The Christmas Tree Dilemmas

It’s a tree and you decorate it, how hard can it be? If this is your attitude, you can stop reading now. Being laid back about Christmas is a good thing , but don’t be too horizontal. Remember Christmas trees need presents under them, so make sure you at least started your shopping by the time your tree goes up.

However if you, like many other people at this time of the year, struggle with the various tree options available to you, fear not. This post was written with you in mind.

Firstly, when do you put your tree up?

This varies between families and usually becomes an annual tradition. Some families put them up on the first day of December, others go for the first weekend of December or put them up on Christmas Eve. Everyone has their own reasons for when their tree goes up and the divide tends to be between having the tree up for as long as possible and for the shortest time possible.

We tend to put our tree up on the 2nd or 3rd weekend of December, depending on when I can be bothered to chivy everyone to getting around to it. I like to have it up for DD1’s birthday a week before Christmas, as once that’s over I can really concentrate on the festive season.

Secondly, you need to get your tree. Your major choice here is real or artificial?

People tend to be firmly divided between the two, vary rarely is there cross over from year to year.

Real trees smell wonderful and enthusiasts argue that they are essential for the authentic Christmas experience. But they aren’t cheap compared to the cheaper artificial trees, you have to source one and even the drop-free trees still shed needles.

Artificial trees come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Some come already lit so you don’t need extra lights. They can be expensive though, so tend to get  used year after year so that people get their money’s worth. They can live in storage for 11 months of the year, and just taken out when needed. There is no need to go looking for a different tree every year. People who like their tree to look ‘perfect’  like artificial trees, as do people who don’t like the way way real trees drop needles all over the place. Artificial trees are also a good choice for people who worry about their pets chewing on the tree and getting poisoned.

We do have an artificial tree in the loft from our child free and young baby days, but DH likes a real one so for the  last few years we’ve bought one online. I always get cross about this as I’m the one who has to stay in waiting for the blimmin thing to be delivered, and last year the delivery guy dragged it through my newly put up Christmas lights and broke them. This year I insisted we go looking for one, so we drove from garden centre to garden centre until we found one we liked. Then we lashed it to the roof rack and drove it home. The kids found this hilarious and enjoyed keeping an eye on the tree through the sunroof. They also enjoyed me panicking when they told me the tree was about to fall off, but apparently they were ‘just joking’ and we managed to get  the tree home in one piece.


The third Christmas tree dilemma involves decorating it.

For some control freaks people this is an adult- only job. Their decorations tend to be coordinated with the decor and may be changed from year to year. Their kids don’t get a look in.

Other people let the kids do it all, only helping with the high bits if necessary. Families who take this approach usually have a box of mismatched decorations and don’t worry too much about whether their baubles match the curtains.

We fall into this category, mainly because I’m too lazy to do it myself when I have 4 children who are willing and able to do it for me. Sure, the tree looks like it’s been vomited on by the tinsel monster, but I find low level lighting hides a multitude of sins.


There is a third category of  tree decorator. These parents (usually mothers) let their offspring loose with the decorations during the day, but as soon as their little darlings are tucked up in bed, they rearrange things themselves. Some just even everything out a little, others strip the tree completely and start again.

I have done this in the past but can’t seem to be bothered anymore. Either my kids’ tree decorating skills are improving  or my standards are slipping even further.

In any case, there is no need to surreptitiously redecorate this year as, thanks to The Puppy, the tree is getting scuttled at least a couple of times a day.



Now we have a visible tide line as the dogs work their way up the tree, but so far the kids have welcomed the chance to redecorate it several times a day. Hopefully this attitude will last until Christmas is over.

And once boxing day rolls around, I can start contemplating the 4th Christmas tree dilemma; when to take it down?



6 comments on “The Christmas Tree Dilemmas

  1. We love real trees – our family always had a real tree when we were growing up so I want to do the same for our kids. But yes they are v expensive! We went to Ikea this year as the real trees were £25 with a £20 voucher to spend at Ikea in January! Bargain – we can always find something we ‘need’ in Ikea so basically a 5 and a half ft tree for a fiver!!

  2. In have been banned from tree decoration because, and I quote,
    ‘You are sh*t at it’. The tradition has been wifey does it while we listen to Christmas songs. I sit on the couch, drink Christmas booze and watch.
    Now we have two children and they are allowed to decorate with Wifey! Ergo, my tree skills are worse than two toddlers with developing fine motor skills. I still drink booze.

    • My husband is allowed to put the lights right on the top but is similarly banned from decorating. He’s not even allowed alcohol while we are doing it, so count yourself lucky 😉

  3. real tree here – I love the smell and freshness and think having a huge plastic tree in my living room is a little odd?? A real tree is like fresh flowers vs fake?? as for deco’s I don’t care – having 4 kids too, 2 dogs, 3 cats.. I really don’t care, I’m with you on the low lighting, anything looks pretty with sparkly lights 🙂 I also hang cards up with garden twine bluetacked to the walls and we have multicoloured foil garlands so I am really not one to comment on good taste decorations am I..?

    • I think Christmas is the perfect time to embrace your inner tackiness. I’d love to have a huge light display out front too but have not managed to get that past DH yet…

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