How To Set Up The Perfect Christmas Tree – Part 2 of 3

Ever wonder how they get Christmas trees to look perfect in those magazines? In this 3-part series, we’ll give you some more technical information to help place, choose and decorate your Christmas tree so you can have a tree that is not only picture perfect, but also suits you home and style.

PART 2 – You’ve got the perfect location, now pick the perfect tree.

Now that you’ve read the first post in this series (Read it here:, it’s time to discuss dimensions. By establishing the optimum height and footprint for your tree before shopping, you’ll find the process a bit simpler. This is especially important when you’re investing in an artificial tree that will last you several years.

Height – My kids always want to absolutely tallest tree possible, but how tall is too tall?

First, think about the tree itself. If you’re getting a real tree, factor in the height of your tree stand. When shopping for an artificial tree, the base height is generally included in the overall height of the tree, but always double check.

Next, think about your tree topper. If you have a small star, then only allot 4-6 inches for it. If you have a grandiose angel, be sure to leave a solid foot for her.

Pro-Tip: Some artificial trees are actually adjustable, definitely a plus if you redesign your layout or move often.

Finally, MEASURE! You’re ceiling is the limit, if you want it to be! If you have a large tree topper or an intricate train around the base, maybe you don’t need too much height but for most of us, bigger is better.

If you know you’re ceiling height already, check out Ballard Designs ( cheat sheet for a quick answer. Or grab your measuring tape (and maybe a step ladder). Your tree, including topper and base should be at least 6 inches from your ceiling. This will allow enough space to keep your tree from looking crowded.

Now that you have the perfect location (see Part 1 here:, and height, it’s time to think about your tree’s footprint, or how much floor space it takes up.

Get a full, bushy tree if you have a large space set aside for it or it is the focal point of your holidays.

Get a thinner tree if you have a smaller home, don’t want to rearrange things to fit your tree or if you’re lacking in space.

If you’re shopping for an artificial tree, you’ll want to look for words like slim or pencil. If you’re going the real tree route, we highly recommend checking out Martha Stewart’s explanation of the types of Christmas trees. Or just take our word and go with a Douglas or White Fir.

So now you’ve got the perfect location and perfecting sizing for your tree. Come back next week to find out about decorating it!

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