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Christmas Trees: Do’s and Don’ts When You Want a Real One

If you want a real Christmas tree, there are a lot of things you need to know to make a good decision about what tree to buy. Here’s tips that will help you during all stages of the process of buying a real Christmas tree.

Before You Buy

Once you know that you want a real Christmas tree, decide where you will put it in your home. Measure the space. Pay special attention to the width, as well as the height of the room. You want to avoid a scenario in which you buy a Christmas tree and bring it all the way home, only to discover that the tree is too big for the room.

For example, you don’t want to be Clark Griswold and bring home a tree that won’t even fit in his yard, let alone his living room!

Remember to measure the height of the tree when you are buying it. If the tree is too tall for the room, you could cut the top of the tree. But a tree with a cut top may not look as beautiful.

Another important consideration that has an impact on the size is the number of decorations you have to put on it. You may be able to afford a large tree and have space for it, but do you also have enough decorations for a large tree?

If you don’t have enough decorations, either buy a smaller tree that you can decorate beautifully, or allocate some more money in your budget or time in your calendar for the purchase or creation of new Christmas tree decorations.

Learn more about different varieties of Christmas trees. Not all Christmas trees are the same.

For example, Nordman Fir and Abies Nordmanniana have a defined conical shape. The needles are not sharp and stay on the tree for a long time.

Norway Spruce and Picea Abies have soft needles and a shape of a structured pyramid. One of the oldest trees in the world is a Norway Spruce called, Old Tjikko. The tree is more than 9,000 years old.

Silver Fir and Abies Alba grow in central and southern Europe, which is why it may not be available in all markets. The species was one of first that people used as a Christmas tree. In the United States, the most popular species of Christmas trees are the Blue Spruce and Picea Pungens. These trees have a blue-green color and are very symmetrical with sharper needles that hold well after being cut down.

Other popular species in North America are Fraser Fir and Abies Fraseri. These trees have small, dark, soft needles and strong branches. The compact size works well for small spaces.

How to Choose a Christmas Tree

After you decide on the size and species of the tree you want, it’s time to go to a Christmas tree market or a forest area designated for letting the public cut down their own trees. Your main goal is to choose the freshest tree possible. One of the ways to do so is to shake one of the branches and see how many needles fall off. If the tree is losing needles very rapidly, it may be an old tree.

If you’ve decided to purchase a Christmas tree of the Frasier or Douglas species, one of the ways to check their freshness is to remove a needle and break it in half. A needle from a fresh tree snaps in your fingers. If the needle breaks without snapping, the tree may be old. On the other hand, the branches on a fresh tree should be flexible and should not break or snap easily.

Yet another way is to check the freshness of a tree is by weight. After a tree is cut, it has sap in it that it continues to use. The fresher the tree, the more sap it has and the heavier it is. To check for the amount of sap, you can grab some of the branches gently with your hand and see if some sticky sap remains on your hands. If a tree is fresh, it is somewhat sticky.

Maintenance of a Real Christmas Tree

When you bring your tree home, give it as much water as it needs. Make sure that there is always some water in the Christmas tree tray. Try to keep your tree out of direct sunlight and away from heater vents. Both sunlight and heat can shorten the life of the tree.

Again, don’t be like Griswold and let the dog drink all the tree’s water!

How to Discard a Real Christmas Tree

Check with your municipality about the recycling of a Christmas tree. For example, in New York City, the Department of Sanitation offers curbside pickup of Christmas trees from January 4 to January 16. It then recycles the tree into compost and uses it in public spaces of New York City.

Do you typically get a real Christmas tree for your home? What is your favorite variety of a Christmas tree?