How to Select and Decorate a Christmas Tree

Decorating and Safety Tips

What’s the best way to decorate a tree?

Start with lights, so you can entwine and hide the wires within the branches. Then follow with garland, and finally individual ornaments. Use larger ornaments to fill in open spaces between branches, and give your tree added dimension by hanging some at different depths, not just around the edges. Be creative and have fun!

What should I do to keep my tree safe?

To reduce the risk of fire, keep your tree hydrated and follow these holiday safety tips. If you have young children or pets, don’t leave your tree unattended, and consider securing it to the wall with clear twine or heavy fishing line to keep it from toppling over.

Can I use trimmed branches for decoration?

Absolutely! Cut branches will last a week or two as they are, or you can prolong their beauty by arranging them in water or in wet florist’s foam (such as Oasis).

Tree Disposal

What should I do with my tree after the holidays?

Don’t put your tree in a landfill! Instead, recycle your Christmas tree in the garden so that it will enrich the earth long after the holidays are over.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce makes a good tabletop tree.

Further Information


  1. The Christmas tree symbolizes peace and love and is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree. It is a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas or the original name Yule. According to Christian lore, the Christmas tree is associated with St Boniface and the German town of Geismar.

  2. i have designed a tree stand that has a built in resovoir that holds 7 us gallons. no external componets, water tanks, hoses, valve assemblies. just physics. not only does it hold an incredable amount of water, the weight of the water makes it virtually tip proof.

  3. My tree is turning brown. It was fresh cut, and I put it in the water right away, and it has been full of water. I heard putting sugar helps, but I don’t know what to do.

  4. We have a freshly cut live tree that was put immediately from returning home into a bucket of water 10 days ago…it has basically drunk no water. Instead of doing a fresh cut again, can we drill holes in the bottom to allow this tree to drink water? Need help ASAP…plan to bring it inside today or tomorrow.

  5. If the tree appears to be drying out, use warm or hot water to refill the stand. Warmer water can be absorbed more quickly and will help rejuvenate the tree.

  6. Help my husband is an idiot he bought a tree with a big gap of branches missing it looks hideous against my advice and n ow I have put it in the stand with water and the branches will not open Why?

    • Hi, Trisha,
      Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. You didn’t include the location, so we would suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association.
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!

  7. Cutting our Christmas tree this year. Does cutting it in colder temperatures make it last longer, or warm. This weekend vs next weekend with have a 10-20 degree difference (-15 today, vs predicted temps of +6 next weekend)


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