PI's 25 Steps to Christmas - Step Eight: The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is arguably the most iconic symbol of Christmas, it is hard to imagine the season with out one. It becomes the focal point of a home and is therefore the most important decoration to get right. 

We love real Christmas trees but artificial ones can be just as good, they last a lot longer and are considerably more economical. However if you are a stickler for tradition and only a real one will do, it is important to ensure it sourced as locally as possible, we also recommend looking out for an organic tree to steer clear of nasty chemicals!
Once you have found your perfect tree and unwrapped it in your home don't forget to trim it to insure it looks neat and tidy, make sure to place the base of the tree in water. It is also advised that you leave your tree undecorated for 24 hours to allow the branches and the needles to settle. 

If you would rather purchase an artificial tree we recommend buying one without lights already attached, as this can affect the life span of your tree. Also make sure your tree has medium to long length needles and detachable branches, the option to add or take away branches will allow you to make the most of the tree in the space you have.

When it comes to decorating your tree, real or fake, it is something (depending on how much of a perfectionist you are) the whole family can do together, it is especially exciting for young children. How ever you decide to decorate your tree, we have a few fundamental tips to make your life a little bit easier.
- Place the lights on the tree first working from the bottom up and inside out
- Turn the lights on and take a step back to ensure the lights are distributed evenly 
- Do not place the heavy ornaments on the tips of the branches, instead hang them inside the tree more to create depth and interest

When the time comes to take your Christmas decorations down there are a number of things you can do with your now redundant tree (only if you opted for a real tree of course!), if your tree has roots you can replant it and use it again next year, this option has been gaining popularity in recent years, its not only economical but it is also a fantastic way to kind to the environment. Alternatively some Councils offer recycling services especially for Christmas trees so make sure you take advantage of this if it is available to you!