Picking out a live Christmas tree is one of my favorite holiday memories. When I was growing up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, my family made an adventure of visiting the local tree lot and picking out the perfect tree. In fact one year, we made the cover of the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper!
Maybe picking out a live tree is one of your favorite holiday memories, too, and one of your favorite traditions today. Or perhaps you’ve never purchased a real tree before but you’d like to start making it a tradition. While enjoyable, the experience can be overwhelming and frustrating, so if it’s all new to you, here are some things to consider before picking out that perfect tree at a lot or tree farm.
1. Tree placement: Before you even leave your home, you should have an idea of where you’ll display your tree. Living room or family room? Corner or freestanding? Whatever you decide, make sure you keep it away from heat sources like furnace vents, fireplaces, and heaters.
2. Measurements: After you decide where you’re putting it, take measurements. Measure the distance across the space so you have an idea of how big the tree’s circumference can be. You should also measure the distance from the stand to the ceiling. Cutting off the tip of your Christmas tree before you can set it up isn’t a good way to start. Trust me.
3. Type of Tree: Most tree lots and farms offer a variety of Christmas trees. Do your research ahead of time to find out which kind of tree is best for you and your family. This link provides brief descriptions of several kinds of evergreen trees: http://interiordec.about.com/od/christmastrees/tp/tp_cmastrees.htm.
It’s also a good idea to take your time and look at all the trees before making your final decision.
4. Freshness: A freshly-cut tree will last longer than a tree from a tree lot, so visit a tree farm if you can. This link will help you find a tree farm near you:
If you select a tree from a tree lot, make sure the tree has nice healthy green needles. Rub your hand along the branch and if the needles fall off, move on to the next tree.
5. Tree care: You now have a live tree in your home and you have to take care of it. It’s not hard to do. Just follow these guidelines.
a. If you live in a colder climate, leave your tree in the garage or basement for a day before you move it into the house. This will help the tree adjust to the warmer temperature. A tree that goes from a cold to a heated environment too quickly can stress the tree.
b. Using a small handsaw, re-cut the tree approximately ¼ of an inch to an inch above the base so water can be absorbed quickly and easily. Put the tree in a water-filled stand immediately after its cut.
c. Check the tree stand every day to make sure the water level is high enough. A well-watered tree won’t dry out as quickly and turn into a potential fire hazard.
I hope picking out your live tree is a memorable adventure, but not quite the same as the Griswold’s!
“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree. How lovely are your branches!” Here’s hoping your Christmas tree branches are lovely throughout this holiday season!
Do you have any Christmas tree traditions or safety tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.