Christmas comes just once a year, and picking out the perfect tree to decorate your home is one of the holiday’s best-loved traditions. But with a large selection of trees out there, it’s hard to know which one will be just right for your holiday decor. Click ‘Next’ to read our tips for picking the perfect Christmas tree, and keeping it green until December 25.
Know Your Space
Before you begin the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree, you need to decide on where you’re going to place the tree once you get it home. After you’ve found the ideal spot, measure the height of your ceiling so you know how much space you have to work with. Don’t forget to take into account the height of your tree stand, and the amount of room you need to top your tree with an angel or star. When looking at trees, remember your space and choose a Christmas tree with a shape that’ll fit where you need it to.
Ensure It’s Fresh
Once you’re on the lot and see a tree that you like, do a quick touch and smell test to ensure you’ve chosen a fresh one. Test the branches by grabbing one between your thumb and forefinger, pulling it towards you. If you end up with a handful of needles, the tree is already past its prime. Another surefire way to test a tree’s freshness? Crush some needles in your hand and give them a sniff. It there isn’t a strong enough scent, don’t buy it.
Give It A Shake
Before you tie up the tree to take it home, ask the lot attendant if they can put it through a shaker - or at the very least, give your tree a good bounce. This gets rid of any dead, interior needles. It’s perfectly normal for an evergreen to have some dead needles on it from the fall, and this helps to keep them from ending up all over your floor once you get your tree home. With the shake test complete, wrap it up for easy transport.
Make A Fresh Cut
Before putting your Christmas tree in its stand, it’s important to cut off at least 1-inch from the end of the trunk. This is very important for keeping your tree looking fresh, as it opens up veins that will deliver water to the branches. You can have the lot do it before you leave if you’re going straight home, or wait if you plan on being out for more than four hours. If you don’t get that freshly cut trunk into water in that time, it’ll glaze over again and won’t be able to take up water.
Stand It Up
With the tree home, and your fresh cut made, it’s time to fit the tree into your tree stand. You may need to remove a few of the bottom branches in order for your tree to be held properly in the stand, with the trunk resting on the bottom. To be sure your Christmas tree is extra secure, take some time while it’s still wrapped to place it on its side and use a rubber mallet to drive the stand’s prongs into the trunk before tightening the thumbscrews that hold the tree in place. When you’re ready to lift your tree so it’s upright again, set down some newspaper to catch any spilled water.
Once your tree is upright, you need to add clean water - and lots of it - as soon as possible. The first few days are critical for hydration, so check the water level often and refill it as much as it’s needed. You don’t ever want to let the water level drop below the cut end, or you run the risk of the stump glazing over and sealing off the tree’s ability to absorb water. The actual amount a tree can consume varies, but it’s important that you keep yours well hydrated if you want it still looking fresh for Christmas morning.
It’s time to cut off the mesh and spread out the branches! While you’re probably very excited to get decorating, it’s a good idea to wait a few hours to let the tree settle and open up. Use that time to check your tree lights for shorts and trouble spots, and gather all of your ornaments. If you have young children, keep the glass ornaments closer to the top of the tree where little hands can’t reach them. Once your perfect Christmas tree has been decorated, sit back and enjoy the view!