Beauty of Christmas – How to Recycle Your X’mas Tree

By CHOONG MEK ZHIN mekzhin@thestar.com.my Photos by ONG SOON HIN

Final touch: Mak (left) helping to cover the base of a tree with a colourful cloth

WHEN it comes to decorating a Christmas tree there are some rules to follow and choosing the right one is essential as it should be able to last for years and not lose its shape or leaves easily.

Being in the business of supplying trees and decorations to malls, department stores, businesses and the public, Glister Fashion Sdn Bhd managing director James Mak provides some insights into how to decorate a Christmas tree.

At Glister, in Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur, one can check out the variety of trees available such as the Jack Pine, Majestic Fir, Canadian Pine, Oregon Fir and the ever popular Scotch Pine that is value for money, according to Mak.

“Buy a tree according to your budget and available space. Ideally, a tree should be at least a feet-and-a -half lower than the ceiling,” he said, adding that shoppers should follow their heart where the type of tree is concerned.

Mak said some may opt for fibre optic trees but those had its weaknesses including overheating if used for long periods as well as having less branches for hanging decorations.

The next step is putting lights on the tree where the rule of thumb is to use a box of lights (100 bulbs) for every foot of the tree.

“A commercial tree is usually double that number. Get lights with end connectors so that you will have one long string of lights rather than many short ones.

“These days, LED lights are preferred because it doesn’t get hot,” he said.

Spoilt for choice: Glittering and colourful decorations for the Christmas tree.

For large trees, Mak said winding the lights into the inner branches starting from the middle of the tree would help brighten it.

“Always start decorating from the top and take a step back every now and then to look at the tree.

“The key to a pleasant looking tree is balance in decoration,” he said.

After that comes the tree topper where traditionally people will use stars or angels while modern ones even include flowers.

“At this point, you should decide on the tree’s colour theme. Try not to pick more than four colours. Safe colour choices are red, gold and silver that are considered traditional,” he said.

Mak said decorations should be concentrated on visible areas of the tree and large items go on first, following a rough zig-zag pattern.

“Large decorations can be anything from blooms to baubles to the relatively cheap option of ribbons. These pieces are considered the focal points of the tree,” he said, adding that a two-and-a-half inch wide ribbon would be good for a six-foot tree.

Then, small decorations are used to fill in the bare spaces on the tree.

“Personal items like photo frames and special ornaments can also be hung. Larger items should go on the lower parts of the tree,” Mak said.

As for plain baubles, he said they were used as fillers hung on the outer branches.

“The shiny ones should be hung on the inner branches so it reflects the lights that you have weaved in there earlier.” he said.

Lastly, Mak said the tree’s final dressings were garlands and that this should not make the tree look too messy.

“The total cost for decorations, including lights for a six-foot tree is about RM500,” he said, adding that those who were interested in learning to decorate can do so at Glister with the purchase of their trees.

Meanwhile, those interested in getting a live tree this year, can head to Ikea at Mutiara Damansara where Scandinavian Christmas trees are being sold at RM129 for a 160cm tree or RM169 for a 250cm one.

Bring these trees back to the store at the Exchange & Returns counter between Jan 1 and 15 and it will be shredded to be reused as fuel while Ikea donates RM10 to the Malaysian Nature Society for every tree brought back.

Article Source  http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/12/10/central/10032882&sec=central

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