Finding the Best Tree for Your Family

Whether you’re looking to buy an artificial or real Christmas tree, it’s important to bring home the perfect tree for your Christmastime celebration. But how do you find the right one? Well, with a little bit of preparation and our handy tips, we can help you do just that. Here’s what you need to do know in order to find the Christmas tree that will be the perfect match for your home.

What you need to know to choose the right Christmas tree.

Preparing for your new tree

Measure the space where your tree is going to be located. Before you find the perfect tree, if you’re planning on purchasing a large tree, then you need to know more about the space where it’s going to be located. Take a tape measure, and measure the dimensions of the space where the tree is going to be located: the height, width, and depth. To determine the maximum height tree that will work for the space, remove about one foot from the measurement of how high the ceiling is, in order to allow room for the tree topper. Remove another six inches to allow for the tree stand. If the stand will be located on a table or some other platform, subtract the height of that as well.

Then, look at the measurements for the depth and width of the space. Trees tend to be symmetrical–as wide as they are deep–so the width of your Christmas tree is going to be limited by the smaller of those two dimensions that you measured.

Putting all of this together, now you know the maximum size tree that will fit your home. This means that if the area where your tree will be located is 8 feet high, 7 feet wide, and 4 feet deep, then your tree can be about 6 feet 6 inches tall, and 4 feet wide. Write down all of this information, and take it–as well as your tape measure–with you when it’s time to go tree shopping.

Buying an artificial Christmas tree

If you’re planning on purchasing an artificial Christmas tree for your home, you’ll likely have an easier time finding a tree that fits your exact space requirements, especially if you shop at a high-end retailer or online. However, there are still a few things that you should keep in mind while comparing your options.

You’ll be using this tree for a long time. Unlike living trees, artificial Christmas trees are an investment. A high quality Christmas tree can easily last for more than 20 years. This means that spending a few extra dollars can end up saving you money. Look up reviews online, and keep a close eye out from owners who have been using their artificial tree for more than a couple of years. If owners complain of needles being shed or hinged branches that stick or fail, avoid those trees.

Christmas-TreesAppearance is everything. Artificial trees have come a long ways from the days of the sad, spindly looking contraptions that gave artificial trees a bad name. A good artificial tree can be absolutely beautiful, and difficult to tell from the real thing. Take the time to closely examine the appearance of the tree. One key feature that is a good indicator of the quality of an artificial tree is the number of branch tips that is has. Look for trees with higher branch tip count. However, this can vary. Trees designed with longer needles will often have fewer tips, so that the tree doesn’t look bushy or overgrown. Additionally, trees that have faux trunks–rather than just a plain metal post–will often have fewer branches in order to allow viewers to see the trunk. It all comes down to what you prefer. If you’re shopping in-person for your tree, try and find retailers that have demo trees set up, or that will let you open the box and examine the tree.

A good stand is everything. It doesn’t matter how good the tree is, if the stand is flimsy and falls apart. Artificial trees usually come with built-in stands, so be sure to choose a tree that includes a sturdy metal stand. Avoid stands that are flimsy or made of plastic.

You’re going to be storing your tree most of the year. Artificial trees can be very bulky. Be sure to choose an artificial tree with hinged branches, so that you can fold the tree up and more easily store it when not in use. Trees that can’t be collapsed take up a lot of closet, attic, or basement space, and often end up being thrown out for that reason.

Choose what works for you. As we already mentioned, artificial trees have come a long way. You can now find trees that imitate a large number of common Christmas tree species, including Douglas fir, Dunhill fur, royal spruce, Scotch pine, and more. In addition, artificial trees come with different types of needles, pre-decorated with lights, ornaments, and flocking, and many more options. Be sure to choose an artificial tree that perfectly suits your preferences. There’s no need to settle for less, given the vast number of options that are currently available.

Buying a real Christmas tree

Many people just love the smell and feel of a real tree. But finding a high quality real tree can be a challenge. Here are some tips on finding the best possible real Christmas tree.

Check for freshness. Everyone has a horror story about the year their Christmas tree turned brown a week before Christmas. To avoid this holiday catastrophe, be sure to check your prospective tree carefully for Christmas tree. One of the easiest way to estimate the freshness of a tree is by looking at the needs. Grasp a branch in your hand, about a foot from the end, and pull your hand back, letting the branch slip through your fingers. The needles should stay attached to the branch, and not come off in your hand. You can also grasp the tree by the trunk and tap the base of it against the ground. If a cloud of needles falls to the ground, then the tree is well on its way to being dead. The needles and branches should also be flexible when bent. If they break or don’t spring back into shape, then the tree is drying out. Another way to tell if a tree is still fresh and lively is by smelling the branches and trunk. If it still has that sappy, earthy smell, then the tree will probably last for several more weeks. If it’s odorless, then you should give it a pass.

Cleanliness is a virtue. Christmas trees are sometimes transported from the farm in dirty, uncovered truck beds. This means that trees can pick up a lot of dirt and foreign debris that is difficult to see in a dark tree lot. If you’re heading out the lot after the sun has set, be sure to take a flashlight–or have a flashlight app on your phone–so that you can carefully examine the tree. Another thing to check for is the presence of pests, such as beetles, mites, and aphids. While not dangerous, these pests can trigger allergic reactions in some sensitive people, and are generally are not welcome house guests during the holiday season.

Make sure you have a saw at home. When you buy a real tree that has been pre-cut, the base of the trunk will have dried out and died. If you try to place the tree as-is into a stand and water it, the tree will be unable to absorb moisture and end up dying within a few days. Thus, it’s necessary to cut about 1/2 to 1 inch of wood from the base of the trunk. Make sure that you have access to a handsaw at home. Alternatively, check and see if the lot will cut the trunk for you. However, it may be necessary to do additional cutting at home in order to get the tree to fit your stand, so it’s worth spending a few dollars on a handsaw, just to be sure.