How to Pick out a Christmas Tree

When Christmas comes around, you need to have the perfect pine tree.


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    Measure the height of your ceiling. If the tree is too tall, you won't be able to fit a star or an angel on it, or you may have to trim the top. Don't forget to account for the height of your stand and the area in which you plan to put your tree.
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    Choose a tree with an appealing shape that fits where you need it. Some people prefer short fat trees, others long, skinny trees, still others prefer the "perfect" cone shaped tree. Most people prefer fat trees or "perfectly" shaped trees. Retailers know this, so they will charge more for these trees. So make sure you know your price and desires before you buy it.
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    Check for freshness by one of the following methods:
    • When trees are cut and shipped, they undergo a lot of stress. Losing needles is normal. Most retailers will shake trees to remove these loose needles, but some do not. Yes, loss of needles can be a sign of an old tree, but this is not a sure-fire method.
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    • For Frasier and Douglas firs, a better way to test freshness is to remove a firmly connected needle and bend in it half. The needle from a fresh tree should snap. A needle that does not snap indicates that the tree has been cut for some time.
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    • An even better way to test freshness is by weight. After the tree is cut, it no longer produces sap. It will continue to use this sap until little remains. It takes an experienced tree-chooser to be able to tell this. Most tree lot assistants do not work on commission. If you offer the assistant a tip, he or she will help you pick a long lasting tree (he or she might also tell you which trees were received most recently). Another way to tell if the tree still is giving sap is that parts should be sticky with it. As long as you do not mind, give your tree a hug. If you come out sticky and covered in sap then it's probably still fresh.
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    • On firs and some types of pine, the branches of a fresh tree should be flexible. This is not the case for all trees. However, trees that fail this test are likely to be very old and would not be found on a reputable tree lot. Be careful this method is risky and may harm your tree.
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    Make a fresh cut in the trunk of at least 1". Try to mount and straighten the tree before you get it home.
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    Get the tree into water as soon as possible after the fresh cut. Otherwise the trunk will scab over, preventing the tree from being able to absorb water.
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    Give the tree as much water as it needs. Ensure that there is always water in the basin. Tree water additives, such as sugar, vinegar, or even specially designed additives, are not effective.
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    Keep the tree out of harsh sunlight and warm drafts from vents. This will discolor your tree and shorten its lifespan.


  • If the tree you bought has a bare side, put the bare side in a corner, or facing toward the wall. These trees can cost significantly less than "perfect" trees, and you never see this defect because it is towards the wall.
  • Make sure the tree is well watered. Check the basin at least twice a day.
  • It's also possible to buy a fake Christmas tree just in case someone is allergic to tree pollen.


  • Make sure to keep the tree well watered all the time it is up. If you don't, it will become dry and may become a fire hazard.
  • Freshness methods are not fool-proof. Some trees will start to look bad sooner than others, just as some people age faster than others.

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Categories: Christmas Trees