The search for the perfect Christmas tree is a holiday season rite of passage for many families. You want to love your tree – after all, you’ll most likely be looking at it for several weeks, and for many people, the tree is the center point of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations, so it’s an important decision. But the very importance of choosing just the right tree is what makes the decision so potentially overwhelming. Is it better to buy a real tree, or an artificial tree? Do you want a small tree, maybe tabletop size, or the biggest one you can find? How can you find the fullest, greenest, best looking trees? Here are a few tips to help make your tree hunting experience easier.
- Narrow it down. You shouldn’t just wander out into the wilderness of Christmas tree options without some idea of what type of tree suits your home best. If you don’t want to deal with vacuuming up pine needles, watering your tree, and going through this Christmas tree hunt every year, you should look for an artificial tree. If you feel it isn’t Christmas without the smell of pine and you love the hunt for the perfect tree, go for a real tree. Also, it may surprise you to learn that experts lean towards real trees being the more environmentally-friendly holiday decorating option. Once you decide between real and artificial, you’re still not ready to shop yet. Take a look at your living room (or wherever you plan to put your tree) and evaluate your space needs. A giant tree, however beautiful, may not be practical in a tiny apartment. Do you have pets or very small children? You may want something that sits on a tabletop, to avoid constantly having to pick up low hanging ornaments that were knocked off – or you may be better off with a larger, heavier tree that isn’t easily knocked over.
- Shop early. No matter what kind of tree you’re looking for, you’ll want to find it before the inventory ends up looking picked-over. Although the weekend after Thanksgiving is the most popular time for Christmas tree shopping, if you can beat the crowds by finding your tree earlier in the month of November, you’re liable to end up with a fresher real tree, or the first pick of the artificial trees in stock. You might also consider buying your tree online. You may not realize this, but you can buy a real tree online as easily as an artificial one. This is a great option if you’re in an area with limited options for Christmas tree shopping.
- Have an idea what type of tree you want. There are so many types of trees – spruce trees (sharp needles) ; pine trees (soft needles); fir trees (soft needles). Make sure to measure so you don’t get a tree that is too big for the space you have.
- Check the freshness. and for secure needles. To do this just bend a needle in half. A fresh pine tree will bend and a fir tree will snap. You also want to grab the inside of a branch and run your hand along it to make sure the needles stay on.
- Try a tree farm. If you’re shopping for a real tree this year, consider buying from a Christmas tree farm instead of a lot. This is a great way to ensure that you get a fresh tree that will last through the holiday season. You’ll know that it’s freshly cut, and you may even be able to to cut it yourself. The National Christmas Tree Association has information on where you can find a Christmas tree farm near you.
Now that you know what you’re looking for and where to start looking, you’re on your way to choosing your perfect Christmas tree. Remember to have fun with the looking, buying and decorating process. This should get your holiday season off to a great start!