There’s nothing like a plump, twinkling tree to make you feel like it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Oh, Christmas tree!

These days we tend to opt for artificial trees, but that does not mean we have to settle for an insipid, spindly-looking thing.

  • Invest in a durable, good-quality tree. It’ll cost a little more but you’ll be able to haul it out year after year without losing half the pine needles each time.
  • Look for one with dense foliage. Ideally, the ʻtrunk’ of the tree should not be immediately visible.
  • Choose the biggest tree for your space. It should always be impressive but never inconvenient.
  • Stick to a traditional colour and shape. Trend trees are tempting, but why blow the budget on a black and silver LED extravaganza that you may hate next December?
  • Don’t forget to separate and fluff up the branches before decorating, to create as lushan effect as possible. Wear dry washing-up gloves to save you from itchy hands for the rest of the day.

Tip: Pop the feet into a nice woven basket or go all in and get yourself a purpose-built Christmas tree skirt.

Let there be light

Twinkling lights are non-negotiable if you want your tree to give the Downton Abbey Christmas special a run for its money.

  • According to experts, you need at least 100 bulbs per 30 cm of height. So for a 1.8 m tree, you’ll need 600 lights.
  • Hang your lights before adding any other decorations.If they need to be plugged in, measure out enough slack to reach the wall socket before you begin.
  • To create depth, start at the base of the tree, weaving the string of lights around the branches fairly close to the trunk. Once you reach the crown, make your way back down, weaving the lights closer to the tips of the branches.
  • Remember to switch your lights off before going to bed or leaving the house.You’ll save on electricity/batteries andprevent any potential fires from faulty bulbs.

Tip: Into a more minimal look? Stop here, add your tree topper, and enjoy a chic, pared-back aesthetic.

 Tinsel town

Add tinsel and other garlands in your chosen colour scheme.

  • Starting at the crown of the tree, work your way down, increasing the length of tinsel between branches as you go. You want gentle swags, not tight lines.
  • Don’t concentrate it towards the tips of branches, as this creates a bit of a bulbous, caged look.
  • Swap thick strands of tinsel out for lengths of festive ribbon, or nix the garland look entirely and then move straight on to the ornaments.

Tip: If you have a curious pet, perhaps forego tinsel completely. If they eat it, it could cause major problems.

Bauble-ing over

Make yourself a festive snack or beverage for this bit and really savour the process, from gingerly lifting granny’s ornaments out of their tissue paper to helping your toddler hang their first bauble.

  • Saving your most special ornaments until the end is normal, but add them first, so that they’re ensured pride of place.
  • Grab your big baubles next and distribute them evenly. It’s tempting to= concentrate these towards the base, but you’ll end up with a bottom-heavy arrangement. Also pop one or two near the crown and a few in the midsection.
  • Fill in the gaps with smaller ornaments, baubles, bows, bells or even hanging sweet treats before ending by adding your topper.

Tip: Hang a few sparkly ornaments on the innermost branches, close to the trunk. They’ll reflect light and create a mysterious depth, adding to the magic.