Whether it is a twenty-four inch Christmas table decoration or a huge twenty-foot fir that touches the living room ceiling, nobody wants the Christmas tree to fall down. Aside from damaging the tree and the ornaments that adorn it, there is all the mess to clean up as well. Fortunately, with a little effort and common sense, it is easy to prevent such a catastrophe.
Lets begin, with some straightforward physics. Christmas trees are unstable for the same reason a baseball bat held heavy-end up in your palm is. However, before you start correcting that statement, it is of course true that the tree is bigger at the bottom than the top while the baseball bat is not.
However, one thing is the same in that in each case you have a tall rod that can swivel around with a push. The taller the rod, the less force is necessary to make it turn. Once it starts, it continues until it reaches equilibrium, which in this case, is the ground. That is unless there is a force in the opposite direction to stop it.
Therefore, the key to making a stable Christmas tree is to make sure there are forces opposing any sideways motion, which, in practice is not too hard to do, provided you bear a couple of things in mind.
Give it a secure base
The most obvious way to achieve this is by using a Christmas tree stand. That can be as simple as two boards nailed into the bottom or it can be a large plastic or metal base. Try to make it as wide as possible and as heavy as possible.
A wide base provides a resisting force by pushing back against the floor anytime a force pushes the tree sideways. The wider the base, the bigger the opposing force. A heavier base provides the same kind of opposing force, just by a different means. It is hard to push a heavy object over when it is close to the ground.
Nevertheless, that base can only produce a stable tree if the tree is well secured to it. That may involve pushing the screws far into the tree. On the other hand, it may necessitate that you fill the base with material that keeps the tree from tipping. In every case, ensure that the bottom of the tree is perfectly flat and snug on the bottom of the base.
Secure the top of the tree
If you have done everything to the base that you reasonable can, you may need to work at the other end. If you secure the top of the tree, it can even more effectively resist sideways motions. You would have to snip the line to get it to fall. If your tree is tall, or likely to be subject to accidental shoves, this might be the way to go.
Children, dogs or cats who like to climb the tree can all produce a Christmas tree that is horizontal rather than vertical, which is not the ideal scenario! However, it is also very difficult to guard against 24/7. Securing the top of the tree with a thin, invisible line is an ideal and simple solution.
Screw a small hook into the ceiling. Thread a thin, transparent length of fishing line around the upper branches of the tree and loop the other end over the hook. Tighten until the tree is about to be lifted off the floor, then slacken slightly. Flexible, strong, secure and practically invisible. You can even wrap some tinsel around the line to disguise it totally.