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Selecting a Fresh Christmas Tree: Tips for Buying a Live Holiday Tree

Published by Andres Zinni

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There really is something wonderful about a fresh cut tree in your home, but there are some things you should keep in mind when you go shopping.

Find a Good Spot for Your Chirstmas Tree

Before you head out the door, decide where you are going to put your tree. You should select an area that is out of drafts and away from sources of heat like vents, electronic equipment, or a fireplace. Know your ceiling height and the width of the area you have in mind.

When to Shop for Your Tree

Plan on shopping early for a tree. Thanksgiving weekend is the kickoff for the Christmas season, and you will find the best selection of trees if you shop around that time. Both the Fraser fir and Douglas fir are very popular Christmas tree varieties, and the good trees go fast. Balsam fir, blue spruce, and Scotch pine are also popular.

Your Christmas Tree Supplier

When looking for a supplier, try to get your tree from a local source. Whether you are looking at a tree farm, or a lot, try to buy a tree that was grown locally. It is less likely that a local tree has been stressed by a long trip to your location or stored for a long period of time.

Inspect Your Chirstmas Tree Before You Buy

Make tree buying a team effort by getting the family involved. Walk around the tree and try viewing it from every angle. Run your hand down a branch and check for loose needles. Shedding is a bad sign. The needles should be supple and green, springing back after you squeeze them. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that you bounce a prospective tree on the ground a couple of times. A freshly cut tree that is in good condition will not drop many needles.

Check the base of the tree for bowing. It will save you a lot of trouble later if you make sure that the base is straight. It’s great if children are shopping with you. They see the tree from a different vantage and can spot gaps and uneven branches.

Have the Christmas Tree Lot Prepare the Tree

If at all possible, have the lot cut the bottom inch off the tree. This will help the tree absorb water once it is in the warmer climate of your home. Also have them remove any branches below the eight-inch mark that might make it difficult for you to get the tree into a stand. If you are transporting the tree in a car or van, have a length of rope and a tarp ready. This will save time, and also make for easier cleanup.

Getting the Christmas Tree Up

When you are struggling to bring the tree indoors, protect it and your carpeting by wrapping it in a sheet. Once in place, make sure the tree has water. Water is the most critical element for keeping your tree fresh and safe through the holiday. Never let the water level in the tree stand drop below the trunk’s base.

Decorating with a live tree can help make wonderful memories. Shop early this year, find a tree that’s fresh, and observe safe practices when decorating it, and you’ll be on your way to a merry Christmas.

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