Christmas is on its way!   For many people buying a Christmas tree is a family event.  Choosing the right tree, getting it home, putting it up and then decorating is an exciting experience which both children and adults look forward to and for many marks the true arrival of Christmas into the home.

The joy of seeing a small child’s incredulous look when they see their first Christmas Tree brought into the home is only slightly dampened by the knowledge that its arrival also means a little bit more work each day to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Protecting Your Floors

So here are our tips for looking after your carpets and floors and preventing needle shedding:

  1. Position – Think about where to position your tree, as people brushing past it which will encourage needles to drop quicker, meaning you will spend more time vacuuming!
  2. Measure – Don’t forget to measure the height and width of where you want to put the tree and take a tape measure with you when you are buying.
  3. Type of tree – There are lots of varieties of trees available, some are better at retaining their needles than others.  Get advice from your retailer or visit the British Christmas Tree Growers site for more information  However, don’t forget that if you have a real tree you will always get a certain amount of needle dropping regardless of variety.
  4. Cut, rooted or container trees – The sort of tree you buy will determine the type of container you use and how you look after them.  Cutting half an inch from a tree trunk that has already been cut will enable easier intake of water.
  5. Fresh is best – Test before you buy – branches should not be brittle and outer needles should not fall off the tree when it is gently shaken.
  6. Tree stand safety – Make sure you have the right size tree stand (with a container to water the tree) especially if you have children (touching decorations especially chocolate ones!) or cats (who think you have supplied them with a scratching pole!). It should be wide enough to support the tree and make good contact with the floor.  Having to taper the tree trunk to fit the stand means you need a bigger stand to prevent it toppling over and becoming a safety issue to your family and home.
  7. Deep carpets – To protect the carpet and ensure that the tree stand has a solid standing, cut out a sturdy piece of plywood for the base of the tree to stand on.  Use a tree skirt or Christmas wrapping paper to hide the wood and tree stand.
  8. Hard floors – Tree stands can easily scratch hardwood floors so put a non-skid piece of carpeting or similar non-slip mat under the stand.
  9. General carpet protection – It’s a good idea to place some plastic sheeting (with non-slip tape) and a scrap piece of carpet under the tree stand to protect hardwood floors and carpets from accidental water spills, leaks and weight marks. It also makes it easier to clean up when the tree is removed.
  10. Avoid direct heat – A dry tree is a fire hazard so keeping it away from direct heat is important.  The risks of being too close to an open fire are obvious, but being too close to radiators and not watering adequately will not only dry out the tree but also limit the tree’s ability to maintain its shape and sheen and will encourage faster needle shedding.
  11. Water daily – Whether it is a cut, rooted or container tree they all need watering daily. You will be surprised at how much water they actually require.
  12. A long spouted watering can enables easier watering, but care should be taken not to let the tree base over-flow as this will spill onto your carpet and create a damp area which could then develop mildew and mould.
  13. Sweep or vacuum regularly to clear any needles, whilst at the same time taking care not to knock branches or the tree trunk as this will cause more needles to drop off!
  14. Stubborn needles – To clear needles that have lodged into carpets, rugs and between the slats of a wooden floor use the smaller attachments on your vacuum or use some duck tape to pull them out.

Personally looking after our real Christmas tree is very much worth the effort.  The twinkling lights and the wonderful pine smell truly sums up Christmas, but when New Year arrives I am itching to get my home back to ‘normal’ and enjoy packing Christmas away and cleaning up.  And so as we enter 2014, we say a fond farewell to our tree it and I watch in amusement at the hilarious sight of my husband wrestling with a half-naked tree (that is usually completely naked by the time it leaves the house) as it departs.