While you’re at the store buying your Thanksgiving turkey and fixings, it’s actually time to start thinking about your Christmas tree — or at least to start thinking about thinking about it! The Christmas tree season quickly piggybacks Thanksgiving, usually beginning the weekend after Turkey Day.
Before you make your traditional pilgrimage to the holiday tree lot with your loved ones, consider these tips on how to choose a Christmas tree:
2. Prepare to Head to the Tree Farm – Before you pile the family into the car, arm yourself with your measurements, which you’ve written down on a piece of paper, a tape measure and some work gloves to protect your hands. Also, bring a blanket to lay over the rear of your car to protect it from needles and tree sap, as well as some rope if you’re planning to mount the tree on the roof of your vehicle.
3. Tree Picking Time – Now it’s time to head out to your local tree farm or lot. Remember that supporting local businesses is the best way to keep your community healthy and thriving.
If you’re choosing your holiday tree from a tree lot, take the time to look at their selection, so you can narrow your search to the appropriate size range. In picking out a tree, consider things like needle length and space between boughs. Dense pine trees are harder to decorate because there’s no room between boughs for ornaments to hang. Decorations don’t look as attractive when they’re hanging in a tilted position.
4. The Freshness Test – To make sure the tree you pick is fresh, gently grab the first few inches of a branch and pull forward. If you wind up holding a bunch of needles, you’ll know the tree is past its ideal point of freshness.
Another freshness barometer is to crush a couple needles between your fingers and sniff. If there’s not a strong pine scent, this is a sign the tree is not fresh. Finally, pick up the tree by its trunk and bounce it a couple times on the ground. If a lot of exterior needles come off, this is another indication the tree is on its way out.
5. The Final Cut – Evergreens need a fresh cut from their base to open their veins, so they’ll take up water. Sometimes this is done by employees at the tree lot, but if not, you should cut off at least an inch as close as possible to when you put the tree into its stand with water. Waiting too long can result in the cut end being covered over with water-insoluble pitch, which is released by the tree.
Keep your Christmas tree watered every day, as it can take up a lot of water. Some trees drink up to a gallon of water every 24 hours. If you pay attention to your tree, it will reward you by staying beautiful throughout the entire holiday season.