Treegonometry – the formula for the perfect Christmas tree

Festive maths students from the University of Sheffield have created formulas for the perfect Christmas tree.

Members of the University’s Maths society, called SUMS, have put an end to bare branches, by calculating the amount of baubles, tinsel and lights needed, as well as the size of the essential star on top.

Department store Debenhams set the University the Christmas themed challenge to create the formulas for the perfectly decorated Christmas tree and it is also available below as a calculator.

If you’ve found your ideal Christmas tree but want to ensure you use the appropriate amount of decorations then the calculator will have the answer.

The formulas - which are being rolled out for use by Debenhams personal shoppers nationwide - are as follows:

For example, a 180cm (6ft) Christmas tree would need 37 baubles, around 919 cms of tinsel and 565 cms of lights and an 18cm star or angle is required to achieve the perfect look.

Nicole said: "The formulas took us about two hours to complete. We hope the formulas will play a part in making Christmas that little bit easier for everyone."

The formula allows customers to be savvy when buying the Christmas decorations, as they can calculate exactly how much they need to create a beautifully decorated tree.

Debenhams Christmas decorations buyer Sarah Theobold added: "The formula is so versatile it will work for a tree large enough for the Royal Family at Balmoral but also on trees small enough for the most modest of homes.

Christmas tree facts:

  • The world’s tallest Christmas tree would, at 2,600ft tall, need more than 16,000 baubles, over 4,000 meters of tinsel, almost 2,500 meters of lights, and an 80 meter tall star.
  • This year’s Trafalgar Square tree is 21 meters tall, meaning it would need 433 baubles, over 100 meters of tinsel, 65 meters of lights and a two meter tall star.

"Customers are often making the error of buying too large or small an angel; however this simple formula means you’ll have the tree to star ratio correct."


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