What you need to know:
When is the right time to put up the tree? This may have more than one answer because everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to the Christmas traditions.
The Christmas spirit begins taking over as early as early November. By midmonth, Christmas carols start getting more airtime and by the end of the month every individual is listening to their favourite carols. As December closes in few offices, commercial buildings and some homes have already given into the season by putting up their Christmas trees and decor. This brings us to the question: When is the right time to put up the tree? This may have more than one answer because everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to the Christmas traditions.
However, according to tradition, some Christians put up the Christmas tree on the day of Advent, a period before Christmas which celebrates the birth of Jesus and is a period of preparation. This dictates that Christmas trees should be put up at the beginning of Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
This year, Advent begins on Sunday December 3, 2023.
However, most people put their trees up at the beginning of December to kick off the festive month and also use it as the official countdown to the day.
Daniel Kang’u, the general manager at Serena Hotel Kampala says their tree will officially be up on December 1. “We call this day the lighting ceremony. This officially kicks off the beginning of the Christmas festivities. At the hotel, the lighting ceremony, we go all out bring in an orchestra to celebrate the event,” he says.
Kang’u says the hotel uses an artificial tree because it is recyclable, which helps in protecting the environment by reducing the number of trees cut every year.
Because the hotel welcomes many families for the festival season, they want the lit up tree to be the first thing they see when they enter.
“This is our way of showing that we are ready for them. Making sure our hotel is welcoming and exuding the joy and festivities of Christmas ensures our guests will have the best time during their stay,” says Kang’u.
Patricia Birungi, a mother of one says she begins getting ready for the holidays two weeks before Christmas.
“Growing up watching a lot of hallmark Christmas movies and singing the jingle bells made me fall in love with what they call ‘the magic of Christmas’. Setting up the tree is by far the best part of it all. I like all kinds of trees but for me to feel the vibe of the holiday, I always go more to the traditional side of things. I love my tree fresh and full of life; cut right from the forest to my house,” she says.
Fresh Vs artificial
For consumers who prioritise freshness, they may put up the tree later in the season to be able to enjoy it throughout the holiday. Just as any cut flower or plant, a Christmas tree does not stay fresh forever, so its natural life span is a good cue for when to put it up.
On average, a freshly cut Christmas tree will last between four and five weeks. However, if you as many people who buy their Christmas trees from the supermarket, ask the salesperson when your tree was cut. Also the type of tree you buy determines how long it can stay fresh because some trees last longer than others. For instance Pine trees last about three weeks while fir and cypress trees last five weeks.
For Diana Agaba, the beginning of December is the ideal time for her to put up the Christmas tree.
“Because I want to feel the Christmas spirit as soon as we enter the month of December, I use an artificial tree which lasts. I also prefer artificial trees because they are easy to decorate and require less effort than natural ones,” says Agaba.
Agaba says having a tree in her home cheers her up.
“Even though you are tired from the day’s hassle and bustle, when you look at that tree when you get back home, it brings you back to the celebratory mood. It is a great feeling to have for a whole month,” she says.
At Skyz Hotel Naguru you are welcomed by all those Christmas colours; blues, reds, whites the moment you enter the reception. There is at least one tree in the different lounges, tree stickers by the walls and décor even on the rails of the stairs.
There is even a photo area with a sofa with a red cover and cushions, mini trees and snowmen on each side of the sofa, guests to take photos. The main tree is a brilliantly decorated artificial tree that will make even the biggest scrooge feel some Christmas spirit.
Experts recommend putting up the tree as early as one possibly can because decorating ahome early can create a neurological shift, a spike in the feel-good hormone dopamine which can produce happiness.
How to keep your fresh tree longer
A natural Christmas tree can last the entire month of December, and maybe even stretch into the New Year, if you care for it properly. Here is what to do.
Trim the trunk
Similar to trimming flower stems prior to placing them in a vase, you should trim the trunk of your tree by a few inches if it’s not freshly cut before you put it in the stand. This not only helps your tree last longer, but it also helps the tree absorb water. Ask the attendant at the tree lot to help you or carefully do it yourself when you get your tree home.
To be sure your tree is getting enough water and avoid sitting water that can lead to trunk rot, refresh the water in the tree stand daily or at least every other day. You can include a bit of sugar and vinegar as a “tree food” of sorts to elongate its life span.
If possible, avoid placing your Christmas tree underneath or above a heat source. This can make the tree dry out faster and lead to early needle dropping.