I’ve been around Christmas trees every holiday of my life. And yet, when it came time to deck my halls on my own this year, I was thrown by unexpected issues. So, for the person who, like me, has apparently seen without observing all their lives, here are some handy tips
Look at multiple trees. I went in to Home Depot bright and early the Sunday after Thanksgiving and headed straight for the 5’-6’ section. I didn’t really know the difference between Douglas, Frasier, or Balsamic (I still don’t) other than the way the needles look. So I went for the value and chose Frasier. I started unwrapping one of the trees which actually appeared pretty full and well branched in the 30 secs I spent shaking it out. Having no one to consult and thinking that this was one of those times when you really could find the best tree on the first try, I bought it, delighted that I could get in and out within 15 minutes. Well, get the tree home, and it looks great, except it’s missing what would be the butt region on a person. Or not missing exactly, but excessively sparse. So I’m just turning that portion of the tree near the wall…
Get a stand with good quality control. On the way out of Home Depot I grabbed a capacious tree stand good for trees up to 8 feet tall. I get the stand home, and begin the simple task of screwing the metal tree anchors through the holes in the stand. And discover after 30 minutes of painful twisting, that one of the five holes is a tiny bit too small to allow the tree anchors through. And now I’m too tired to head back out to Home Depot for a replacement, so I resign myself to a potentially lopsided tree. That will just be part of its charm!
This independent do-it-yourself attitude being too much for me, I wait a few days before putting on the lights and ornaments I bought.
Beware mini light sets that say they’re twinkling. I assumed, in my speedy 30 minute visit to Target that I was so proud of, that twinkling meant it was optional. So I decide I probably won’t do twinkling this year and string them around 1/3 of the tree with the rest of the lights. Well I should have read more closely, because it’s 20 twinkling and 80 steady, no option to turn it off. So my tree does look slightly like it’s having spasms around its midsection since none of the other strings twinkle.
Beware resin. My live tree may not smell, but boy is it sappy. While stringing my lights and hanging my ornaments I became well bedaubed with resin. This leads to the next tip…
Don’t assume they smell.
On to the happy tips! When choosing lights, do get a string of small red globes, they’ll look like berries on the tree. And get a pickle ornament. There’s just something happy about that artificial green reflecting the lights.