It’s that time of year where we bring the smell of evergreen into our homes and deck the halls with boughs of holly. We spruce the place up and adorn it with beautiful twinkling lights. The star of the show is always the Christmas tree so here’s a couple tips to ensure you’re getting the best tree you can and keeping it beautiful for the holiday!
This is a particularly obvious place to start but sometimes those really obvious things are the ones we forget about because, well, they’re just to obvious! Start by measuring the height of the room where you’ll be putting up your tree. Once you know how tall your room is you’ll need to look for trees that are about a foot shorter than what you measured. Presumably, you’ll want a tree topper so you’ll need the extra space. Also, you don’t want a tree that’s too small because it can look really funny in your home. Lastly, make sure you take your tree stand into consideration.
Once you know the details of your space you should invest a bit of time upfront in learning about the type of tree you want to get. Most commonly, you’ll be looking at fir trees and maybe a spruce or two. The National Christmas Tree Association has a whole bunch of excellent information on all the different trees you might want to consider.
At the Tree Farm
When you’re at the tree farm or lot and you’re roaming about you need to know what to look for in a tree. First of all, be mindful of the fact that trees are like people and that they’re all different. Once you start getting an idea of the trees that look good to you make sure you check the trunk and confirm that your tree is straight. I made this mistake one year and that tree took a whole lot of work and strategic positioning to look somewhat normal. Before that experience it had genuinely never occurred to me that wildly crooked trees wouldn’t be weeded out by staff. Some trees put up a good show and can sneak through only to be discovered when it’s time to put them in the tree stand.
When you’re looking at the trees, close your hand around a branch and run it through your fingers. You want to make sure that the needles don’t pull out easily. Give the tree a shake and see if it starts dropping needles. These can both be signs that the tree is too dried out and not something you should be purchasing. You also want to give a branch a bend and see if it’s pliable or if it breaks. If it does break that’s another sign that the tree is just too dried out and not something you want to bring home. You’ll also want to avoid trees that have discolored foliage.
Caring for Your Tree
You want to get your tree into water as soon as you can. After you purchase your tree and get it home it would be a good idea to cut at least a half an inch off the bottom of the trunk to give your tree a fresh cut to more easily pull water. Make sure your tree stand can accommodate the tree you’ve purchased. You don’t want to whittle the base of the trunk down because that can make it more difficult for the tree to be supported and the outer layers are what are bringing the most moisture into the tree.
Don’t put your tree up near fireplaces, heater vents, radiators, or in heavy sunlight. All of these things can prematurely dry out your tree and turn it into a hazard. On that note, make sure you never leave the tree lights on when you leave the home or when you’re sleeping. There’ll be nothing merry about Christmas if you burn your house down. Above all, make sure you keep your tree stand filled with water so that your tree doesn’t run out. If you’re not able to make sure that you can keep water in your stand then you should consider getting a manufactured tree.
After the Holiday
After the merriment has faded and the festiveness has waned it’s time to remove the decorations and dispose of the tree. You can make your tree removal a lot easier if you place a plastic tree bag underneath your tree skirt so that you can simply pull the bag up over the tree when the holiday is over. You’ll have far fewer needles to clean up and I think we can all agree that the needles are the worst! They poke and stab at your hands and can easily clog a vacuum. Take your tree out and cut the bottom of the bag open so you can remove your tree stand. Either pull the whole bag off or tie the bottom of the bag off and you’re set!
There’s a lot of ways you can go about disposing of your tree but recycling is really the way to go here. Many communities have a have designated days where they will pick up trees at no charge. Make sure you investigate this option and are aware of any eligibility requirements. You may want to check that out before you decorate the tree. Tinsel is really hard to remove and most pick-ups (and drop-offs) won’t accept that. Also, you might want to investigate charitable organizations. Your community may have an organization that will come and pick up your tree for a small fee.