Tree Care Tips to Make Your Holiday Shine

How to be host to a healthy tree that will last the entire holiday season.

The Christmas season is right at our doorstep, which has us gearing up for all of our favorite holiday routines and traditions. I’ll get the string lights on the house while the weather is still mild, plan all of the new recipes I want to try, organize decor, and prepare to go-go-go until 2017 (which is when I intend to pause, wrap myself in something warm and woven, and catch up on some good reads). Getting the tree and dressing it up is usually our first task of the holiday season, and I’m here to share some safety recommendations that will help you keep your tree on the up-and-up (literally), as well as some ideas for decorating it in style.

Christmas Decorating

1 Holiday Mantel, 3 Ways

A beautifully decorated mantel can set the tone for the holiday just as much as your tree. Here are three easy, stand-out looks that can make any fireplace more festive.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn, FlynnsideOut

Brian Patrick Flynn, FlynnsideOut

How to Choose the Right Tree Stand

The base that holds your Christmas tree upright is one of the most critical items to own. A wide base is important for stability, and the wider the better. I prefer a round disc-like stand versus a model with individual legs. 

The volume of water that the stand can hold is important to consider too. You’ll be adding water on a near-daily basis, so many manufacturers make this chore easier by molding an easy-access spout into the tree stand – you can monitor water level and pour water directly to the trunk with fewer chance of spills.

Christmas Tree tips.

How to Secure and Maintain Your Christmas Tree

Choose a sturdy base and learn how to maintain your Christmas tree and ornaments this holiday season.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Lastly, be sure that the bolts that hold the tree in position are easy to maneuver; when you’re laying on your stomach under pokey branches trying to evenly twist the fasteners, you’ll thank yourself for splurging on an ergonomic, easy to twist design.

Protect the Floors

A tree skirt isn’t only decorative, a means to disguise the stand. A tree skirt that extends the full diameter of your tree will also protect the carpet or floor below from fallen needles and sap drips. To prevent your floors from spilled (or leaked) water from the tree stand, it’s always a good idea to place the stand in a large, opened plastic garbage bag, which remains bunched around the stand. 

How to Prevent the Tree From Tipping

Even if you think you secured your tree is perfectly vertical, monitor how the tree settles in its first few days in the stand, and as you add the weight of ornaments. If you’re seeing the tree angling outward into the room, take measures to correct it. We have young kids in the house but we don’t block off access to the tree entirely, however we do add a small wedge under the stand to angle the tree ever so slightly back into a corner, so that if a branch gets pulled, it’s not likely to crash on anyone (my husband and I test it by tugging on branches ourselves). If the tree tips under the weight of the ornaments, it’s also good insurance to have the tree tip backwards into a corner, where it can be cradled until you tend to it.

Christmas Tree tips.

How to Secure and Maintain Your Christmas Tree

Choose a sturdy base and learn how to maintain your Christmas tree and ornaments this holiday season.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

For very tall trees, consider stabilizing with hardware, such as a fishing line wrapped around the trunk of the tree, which is then anchored to an eye hook installed in the drywall. 

How to Make the Pine Needles Last Longer

The most essential steps to a long-lasting Christmas tree includes cutting the lower 1-2” of trunk when you bring it home, and never letting the tree stand run dry. Hydration is key, and trimming the end of the trunk improves the tree’s ability to consume water.

Avoid placing the tree near a heat source. The heat will speed up the drying of the branches and cause the tree to drop its needles at a faster pace. 

Christmas Tree tips.

How to Secure and Maintain Your Christmas Tree

Choose a sturdy base and learn how to maintain your Christmas tree and ornaments this holiday season.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Supplements may help extend the life of your tree too, although as far as I know there’s no evidence that soda water, aspirin, or corn syrup do anything to extend the tree’s life. Miracle-Gro does have a preservative that claims to support tree longevity, and it’s cheap, priced at just a few dollars at most gardening shops.

Prevent Broken Ornaments

Many ornaments – even heavy ones – come with string loops as hooks. Prevent fragile ornaments and ornaments that weight down branches from sliding off and breaking by attaching them securely using wire. Metal ornament hooks are usually flexible enough to wrap in a tight loop around the branch, and if you need extra support, trim a length of florist wire to lock that ornament right onto the tree.

Christmas Tree tips.

How to Secure and Maintain Your Christmas Tree

Choose a sturdy base and learn how to maintain your Christmas tree and ornaments this holiday season.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

And Don’t Skimp Out Now: Choose the Perfect Theme For Your Tree

Decide on a theme, and change it up year after year if you want. Go monochromatic, classic, vintage, or load it up with all of the crafty, handmade ornaments that you can dream up. Check out DIY Network's page filled with everything Christmas for more ideas that you'll love.

Small Holiday Christmas Tree

Holiday Mobile Christmas Tree

This mobile Christmas tree is outfitted with a galvanized metal wash tub with wheels and weighed down with sandbags, but bricks can be used. The mobility of the tree allows you to roll it to whichever entrance is being used for your next Yuletide gathering.

Colorful Christmas Decorations

See All Photos

Decorating the Mantel

To put a new twist on a traditional fireplace, loose-weave linen — easily found in places like the African Desert or the Mediterranean Sea — is blended with rich colors, flowing tassels and winter-white accents.

Photo By: Buff Strickland

Tasseled Ornaments

Bright, colorful tassels coupled with traditional glass ornaments are an easy, fresh take on a holiday staple. Hang a few over a holiday buffet or on your Christmas tree with an assortment of candy-colored balls to mix up the traditional red and green holiday palette.

Photo By: Buff Strickland

Tassel Garland

These easy-to-make multicolored tassels are a simple way to add a global-inspired touch to traditional Christmas wreaths, stockings and ornaments.

Photo By: Buff Strickland

Snowy Trees

Create your own winter wonderland with these burlap and fringe-covered trees. On the mantel or a tabletop, they look like a snowy forest; up close they add an unexpected but beautiful texture to your holiday decor. Your guests never have to know how easy they are to create. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Not the Typical Greenery

A simple twine-wrapped wreath is the perfect canvas for displaying colorful tassels. It’s simple to make it a one-of-a-kind wreath by using as many tassels as you like, and incorporating a color palette that matches your ornaments or choosing variations of white and cream for more monochromatic, understated decor. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Photo By: Buff Strickland

Textured Stocking

Update the classic stocking by crafting it out of white burlap and adding just a few tassels for a pop of color. Use a template to sew quick and easy stockings for your mantel and, for an added twist on tradition, skip the lining and add stockings to a staircase garland. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©Buff Strickland

Next Up

DIY Chalkboard Wall Advent Calendar

Kick the countdown to Christmas up a notch with this wall-sized Advent calendar. Grownups and kids alike will anxiously await each day to find out what treat the next envelope holds.

How To Make a Handmade Holiday Card

Send warm holiday wishes this season with a one-of-a-kind, handmade greeting card. 

Make Modern Mini Christmas Trees

Use cardboard to make these crafty little trees for the holidays.

Quick and Easy DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper

Creating beautiful and bespoke Christmas wrapping paper is as simple as adding a few personal touches with paint or marker. Grab a roll of craft or butcher paper and get going!

Home Hacks to Make the Holiday Season Merrier

Holiday season hacks make life as easy as Christmas apple pie. 

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Find new ways to decorate with nature this holiday season. 

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