Photo Credit: Christmas Tree Shopping by Steven Depolo, on Flickr
Having a live Christmas tree can be a really festive part of the holiday season. There’s just something about knowing you’ve got a live tree inside that makes it so much more special than having an artificial tree. You may never have had a live tree before and are wondering just how to go about choosing a good one. Here are some tips to get you on your way to the loveliest tree ever.
If you’re cutting down your own tree, be prepared that it’s not as easy as it looks. Don’t go for the most monstrous tree on the farm. Choose a relatively small tree with a thin trunk. You won’t want to spend hours out there hacking away with a saw at an enormous tree. Go smaller, get done faster, and go home with enough energy to actually decorate the tree.
Choose a tree that has lots of branches. If it’s sparse, you’ll end up with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. When those few needles fall off you’ll have just bare branches left to decorate. Go for one with full boughs that look lush. Make sure there’s not a bald side. Check all around the tree to make sure all sides are presentable. Don’t buy a tree that has brown needles. This means it’s been sitting cut too long without any water and will surely be brittle and dropping needles.
Go for a tree with healthy looking branches and plenty of them. Go for a tree that has a ball base wrapped in burlap. This sort of tree is meant to be planted after the Christmas season. That way you’re not throwing out a perfectly good tree and are instead adding to the beauty of the landscape. If you can’t find a balled tree, go for a cut tree but plan on recycling it. Most cities now have a Christmas tree collection day when you can put your live tree on the curb and it will be picked up and recycled into mulch. At least that way it’s not going into a landfill.
Plan for a way to get your tree home. The top of your car is the fail safe choice. Just be sure to bring rope as often the tree farm won’t supply it. Once it’s home, get it into a bucket of water or a tree stand that has a well in the base for water. The sooner you get it watered, the fresher it will stay.
Water your tree every day. Some people don’t even know you have to water a live cut tree. They figure it’s going to die anyway, but you really do have to water it if you don’t want the needles to fall off in batches. It doesn’t make for a good looking tree and the needles can be a pain to clean up.
If you have certain pets, like mischievous cats or a rambunctious puppy, you’ll want to make sure your tree is well secured. You can anchor it with the tree base but you might even want to rope it to a wall if it’s very large. Keep in mind that some animals will eat pine needles and that’s not the best thing for them. Keep your tree gated off from animals and babies so that everyone stays safe.
Now it's time to bake the Holiday cookies and wait for the presents to be put under your beautiful Christmas tree.