Oh, Christmas Tree!

Nothing completes the yuletide vibe at home quite like the Christmas tree. But we all know that getting it up is only half the battle; the trimmings and décor are a totally different matter.

Thus, if you have found yourself endlessly starting at your unadorned tree, or losing sleep wondering if you have done your tree justice or not, we come to your rescue.

As your home’s main display for the season, your family and friends are sure to give special attention to this particular holiday setup. Of course, the tree can also tell a story. As the design choices are endless, knowing where and when to stop can save you a lot of time, effort, and money. And if you have yet to buy a tree, heading to the mall armed with some food for thought can prove priceless.

Here then are some tips to make your tree ready for Santa, er, the holiday season.

One, two, tree! Pick your Christmas tree’s spot for the season and measure it, especially if you are buying a new tree. Note down the floor area you have for the tree so you can pick the right width, whether full or slim. For the height, allocate six to eight inches from the ceiling and start measuring a good length for your tree. Do not forget to leave extra room for you to decorate the tree and surround it with gifts. See if you need to move furniture this early, especially if you are planning to take group photos around your tree.

Weight and see. This is what you should think of when buying a tree. If you plan to put heavy ornaments or lots of lights on your tree, make sure the stand and branches of your Christmas tree can handle your ornaments for the entire season.

Update your old ornaments. There is no need to spend a fortune if you already have décor from previous years. Clean these and see if you can update the look by applying glittered nail polish or paint. The brand-new you look you give them can spark design ideas and inspire you to work on your tree all the more!

Lighten up. Keep your color scheme in mind when you choose your Christmas tree lights. Smaller light bulbs will work best, as they won’t take all the attention from the other trimmings. It is best to put the lights on your tree first so you can evenly measure the space you have for your ornaments. If you want to get bigger bulbs or differently-shaped ones, designate space for these and make sure you do not place big or loud ornaments near them.

Tree theme. Decide on how you want your tree to look. Even if it’s your home and you are already familiar with the space, consider things like your holiday curtain colors when choosing your tree and ornaments. While we are all allowed to go a little flashy with our Christmas trees, keeping to a theme or color scheme is a good way to avoid going overboard. Try pairing metal colors with festive hues, like blue and silver. Go for the traditional red and green, or a warmer feel by having red, orange, and gold ornaments.

The land of garlands. Real Simple says these festive strands add pops of colors and conceal bare spots in a tree. Choose a color like deep crimson, and pair it with lighter, complementary hues like pink and ivory. Opt for a garland that will complement, not compete, with the rest of your ornaments.

Group work. Before you start populating your tree, group your ornaments together by design and by color. This will help in distributing your ornaments evenly. Also, work from the top to the bottom of the tree to avoid hitting décor. Place some ornaments on the inner portions of your tree to give it a fuller look.

Personalize it. You can freely skip the traditional ornaments and put items that are special to your family. These could be small stuffed toys, photographs, or candies. You can also have a theme for your ornaments and have every one personalize it. Ask them to design blank ornaments like stars, cones, or small socks.

Love on top. The star of the Christmas tree gets the most-coveted, primary spot. It could be an angel, a star, or a special ornament that you want to be the center of attention. By tradition, this would be the last thing placed on a tree but the practicality suggests installing it first. This helps to prevent hitting or displacing ornaments. Even the tree might be toppled – along with all your efforts.

Never bare under. A Christmas tree skirt, ribbons, or a carpet can enhance your tree’s overall look.  Even better, if you want to wrap presents this early, place them under your tree! As long as everybody’s Christmas EQ is in check, all the presents will be opened by Christmas Eve.

Picture perfect. If not even the entire household’s feedback satisfies your feeling of achievement, take photos of your tree to better appreciate your masterpiece. Take photos from different angles, and during the morning and at night. This will help you identify areas you can improve on or tone down.