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A Helpful Guide To Putting Up Your First Amazing Christmas Tree

Whether it's your first time putting up a tree, or you're a seasoned pro, here are some tips that will help your tree look elegant and beautiful.

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Measure the height of your ceiling.

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You need to know how much space you are working with before you go out and find the perfect tree. Remember that you need to account for how tall your tree topper is and the height of your stand.

Have your supplies ready.

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Before you can bring the tree into your home, there are a few essential items you will need to have on hand.

You will need to make sure you have a sturdy tree stand. The Krinner Christmas Tree Genie XXL Christmas Tree Stand is probably the best one on the market. While the stand is something that absolutely no one pays attention to once your tree is up and decorated, it is really the most essential element to having hassle free tree experience. Traditional tree stands hold up a tree with 5 screws. Your tree will NEVER be straight and you will sit there for hours becoming increasingly frustrated. A stand with claws lets you easily and securely adjust your tree to a perfect position in about 3 minutes. This stand also has a HUGE water reservoir. Because really, who wants to be on the floor every night watering your tree.

While not a must have item, a tree skirt is a great way to hide the stand and add magic some pizzazz to your display.

A mat underneath the tree will also help to absorb any spilled water and keep your hardwood floors safe.

Decide the type and shape of your tree.

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Trees, like humans, come in all shapes and sizes. Some people prefer a tall and slim tree, other want to have the classic cone shaped look. Remember that the cone shaped trees are the "gold standard" and retailers will often charge more for this.

Try and have an idea of what variety of tree you would like to have. Pine? Spruce? Fir? There are so many different types! Use this guide to brush up on the qualities of each.

Get your tree home and into water ASAP.

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Once you've gone through the steps of picking out your tree — be it from the tree farm, or the side walk vendor — get your tree inside and get ready to mount it in your new tree stand. Before you set the tree up, make a fresh cut in the tree trunk of at least 1 inch. This will remove any sap that may be hardened on the bottom which will prevent the tree from soaking up the water it desperately needs.

Now, mount the tree and water that sucker! A tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day, and watering the tree is essential to make sure it does't die before Christmas. Remember to check the water level often, and replenish as necessary.

Place your topper first.

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While traditionally placing your topper on the tree is seen as the "finishing touch", placing your top first will avoid knocking over your fully decorated tree and breaking all your ornaments. You can put whatever you like as your topper. Some people choose a star or an angel while others go a non-traditional route with bows, birds, or a Dr. Who TARDIS Station. This year we chose this inexpensive lighted star by Kurt Adler.

String the lights.

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Decide between white lights or colored lights based on the look you are going for. A good rule of thumb for deciding on many lights you will need is to buy 100 per foot of tree height (a six foot tree requiring 600 lights). Choose more or less based on your tree's aesthetic.

Follow a plan when stringing the lights:

First, secure an extension cord to the middle of the tree trunk. Then plug the extension cord into a plug strip and start lighting your tree at the bottom and work upward. As you move through the tree, try to use consistent spacing between the lights. If you finish a section of the tree and have lights left over, pull your light set back to the trunk of that section and wrap the excess lights around the tree trunk. After you have completed the lighting of your tree, fluff the branches by arranging the tips to achieve the desired shape.

Wrap your tree in garlands.

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Garlands add a distinctive touch to your tree. Here's a great time to be creative and funky. Spray painted pine cones, flowers, candy canes, popcorn strings, crystals, bows — go all out! Don't be afraid to deviate from the standards. If you choose a garland on a string or ribbon, wrap vertically or horizontally. Don't limit yourself to using just one strand or type of garland. Try twisting several strands together to create a thicker, more interesting look to your tree. For a more formal look, hang similar ornaments, bows, artificial fruit or flowers at the peak of each swag of garland.

Arranging your ornaments.

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I like to start by putting the smaller ornaments towards the top, and the larger ones towards the bottom of the tree. Vary ornament placement within the tree to create depth, placing some ornaments deep within towards the trunk.

Start by arranging the "filler ornaments" evenly spaced around the tree. This would include basic solid color balls that are easily found at discount stores in a wide range of colors to coordinate and enhance your decorating scheme. You'll need about 20 "filler ornaments" for every 2 feet of Christmas tree.

Repeat one type of ornament so it creates a color, shape, or theme through a tree. These red decorations help unite the other one-of-a-kind ornaments. Buy two to four dozen of a main theme element (like these red balls). Various sizes, shapes, or finishes of such an element will add even more flair.

Now for the fancy flair.

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Crystals add sparkle and shine to any tree. Because they are see-through, however, you'll want to place them near lights and mix them in with more colorful items.

Mix one-of-a-kind special ornaments between the basic ornaments. Plan to use at least 10 special themed ornaments for every 2 feet of tree. As your collection grows, put the special ornaments closer together.

Use natural elements to add an earthy quality to holiday decorating. They are an inexpensive addition to a tree. Try wiring on pinecones (large or small), leaf sprays (dried, preserved, or silk), leafy garlands, or branches of berries for a wonderfully rustic and elegant look.

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