Tips on how to do a Christmas Tree
RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) - November 11, 2019 - 12:00am

Christmas is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year.  And one of the things I love about Christmas and look forward to is putting up the Christmas tree.  When I was a child, the tradition at home was to put the tree up on Dec. 4,  the birthday of my brother Pete. While all the kids helped put Christmas balls and lights, and fought over who would get to put the star on top of the tree, my Papa would play Ray Conniff Christmas carols on our vinyl record player.  But more than putting up the tree, we looked forward to waking up very early on Christmas day to see what Santa Claus brought us.

As I got older and Santa no longer left gifts for me, I turned my attention to the Christmas tree itself. Decorating the tree was my creative outlet and kept me busy during  the “long weekend” from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. When I became a mom, I became even more passionate about decorating the tree. Many years ago, when my kids were still toddlers, I decorated the tree with lots of stuffed teddy bears. As an added twist, I even included edible candy canes to make it more fun. And oh, how they loved that tree! Christmas is for kids, after all.

There are no hard rules when decorating your tree. Let me share some tips I’ve learned through the years:

1. Put lots of lights. I prefer the small, warm-white LED lights because they give a softer glow. They’re more expensive than regular ones but they last longer and are definitely safer. You don’t want to compromise here. If your tree is seven-feet tall, multiply that by two and that’s the number of boxes of lights you’ll need. So in this case, 14 boxes (100 bulbs each) of Christmas lights will suffice. But if you want more lights, go ahead.

2. Think of a motif so it’s easier to decorate. It can be traditional, playful, whimsical, color-themed (e.g. pastels or a white Christmas), or even object-centric (e.g. musical instruments or stuffed toys). Whatever floats your boat.

3. Buy Christmas decorations AFTER Christmas. Shops give as much as 50 to 70 percent off on their Christmas décor after Dec. 25. They’d rather get rid of them than stock them in their warehouses. If you have the storage space and cash to spare, by all means go get your décor a year early!

4. Play Christmas carols while you’re decorating. It helps put you in the mood.

5. Bunch up your Christmas balls using a nylon string. These then go in between big gaps in the foliage and serve as accent pieces. A few big pieces will help break the monotony.

6. Experiment with different shapes, sizes and textures. Don’t confine yourselves to just using balls. I also like using stars,  silk poinsettias, candy canes, ribbons and berries.

7. Don’t be afraid to make decorations yourself. I have a friend, Eliza Romualdez-Valtos, who is so good at DIY projects, I coerced her into making me Christmas balls she made herself!

8. When Christmas is over and it’s time to pack away, segregate your ornaments according to color or theme to make it easier to find them when you need them.

9. Invest in big plastic containers instead of boxes to store your decorations. This way, they won’t get squashed and dirty. Wrap the more fragile decorations in bubble wrap or tissue to protect them.

“The more the merrier” is the perfect adage to describe a Christmas tree. You can never have enough decorations. This year, I put up my tree a little earlier because my cousin Marc and his girlfriend Lindsay visited from the States and stayed with me for a couple of days. When Marc saw my tree, he said, “I don’t see the tree anymore…it’s bursting with decorations!”

However pretty your tree is, though, the one thing you should never forget is that the true essence of Christmas isn’t decorating, but rather giving, loving and forgiving.

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