If you decorate a Christmas Tree, and you snap a pic, but you don’t publish it on Instagram—then, did you even decorate the tree?
Trees So Fierce, You Won’t Even Need a Filter
This is the exciting part of the year where we get to caravan to the local empty lot, turned temporary tree farm; or, perhaps you saunter into the forests with your family and some handy tree-chopping tools.
We wander around the seasonal evergreen firs, taking in all of the smells, looking for the perfect tree to pitch up in our living rooms, next to the window, so everybody on the block can see the decorated branches, the glittering lights, and the giant star at the very, tippy top.
We do it for tradition, we do it so that Santa can find us, we do it for the Instagram-worthy pictures, and we do it for the hashtag.
Step One: Scout Out the Ideal Christmas Tree
There are various different types of Christmas trees. The “original” type is the Evergreen Fir, but in places like British Columbia the Norway Spruce is very popular, and in the United States, it’s the Fraser Fir that takes the cake. In 2012, the Obama family had the Fraser type of tree in the White House!
Check the freshness of the tree by bending a needle. According to Better Home & Garden, “fresh firs should snap, while fresh pines bend and should not break.”
Before you take the tree home, ask to have the bottom part of the trunk cut off. This will allow for water to absorb better so that the tree will remain fresh longer.
Step Two: Decide on the Best Spot for Placement
It’s great to position the Christmas tree near a window so that you can spread holiday cheer and warm fuzzies to those who happen to pass by. And if you place the tree in a corner it will create more depth as well as framing for your Instagram photos.
Avoid putting your Christmas tree near a fireplace because it will cause the tree to dry out too quickly; oh, and it’s also a fire hazard.
Step Three: String the Lights
When you string the lights, start at the top of the tree, and then work your way down, keeping close to the trunk. Do this so that you can tuck and hide some additional wires—it’s easier to hide them at the bottom than it is at the top.
Additionally, tuck some of the lights within the branches and this will create visual depth. Work the lights in vertical triangles, stringing them down and then up, horizontally around the tree.
Decorating Hack: Use an extension cord, and it will make your life much, much easier.
Step Four: Hang Your Ornaments and Garland
Hang your ornaments before you hang the garland. Begin with the heavier, larger ornaments, and then move onto the smaller ones. It’s easier to fit in the smaller ornaments once room becomes more sparse.
Use the garland to cover up any holes or spots, and work it in a top to bottom way, like you did with the string of lights.
Step Five: Shoot the Pics
If you want to capture the true essence of the Christmas tree, wait until the sun goes down so you can see the lights shimmer.
Additionally, don’t use a flash, because this can distort the string of lights and wash out the color. If you need more light, use a (real) flashlight, or use a flashlight app on a friend’s phone, and shine it near your phone while you take the picture.
Your tree is going to look amazing! You might not even want to use a filter.
But, just in case you do: When you’re picking out a filter to use on Instagram, avoid filters like Earlybird, Toaster, and Kelvin, because they severely distort color. Opt instead to use more subtle filters and bring out the green of the tree, like Clarendon, Mayfair, Hudson, and Skyline.
When you edit the picture, remember to bring up the brightness, bring up the saturation, turn on a vignette, if you want to focus in on the tree, and don’t forget to sharpen it.
All this decorating might make you hungry. Want a cookie? Check out our holiday sweets and treats!
Like-for-Like, Follow-for-Follow, Hashtag Perfect Tree
Share pictures of your Christmas tree with us! Use the hashtag, #GetChefd and show us how you like to get into the holiday spirit.