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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Christmas Tree

There’s no such thing as Christmas without a Christmas tree — after all, what else would carolers have to sing about during the holidays? Whether artificial or natural, rose gold or black, the tree is the centerpiece in any room so carefully decorating it is a must. But that’s easier said than done: Besides all the color matching and ornament placements that need to be planned ahead of time, there are still some less obvious blunders that renters can make.

So, if you’re looking to add some cheer to your rental apartment this holiday season, here are the seven mistakes you should be wary of when it comes to setting up and decorating the Christmas tree.

You didn’t get the right size tree

Big Christmas trees are impressive (who doesn’t love the National Christmas Tree?) but they are not always the most practical choice depending on the size of your apartment. In fact, getting the wrong tree size can completely throw off the perspective and make your place look smaller or bigger than it really is — or even become a safety hazard. So, while having a big, lush tree in your living room sounds like a good idea on paper, it’s better to consider how much space your yule tree would actually take up in the room prior to making the purchase.


You put on the lights last

Always start with the lights — not only does it make it easier to dress up your tree without disturbing your ornaments, but it also spares you the frustration of dealing with the tangled mess left from last year. The best way to give your tree a uniform look is by starting from the bottom and working your way up. Don’t forget to hide the plug behind the tree and don’t leave your lights on overnight in order to avoid any potential fire hazards!


You didn’t measure things beforehand

Decorating a Christmas tree is an art in itself (an art that requires precise measurements). That said, make sure you don’t skip that part! — otherwise, you’ll end up with string lights just a little too short to fully wrap around your tree. Or maybe with too much tinsel and too few ornaments. Or, worst of all, you’ll get scratches on the ceiling because the tree topper is too tall. That’s why measuring everything before going out to buy your festive decorations should always be very high on your festive to-do list.


You let small ornaments within children’s reach

We all know how excited children can get when they see a Christmas tree that’s adorned with festive ornaments, big and small. But when those tiny ornaments are hanging off your Christmas tree, they are a real choking hazard. Keeping small objects out of children’s reach is another important thing to keep in mind when decorating your tree. To avoid any unpleasant (read: dangerous) situations, try to keep the smaller ornaments on the higher branches and hang larger ornaments on the lower branches of the tree.


You didn’t get the right base for your tree

Whatever the philosophical question about trees falling in a forest might suggest, it’s not something you want to experience during a Christmas party. The best way to avoid this is by making sure you get the right base for your tree. An adjustable tree base with sturdy legs is the best choice, but make sure it can hold the weight of your tree and it doesn’t wobble. It doesn’t even need to be pretty, since you can dress it up with tinsel and hide it behind presents.


You didn’t look after your tree properly

Plant parents will already be aware but looking after anything that lives in a pot can be a lot of work. That goes doubly for Christmas trees since the switch to a warm, humid environment can be quite shocking. That said, it’s best to keep the tree away from heaters or radiators of any kind. Opt for cool spots that still get plenty of light instead. And when it comes to watering your Christmas tree, the right amount is also important: Too much and it drowns, too little and it dries out, leading to a potential source of a fire hazard in your rental apartment.


You didn’t distribute the ornaments evenly

There’s nothing more terrifying than committing the ultimate faux pas of Christmas tree decorating: under- or overdressing your tree. More often than not, instead of everything coming together in a beautiful display of balance, the back of your tree looks painfully barren compared to the front. While this might not be a complete disaster — you can always set the tree in a corner and hope no one will notice anything — it might be easier to just plan around it by taking it one item at a time. Again, the easiest way to do this is by starting with the big ornaments, then the small ones and spreading everything evenly on the branches.


Adina Dragos
Adina Dragos
Adina Dragos is a creative writer at RentCafe, with a passion for reading, research and cats. As a fellow renter, Adina's articles cover various topics such as the state of the real estate market or how creative interior design choices improve the experience of living in a rental. She also enjoys exploring subjects like urbanization, green living and historical buildings. Adina has a BA in English and Norwegian Language and Literature.

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