Articles for December, 2015

Decorating your Christmas tree

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4 easy steps & 2 brilliant videos

Decorating your Christmas tree should be fun and easy, so make this happen by following our 4 easy steps and watching the two videos from Monkeysee and Robeson Design.  There is no better way to welcome in the Christmas spirit than by snuggling up in the dark with a festive drink with your family and friends to enjoy your beautiful Christmas tree.

Step one – Artificial or Real?

Before decorating real trees always soak the tree overnight and make a diagonal cut in the base before placing in your planter.  Avoid placing it near direct heat as the needles will drop more quickly. Following both of these tips will help to preserve your Christmas tree for longer.  For both real and artificial trees use plastic bags or a tree skirt to catch all the pines when decorating as it will make your cleaning  easier.

Read  instructions before you begin assembling the tree.  When unpacking your artificial tree make sure that you take time to organise the parts of your tree into sizes, colour codes and the base.   If you were well organised last year then your tree will already be wrapped or tied together in groups, labelled and semi-fluffed!  Fluff your tree.  Fluffing the tree is consuming but essential for artificial trees because it adds volume to create a bushy full tree.  For this reason when packing up my tree I  prefer to loosely wrap sections of the tree into sheets, plastic or smaller boxes,  clearly marking each section to ensure the tree does not get squashed.

Step two

Unpack all of your decorations and lights and also lay them out into colours, themes, palettes, and sizes.  Remember to keep all your packaging and labels intact to reuse for next year.  Rather than just placing decorations over the tree consider picking a theme.  If you want to be bang on trend then opt for  whimsical, vintage or nature inspired Scandinavian theme. Classic two colour contrasts such as snowy white and silver or in red and gold are timeless, traditional tartans or have a contrasting mixture of modern colours have a wow factor.  Alternatively show off your creative side and make your Christmas tree unique by using some with sentimental value such as family heirlooms, decorations from babies first Christmas or homemade by your children.

The way you place lights will have a huge impact on the overall look of the Christmas tree and it is difficult redo the decorations if not happy with the results.  So, it is a good idea to image the decorations on your tree and map everything out mentally before you begin.

Step three

Before  decorating untangle your lights,  lay them out on the floor, switch them on to test and change any bulbs that may have blown. Adding lights before decorating with ornaments is much easier rather than try to fit them in afterwards.   Know the exact position of where you want to place your tree, calculating that there is enough cable to reach the electrics, there is enough passing space and there is no trip hazard risk.  Only once your have done this you can begin decorating your tree with lights.

Make sure that the lights are turned off. Then I wrap lights onto a small stick and simply unwind them off the stick, it is very effective as it has saved lots of tangles and overstretching.  Hold the stick at arms length and loosely drape the lights onto your required layout. I tend to work from the inner branches out halfway, wrap around the tree and loop onto the next working from the bottom to the top. Use a timer or smart app to reduce the amount of times you need to be near the tree, therefore reducing your risk of knocking it over.

 A Video by Monkeysee.

Step four

Lay stringed decorations such as beads or tinsel on lower branches, working around the tree, outwards and upwards.  Baubles and hanging decorations should be even for a traditional look. Get impact by grouping several big ornaments together or suspending icicles and iridescent decorations on the tips of the tree. Large poinsettias, bows and berries look beautiful if you have a rustic tree but overcrowding the tree with them can look messy.  To keep your tree looking it’s best secure  loose decorations with crafting wire.  Stand back and admire your work. Make adjustments if you need to make things more symmetrical.   Now is the time to snuggle up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine by the fire –with all your hard your you’ll be sure of giving your guests a  warm welcome this Christmas.

If you want your beautifully decorated Christmas tree to appear in our own video then please email us your image through the contact form or email us directly at info@thepartyguide.co.uk

 A Robeson Design

Christmas Tree Product Review

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Buying a Christmas Tree?

If you have not bought a Christmas tree yet or if you need to replace yours then it is time to hit the shops as the prices are coming down!  Overnight Argos has reduced the prices on some of their trees and other store may follow. Over the past week we have been reviewing the best Christmas tree buys and have reviewed 10 product, narrowing them down to our top 5.

If are rushing to the shops to grab a bargain then there are 3 things that you may wish to think about:

  1. Do you want real or artificial Christmas Tree?  If real you will need to check whether it is fresh and the needles are firm.  Ask whether the shop give a guarantee if the tree dies before Christmas and if it is a low needle drop?  When buying an artificial Christmas tree examine it to make sure that it does not look too plastic and that the metal hooks are not too awkward to slot into the frame.
  2. What size of tree do you need?  Take some measurements from floor to ceiling and imagine how tall you want your tree when the tree topper is in place. Where will you place your tree, and will there be enough passing space around it?
  3. What type of ornaments do you prefer?  The final look of the Christmas tree will alter depending on what type of branches your want. There are so many too choose from such as pine, fire, pre-lit, snowy, coloured etc. The general rule is that pine trees look better with light decorations such as bows and tinsel. Fir look better with heavy baubles and dramatic decorations.

Overall there were 2 trees that scored 10/10. It was very difficult to pick which one we preferred so we had a joint top tree as they were designed to fit into different style homes.  Many of the larger trees in John Lewis sold out quickly. Argos had some fantastic value Christmas trees and if there were any quality issues you can feel secure that they operate 30 day money back guarantee. In general Debenhams seemed to be  expensive in comparison to the other shops so they did not make out top 5 list are I have given 2 links for really nice Christmas trees.   With Amazon it was not possible to physically examine the Christmas trees and so we had to research information from the internet and there seemed to be a lot of mixed reviews about the quality.

 

Christmas Tree Product Review Results

  • Cooper Green Pine Christmas Tree, 7ft.  10/10  It the shapes look very natural, with thick the pine  and frosted cones which add an authentic, rustic touch.  Buy from John Lewis for £150.00.
  • Snowy Woodland White Flock Christmas Tree, 6ft. 10/10  This striking coloured Christmas tree is ideal for adding unique style to any home. Gorgeous, full branches offer generous space for decorations, which look beautiful in contrasting or complementary shades in any modern interior. Buy from Marks & Spencers for £125.00
  • Prelit Snow Tipped Christmas Tree –  9/10 A 7 foot pre-lit Christmas tree with snow tipped branches and 200 warm lights included. It is very busy and feels good quality. Buy from Argos for £89.99 (full price £104.99)
  • Nordmann Fir Real Christmas Tree with Stand 8/10.   These are the perfect and symmetrical trees that you see on the John Lewis Christmas TV advert.  They look bushy, have soft foliage, excellent needle retention plus they smell divine. Buy from John Lewis Size and prices vary from 5-6ft for £65 to 7-8ft for £100 (pot depends on tree).
  • Evergreen Slim Christmas Tree, 6ft.  7/10  A very tall and slim tree which would be perfect in smaller homes, especially as the choice is so limited. The branches were fairy thick and it felt quite sturdy enough to carry lots of decorations. This made our top 5 has it is such good value. Buy from Argos for £14.99  (full price is £19.99).
  • Real Christmas Tree at IKEA. £25 with a voucher! Not in our affiliation group but we had to mention the fantastic bargain at IKEA because they are giving a £20 voucher away with all purchases of their trees but the offer is only valid *26/11/2015 and 23/12/2015.  Check their T&C’s
  •  Skye Snowy Fir Christmas Tree, 7ft. This is a magnificent Christmas tree as it has lots of heavy snowy branches. You can almost image that you are outside. The only reason why it has not made it higher up the list is that we need a balance of different sized Christmas trees. Buy from John Lewis for £180.00
  • Noma 7ft ‘Shetland Forest Pine’ artificial Christmas tree. The Shetland Forest Christmas tree is a traditional mixed tip style that will look great in your home.  The Noma Christmas trees are known for their outstanding quality.  Buy from Debenhams for £250.00
  • Noma 6ft ‘Scottsdale Fir’ pre-lit Christmas tree    The traditional ‘Scottsdale Fir’ pre-lit Christmas tree. It has 300 warm LED lights and an 8 hours on/ 8 hours off timer.  It is made by Noma and so you can be assured that it is manufactured to very high standards.  is a traditional style that will look great in your home. Buy  from Debenhams for £300.00
  • Slim Green Colorado Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree (2.1m / 7ft).  We can only make base on product review on other views written by consumers.  In general it sounds as if it is a reasonable price for a reasonable product. The size is suitable for an average room. The negative feedback is that the tree drops some of its needles.

 

 

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