6 Tips For Picking a Christmas Tree

Try a Real Tree This Year

picking a christmas treePhoto: Jason WhiteBlack Friday has passed, the music is on the radio, the decorative lights are in the yards… It’s OFFICIALLY Christmas season! If you find yourself getting ready to crack open the attic to grab your synthetic Christmas tree, we advise you think twice. Especially if you’ve never experience having a real Christmas tree before. Why not try it this year? Here’s a guide to help your first Christmas Tree buying experience go smoothly as possible.

1. Measure Twice, Buy Once

Before jumping in the car to go down to the tree lot, make sure you have an idea of what size tree you can fit in your house. To do this, measure the dimensions of the area you’ve set aside for your tree. Once you’ve found the maximum height of the tree you can fit in the room, don’t forget to account for the tree topper. Subtract that from your measurement. A general rule of thumb is to leave about a foot of clearance between the tree (with tree topper) and the ceiling. Don’t forget to check the maximum width of your tree as well! If you’re re-using a tree stand this year, take it with you to make sure it fits the trunk of your new tree.


2. Is it Alive?

Once you’ve picked a tree that meets your dimension requirements, use these 3 steps to check the tree’s health:


  • Test the Branches: Grab any branch on the tree between your thumb and forefinger, gently clamp down and pull towards yourself. If you end up with a handful of needles, the tree is already past its prime.
  • Crush the Needles: then check the scent. If the tree doesn't smell enough, don't buy it.
  • Bounce the Tree: by holding it a few inches above the ground and dropping it. If the exterior needles fall off, it's sure sign of a bad apple.



3. Get It Wrapped

A lot attendant will shake/blow/bounce your tree. This will shake off any dead, interior needles. Don't worry—it's perfectly natural for an evergreen to have some dead needles on it from fall. Then have the tree sent through the baling machine to wrap it in netting for easy transport.


4.Make a Fresh Cut

If you’re out for less than 4 hours, have a lot attendant make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk. If you’re out longer than 4 hours, make the cut when you get home. This allows the tree’s veins to open up and accept water to keep the branches green.


5. Set’er Up

Once you’ve made it home, set the tree up on it stand WHILE IT’S STILL WRAPPED. Do this by laying the tree on its side and fastening the stand to the trunk. Once it’s securely fastened, stand the tree up. Place some newspaper or an old towel around the base of the tree to soak up any spilled water in the future. Go ahead and add some water to the tree now.


6. Decorate

Remove the mesh from the tree and spread out the branches. It will take about 2 hours for the branches to settle, so wait until then to decorate your tree.


Enjoy your tree and Merry Christmas!


Source: ThisOldHouse.com