted down, can suddenly give way and tip over, sliding it's way free of its tree holder.

This is not that uncommon and when you think about it, it makes sense: you have a tall tree and all that is holding it upright is a small lightweight holder that has to bear the weight of an object that is much larger, heavier and wider. The height of the tree also contributes to its potential to tip over.

Location, Location, Location--your tree should be situated in an out-of-the-way corner, in or in a window. Why? As mentioned, because of their shape and size, Christmas trees can be "tippy."

If someone backs into the tree, say when you are entertaining and the room is full of people, a tree set near to a corner may escape unscathed.

If curious kitty decides an ornament has caught his fancy and leaps onto the tree, one that is set near to a wall may be protected, depending on where kitty lands. Far better to have a wall check a tree's fall and avoid a subsequent crash and ornaments spilled and broken.

Curious Kitty Can Wreck Havoc Climbing on a Tippy Tree

Ever Had Your Tree Tip Over?

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Easiest Way Ever to String Lights

You need two people for this: one person holds the light strand, the other person slowly turns the tree. This works like a charm and is the easiest method to string the lights around the tree.

How to Avoid Snarled Lights

  • Test lights first, prior to stringing on tree - I remember the first time I trimmed my tree. I plugged in my lights eager to enjoy their beauty, then saw that one string was not working. Trying to unwind four connected lights strands was not a scenario I cared to ever repeat.
  • Leave enough cord - ever had this happen? You congratulate yourself on stringing the lights all the way around the tree and then when you go to plug them in, you discover the cord isn't long enough.
  • Fast and easy method to string lights without tangling - Most times, people walk around the tree and try to string the lights this way but it is far easier for one person to hold the lights while someone else simply swivels the tree. This works especially well if you have your tree on a floor instead of a carpet. If you plan on doing this on a floor, to avoid scratches, place a small cloth underneath your tree stand before you get started. It is best to start at the bottom of the tree, and work your way upwards, placing the wires partially inwards so they are hidden by the branches. Leftover wire can be wound around the tree topper or it can be worked downwards again until the end of the light strand is reached.

Tree Skirt Tip

Laying out the tree skirt before trimming the tree with ornaments means these aren't knocked off the lower branches later.

Tree Skirt Tip

Place the tree skirt around the base of the tree, then roll it up towards the center so that it isn't stepped on when decorating the tree.The tree skirt can be later unfurled, when the tree is fully decorated, and presents placed on it.

Curious Kitty Gets into Mischief

How to Prevent Broken Ornaments

  • Hang your ornaments to avoid breakage - Hang larger/heavier ornaments inwards on the branches, which will provide more support. This reduces the chance that their weight will cause branches to droop, resulting in ornaments sliding off.
  • Small ornaments towards outside of branches - A good rule of thumb for Christmas tree decorating is to place smaller ornaments towards the outside part of the branches because these will be easier to see.
  • Bend up branch tips - If an artificial tree is used, a neat trick involves bending the branch tips upwards at the ends so that ornaments are protected. This also prevent them flying off is curious kitty decides to swat at them.

Ever Had Ornaments Drop Off?

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Applying Garlands

A two-person job - Applying garlands is much easier with the aid of another person. One person holds one end and another person walks around the front of the tree draping the garlands over the branches or passing the garlands around to the other person. Garlands can be placed prior or after hanging of ornaments, depending on preference.

Tree Topper Tip

Many people prefer to place the tree topper last, as the crowing glory to finish their Christmas tree; however this is a good way to knock off ornaments because you brush up against the tree.

It is much easier and safer to position the tree topper before ornaments have been hung on the branches.

The Neatest Tree "Hack" if You Have Room...

If you have extra space close by, such as an extra room, a large walk-in closet or an unused porch, after Xmas, carefully move your decorated tree there. You can store your fully trimmed tree for use the following year. Simply cover with some type of tree protector or a large sheet to keep dust off branches and to protect ornaments and lights.

When Christmas comes around again, the tree can be uncovered and carefully walked or slid into place. It is already decorated and can be positioned where desired.

If you like this idea, ensure that you use a cloth under bottom of tree stand to avoid scratching floors.

Some people plan for this when building a home and build a tree room for this purpose.

Trimming the Tree Can be an Enjoyable Undertaking

These tips and tricks in this article can make a big difference to stress levels when trimming the tree.

Why not make some hot chocolate or spiced apple cider ahead of time, put on some Christmas music, relax, take your time and truly enjoy yourself.

With a little know-how and planning, trimming the tree can be an enjoyable undertaking that commemorates the festive holiday season.

Do You Enjoy Trimming the Tree?

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All Done

© 2013 Athlyn Green


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