Tinsel, angels, and flashy bright lights are among a series of festive faux pas that people have pointed out by an etiquette expert rating Christmas trees.
William Hanson, director of etiquette education institute The English Manner, is happy to point out people’s failures on Twitter – but said the most impressive will win the Golden Trivial award.
The forerunner of the award received a high score of 9.6 out of 10 for a tree covered with white lights and decorated with colorful beads, where the winner receives nothing but “honor and praise.”
Others, however, faced public shame as Mr. Hanson despised their demonstration:
A tree decorated with beads and red lights was condemned, and Mr. Hanson said:
Another red-themed tree got him thinking:
It was said to a religious man who presented his tree covered with colorful lights:
One covered in metallic strip got this response:
Mr. Hanson, 33, has turned his attention to more modest homes this winter as his clients include embassies and High Commissions, as well as five different royal families around the world.
“I’m sitting in my chair in the evening tweeting a glass of gin and tonic and laughing to myself,” he told The Telegraph.
“It makes me laugh because it’s ridiculous. I’m not criticizing someone’s hairstyle or face, it’s a Christmas tree, a camping thing.
“Gladly, most people understood this and were not offended. Only one person deleted me because they thought their tree was beautiful. Don’t take it seriously, it’s kind of funny.”
Even the royal family doesn’t always get it right, said Mr Hanson. A tree with blue lights standing in front of Buckingham Palace in 2010 was “absolutely terrifying,” he recalled.
But he said tinsel-looking royal trees from the 1980s could be forgiven. “People then forgot about good taste,” he added.
According to the etiquette coach, for the perfect Christmas tree to be enjoyable, it needs to follow a few basic rules.
“A real tree will always look much better than a fake one,” he said.
“It’s a bit like a fake bow tie – no matter how good people think fake bow ties look, they always look fake. I’ve never seen a fake tree, even a top class, super expensive tree looks real.
Multicolored lights are “incredibly retro” and another big no-no.
“Historically, candles were used in the Victorian era, so a white, warm light also represents stars that are white when viewed from Earth,” he said.
Unless the decorator has a “very, very artistic eye”, ornaments should stick to only two colors, silver and red, to avoid looking “messy”.
Tinsel should also be applied – “that’s a golden rule,” he said.
“It’s terrible for the environment – get rid of it, it doesn’t look good. You can never arrange them properly and the same goes for those beads – they look so tiny as if they were thrown on.
Topper is non-negotiable. “It was a star, not a sugar plum fairy, that took Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem,” he said. And many angels look like fairies, so it’s better to go to a star.”
However, you can follow these basic rules and still get caught.
Presenting his tree with white lights, gold and blue ornaments, and a star at the top, one participant said he would “love to know” what Mr. Hanson was thinking.
Is it the answer?