This season, Amazon is selling 6- to 7-foot tall Christmas trees and delivering them right to your front door. We ordered one to see what it was like -- because who really knows what to expect when a company says "We'll send you a Christmas tree"?
We were lucky that our 49-pound (!!!), 7-foot tall box arrived via FedEx early in the day. Even before we brought it in the house, it smelled like a Christmas tree!
Don't let her face fool you. It's not that hard to get it out of the box. (But it is heavy for a person to handle solo.) Definitely take note that the process makes a giant mess, so do this outside, not in your living room like we did.
Most tree lots people would traditionally get live trees from will do this for you before you bring the tree home. Many will even attach your tree stand on the premises, getting you that much closer to decorating than Amazon did here. None of the prep work was truly difficult with two of us, but we could see this being an issue for someone living alone, older people, or anyone with less patience or dexterity.
But keep the twine or wrapping on the tree until you've positioned it in your tree stand. It's also important to know that since the tree is so fresh still, it will most likely be moist, damp and full of sap.
We had an uber-fancy tree stand that was supposed to make it easy to "grab" the tree. After some finagling, we got it straight(ish) and locked in. Make sure your tree is positioned exactly where you want it for the season, and safely in the stand before you open its branches.
As you unwrap the Amazon tree, again remember to be careful of the sap, tree branches and needles that will fall off. You may also want to keep some hedge clippers handy so you can snip any damaged or falling branches.
Plan where you want your tree to live for the season before filling your stand with water or beginning to decorate with the tree skirt. Some people want their trees in the window for all to see and be jealous of, others want it to be the bright and shiny centerpiece of their homes. In either case, be prepared for A Project if you try to move it after decorating.
If your lights are brand-new like ours were, be sure to stretch them out to get maximum coverage. If they've been jumbled up and in storage for the past year, consider patiently untangling them before starting to decorate. (It will really help your mental health, trust me.)
Tuck the end of the lights into the back of the tree (assuming you have a side facing the wall or corner), or connect it to a light-up or smart tree topper.
Make sure the lights are on while you decorate, even if it's daytime when you do so. You'll get a much better idea of spacing, as well as what your ornaments will look like as you place them on the tree next.
Decorating your tree is one of the best parts of the season (for some, I admit). If you put your heaviest and largest ornaments closer to the bottom, they have only a short way to fall and are less likely to break. Lighter ornaments can be placed further up the tree since they won't bend the smaller, lighter branches.
In my family, we start with the largest, most important ornaments and go from there. And sure, we have hundreds of ornaments of various sizes, and a huge fake tree, but still! Planning ahead is always helpful.
My mother always made my homemade ornaments face the window, "for everyone to see," she said. But I think they just weren't up to snuff with the rest of the tree. Think carefully about what you want guests and family to see when they experience the tree with you.