It’s that time of year again when the kids are pestering to put up the decorations and you have to decide whether you’re going to get the artificial tree down from the loft or whether you’re going to go for a real tree this year! Last year, we went for the second option and it didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped…
For years, the kids have been after us to get a real tree rather than use our big 7ft artificial one (which I love) and we finally gave in last year and headed out to the local farm to buy a real Christmas Tree for the first time. We’re not real tree experts so after a poke about we picked one that we thought would do the job and proudly brought it home and put it on a little table out of reach of Monty who was about three months old at the time.
When we unwrapped it from the netting that they’d put on it at the farm though, it looked like a totally different tree to the one we’d picked and didn’t fit as well as I’d hoped in the space we had for it. Also some of the branches felt a bit weak to hang decorations on them and the top of it looked super bare.
I missed my fake tree but the kids loved the novelty of having a real tree so we stuck with it for as long as we could. It started to look a bit limp though, despite the fact we thought we were taking care of it as we should so we ended up taking it down a couple of days after Christmas and this year, I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting the fake one down from the loft again.
As a side note, if I didn’t already have a fake tree then I’d probably persevere with real trees and maybe get one you can plant out in your garden after Christmas but as we already have the fake one then I’ll use it for as long as I can.
But the fact that our fake tree didn’t work out as well as it could have done did inspire me to do a bit of research to help you guys out if you’re planning on a real tree this year. I’ve put together a bit of a guide to help you pick the perfect tree for your space and for your family.
Know your type
There are many different types of Christmas trees – your local farm or the shop where you’re buying your tree from may not have them all but here’s a few of the most popular types of Christmas trees:
Douglas Fir – One of the most popular Christmas trees. The Douglas Fir ranges in color from light green to blue in color. Its branches are strong and support ornaments nicely.
Fraser Fir – Has silvery green needles, soft to touch and has good needle retention. Fraser Fir is strong and easy to decorate due to the spacing between branches.
White Pine – Its needles are long and branches are soft. It’s fragile like appearance gives the white pine its beauty. This tree can only support small lightweight ornaments.
Blue Spruce – Ranges in colour from dark green to powder blue. The Blue Spruce has strong branches for heavy ornaments. It has prickly needles and a classic pyramid shape.
Balsam Fir – The needles are usually in hues of medium green, the needles are flat and closely arranged to twigs. The Balsam Fir may not accommodate heavy ornaments due to flexibility in branches.
White fir – The white fir has a citrus aroma, silvery-blue needles and good needle retention.
I have no idea what type of tree we had last year which shows you how little research we did prior to buying our little tree.
As we found out, a real Christmas tree will always look smaller when it’s surrounded by lots of other than then it will in your living room. It’s a good idea to measure the height of your ceiling and get dimensions of the area you would like to place your tree in. Bringing home a tree that overwhelms your room can be avoided if you measure your space and then measure your tree before you buy it. Don’t forget – if you are putting a topping on the top of the tree like an angel or a star remember to add that measurement to the height of the Christmas tree you pick.
Dress warmly and take gloves – especially if you’re heading to a local Christmas tree farm. You might think you won’t be outside very long looking for the perfect Christmas tree, but it usually takes than then expected. The gloves help keep you warm but also protect your hands from those pesky little needles. Don’t forget to take your tape measure too.
Pick the best
If you wait until later in December your choices will obviously be a bit slimmer tree and someone else might have already taken your perfect tree. You should be looking for trees that are full and don’t have any browning needles – a good tip that someone gave me (after I bought my tree) is to run your hand along a branch and make sure that the needles don’t fall off. Also, look for straight stumps so the tree fits easily in a tree stand and make sure all sides of the tree are full and look healthy.
Tree care tips
Don’t be afraid to ask how you need to take care of your tree when you buy it or Google the name of your tree type when you get home and find out what it needs to keep it happy and healthy so it lasts all throughout the festive period. Basically, to keep your tree healthy and needle retention at it’s best your tree needs to be well hydrated.
Buy a good tree stand
We bought a cheap one which was not only hard to manoeuvre the tree into but it also didn’t hold much water at all which meant frequent top-ups of water which we often forgot. Try and cut one inch off the base of the trunk when you are ready to put it in your tree stand.
Once you have your perfect tree and have it in the tree stand, all you need to do is have fun decorating it as a family with Christmas carols playing in the background. 😉
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