Your Christmas tree will serve as the centerpiece for most of your holiday traditions, so you can see why choosing the right one is important. Everyone has their own tree shopping techniques, and we all look for different things. Some like short trees that are nice and round, while others prefer tall skinny trees.
Besides appearance, there are many other things to think about while picking a Christmas tree. You should follow the tips below to ensure you get a great Christmas tree this holiday season.
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, why are you making such a mess?
Have you ever had a tree that shed needles like a long-haired cat? It’s messy; and quite frankly, no one’s got time for that. This is why you should check the tree before you take it home.
When inspecting a potential tree, grab the top and give it a good shake. Some needles should fall onto the ground, and that’s normal, but it should not rain like a tropical storm.
If it leaves a trail of needles behind you while carrying it to the car, or peppers your vehicle with them, you should return it. This is a sign that the tree was cut too soon and is on its last leg. Not only will it end up making a giant mess in your home, but could be a fire hazard.
Another great way to check the freshness of a tree is to bend one of the needles. Usually, a fresh tree will have crisp needles that snap when bent, but this can vary depending upon the species. They should be vibrantly colored, and brown/orange needles are a sign of a dying tree.
Cut the Crap!
If you’re not fortunate enough to live near a tree orchard, where they either cut the tree for you or allow you to chop one down yourself, you’ll have to buy one from a merchant. The problem with this is that sometimes these sellers cut their trees very early, as early as October in some cases, and put them in water or manure until they are sold.
It’s a good idea to ask when the tree was cut so you can determine if it will last through the season. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the tree has seen two decent frosts before chopping it down, this way the sap can solidify, but no sooner then ten days before Thanksgiving.
Size does Matter!
You measured the height of your ceiling in the area you cleared for the tree, and you picked one based on that height, but when you got home, it was too tall, what gives? You, like thousands of other people, probably forgot to calculate the tree stand in your measurements. Don’t worry, everybody does it!
Luckily, this year you’ll remember!
Not only should you figure the tree stand into your calculations, but the height of whatever you plan to put on the top of your tree as well. A nicely lit angel can add beauty to an otherwise normal tree, but no-one wants to see an angel folded across the ceiling!
Many tree farms have a machine that wraps the branches with netting so it’s easier for you to transport it. However, since a lot of businesses are trying to find ways to cut costs, a lot of them no longer do this. You can achieve the same effect with simple plastic netting of your own, but arranging the tree so the trunk is facing forward works just as well. The wind will hold the branches back safely when you position it this way, rather than wreaking havoc on your beautiful tree!
Hydration is Important
Before you take your perfect Christmas tree home, you should ask whether they will cut a small portion off the bottom of the trunk. You can do this at home if you want, but most tree farms will do it for you at no extra charge. They don’t advertise it, but will do it if asked, and it’s a good idea to ask. This will help your new decoration soak up more water, and keep it healthy longer.
Keeping it Fresh
People often decide to buy fake trees because they are less hassle, and do not come with as high of a risk. When not properly cared for a real Christmas tree can become a fire hazard, so it’s important to water it daily, or as often as needed.
Since it’s a daily chore you’re not used to doing it’s understandably easy to forget. This can be remedied by setting an alarm on your phone, or placing a small note somewhere it won’t be missed.
Other Great Ideas
When you first set your tree up, the first drink you should give it is a mixture of hot water and sugar. The sugar-water mixture helps the tree remain fresh longer, and once that is gone you may water it with plain water.
You should avoid placing a tree near anything that will increase the risk of fire. Sure, a Christmas tree looks lovely next to a fireplace, but is it worth the risk? Heaters or registers should be avoided also, and be sure to keep it a safe distance from wall outlets. Some of the older model holiday lights get very hot as well, so it’s a good idea to replace them every few years.
Now that you’re armed with some extra knowledge you should have no problem finding the perfect Christmas tree. It’s not a bad idea to brush up on the different types of fir trees that are commonly offered at tree stands. Each species of tree has it’s own pros and cons, and choosing the right one could be much easier when you know what type to look for!
Otherwise, have fun! There is something magical about walking through the fragrant rows of a tree farm, hot chocolate in hand, watching the excitement in your families eyes, and you don’t want to miss this magic because you were too wrapped up in finding the perfect tree! Remember, it’s not a competition, and every tree is perfect when your family is gathered around it on Christmas morning!