Even if you don’t get the neighborhood award for the most festively decorated house, the one thing that can always make your home feel like Christmas is, of course, the Christmas Tree.
Whether you decide to go with a real Christmas tree or artificial tree, choosing the right tree is important. There are a lot of options to go with nowadays, but the most important thing is determining how it will be used, where, and for how long. For example, in the years we use an artificial tree, we usually put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. However, when we buy a real tree (and we haven’t done this in a while), we typically have to wait until a little closer to Christmas.
There are several different types of live trees that all have quite different features. Some of the most popular ones include Douglas, Fraser, Noble and Balsam firs, and Scotch, Virginia and white pine trees. Each of these have vary in shape, color, sheen and fragrance. A good artificial tree would have a pretty similar appearance to a real Christmas tree, plus offering a few really great conveniences when you’re looking into pre-lit and pre-decorated trees.
Whether you’re shopping for a real or artificial Christmas tree, here are some other important things to consider when buying a Christmas tree:
Size of Christmas Tree
Whether you choose a live Christmas tree or an artificial one, one important quality to consider is size. Before you buy your tree, decide exactly where it will be placed in your home and make sure you adequately measure the space. The recommended maximum height for a Christmas tree is at least 10-12 inches from the ceiling. This may just be a short girl problem, but also be mindful of your own limitations in regards to height. While tall trees may look much more elegant, you don’t want to create too much a hassle for yourself when trying to decorate it. Likewise, a tree that is too short won’t have as big of a presence amidst other furniture in your home.
One last thing to consider when buying your tree: Make sure there is enough space between the lowest branches and the end of the tree. This is actually helpful both in setting up your tree and for ensuring how long it will last.
Shape of Tree
Again, the various live trees each have distinct features in regards to shape. Douglas Fir, which is probably the most common type of Christmas tree, is typically pyramid-shaped. Fraser, Balsam and Noble firs are cone shaped tree and tend to be short with dense branches, which is great if you decorate your tree with heavier ornaments or other decorations. Virginia and Scotch Pines, Norway Spruce and the Eastern White Pine all have cone shapes.
Another really big appeal of your Christmas tree is the color. Sure, all trees are generally green in appearance, there are various shades of green – bright green, dark green blue-green, yellowish green – each of which also give off a distinct sheen. For example, Fraser and Noble firs both have needles with a silvery sheen, which is why these are normally the first choice for garlands and wreaths.
One of the main reasons most people choose a real Christmas tree is for its fragrance, which, strong or subtle, can really make your home feel like Christmas. You’ll find the Douglas Fir tree to be a very fragrant tree, while the Easter White Pine does not have much fragrance at all. The Balsam fir is a pretty happy medium.
Freshness of tree
Freshness is an obvious advantage of getting a real tree vs. artificial tree. If you can buy a tree from a Christmas Tree lot, it may be the best option, but there are also some other options including online. If a tree is bought elsewhere, such as from a retail lot, it is important to find out where the tree came from and when it was cut.
To determine the freshness of a tree, you’ll want observe it carefully to see that they look green and healthy, have a fragrant scent and the needles are moist and flexible. Obviously, if the needles appear dry or show browning, then that is a sign the tree isn’t very fresh. Likewise, if a large amount of green needles fall when a few branches of the tree are shaken, that’s also a sign that the tree isn’t the best one to buy. When bent, the needles of fir trees should not break easily from the pressure, as that is a sign that the tree isn’t observing water and will likely not last throughout the season.
Density of tree needles
Lastly, be sure to measure the density and sturdiness of the tree needles before you buy. Again, if you tend to decorate your tree with a lot of ornaments, this is a really important characteristic.