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Choosing the Christmas tree for you

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It’s that age-old question: when is it time to put up a Christmas tree? You might want to start Christmas early and deck the halls from 1 December, or wait until the middle of the month or, like many across the pond; you may want to leave it until Christmas Eve.

While you ponder when Christmas can officially begin in your home, you need to make sure you’ve got the key ingredient sorted, the focal point of all your festivities. You need to make the one big decision… Which tree do I buy?

Many of us have spent an age walking around a garden centre looking for the tree that is right. The criteria could be harsh, dismissing a tree for something as silly as a single branch being out of place.

If you’re purchasing an artificial Christmas tree, some of the tips below could be helpful, but nothing beats the smell of pine, so here’s our guide to buying the real deal…


Before you set out to pick your tree, look at what space you have to play with. The last thing you want is to buy a huge tree and then find you can’t even get it through the door, or that you’re being poked in the eye as you crouch under the branches watching the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day.

First step: choose the most suitable place. Measure the height of the ceiling and look to buy a tree that is at least one foot shorter than the ceiling. Also measure the space you have for your tree; what’s the widest the tree can be? You don’t want to be walking into it every day.

Finally, when you bundle your family into the car to head to your local garden centre, ensure you’ve got the key tool – the tape measure. It’s no good taking all these measurements in your home, then having to guess the best fit when you arrive.

Tree type

Some of the names of Christmas trees sound like they’ve either been picked right from a Thor film or could even be one of the dragons from Harry Potter.

Here are some Christmas trees to look out for:

Norway spruce – This is the traditional choice when it comes to Christmas trees. Good for decorating but this tree looses a lot of needles if you have a warm room. Be prepared to vacuum regularly.

Nordmann fir – Green needles and a glossy finish. These trees are easy to decorate and don’t shed as many needles. This might be your perfect choice.

Fraser fir – Do you have a small room? Then this little tree could be right up your chimney. They tend to be compact and may still have fir cones attached; great if you’re going for that ‘outdoorsy’ look.

Top buying tips

When choosing your tree, make sure you give it a good shake. If it doesn’t shed many needles, it could be a keeper.

Be wary of buying trees that have already been wrapped in netting. You won’t know how wide they will be until you take the net off, and that could be too late to take it back. They will also have been storing up heat which will mean when you cut the netting an avalanche of needles could fall off.

Maintaining your tree at home

Now that you have purchased your tree, the fun part of untangling the Christmas lights, playing a Christmas megamix, putting up the decorations and literally rocking around the Christmas tree (everyone does that, right?) can begin.

But you need to make sure that your tree is looked after over the festive period. Remember, your tree is just like any other plant you might have at home or in the garden.

  • If you’re not putting your tree up straight away, place it in a bucket of warm water and keep it away from the cold and wind.
  • Make sure you keep your tree well watered, with a pot that holds about a gallon of water. Your tree is going to get thirsty when you have your heating on.
  • Check your tree regularly and keep the water topped up. Keeping a tree watered can prevent all the needles from dropping off before the New Year.  

And there you go, our top tips for bringing the outdoors in this Christmas! Now there’s only one thing left to do; go grab yourself the perfect tree, and remember to share your pictures with us on Facebook or Twitter.