In equal measures, choosing the Christmas tree is one of my happiest and most stressful events of the year. I long to decorate and make the house joyful but I feel the pressure of getting the elusive ‘right’ tree.
To be honest I’ve probably taken it to professional levels, I spend so long traipsing around the farm dragging trees about that I end up running a small consultation business on the side for less experiences fir connoisseurs. One year, upon eavesdropping a lady asked me if I could give her my opinion on the tree she was holding. Just today I had hubs holding two trees out and an exasperated wife exclaimed that they were going to take whichever one we didn’t choose. We even befriended a chap who was struggling to decide on his tree, I lent him my chief tree holder (and husband) so he could look properly. I had half a mind to do a runner because it really was the perfect tree, but that would have been poor tree choosing etiquette. So instead I enthused at what good choice he’d made and answered his questions on pruning. Can I make a career out of this? Perhaps some sort of seasonal affair.
But for now, for you, here are my top tips on choosing the perfect tree, free of charge…
- Never buy a pre-bagged tree that you haven’t seen in all it’s glory. Select a tree and pull it out into an open space, get a long armed fellow to hold the tree upright so you can step back and have a look. Be sure to take a 360 degree look around the tree.
- Check the shape. I look for a nice tapered effect from top to bottom with as much symmetry as mother nature will allow.
- Be sure to look for full coverage, with no sparse areas or gaping holes where it looks like their should be a branch. Equally you do want some space between branches so it’s easy to hang ornaments, an overly bushy tree can be tricky.
- Don’t be afraid to grab your secateurs for a little pruning (once you own said tree) but opt for removing whole branches of very full trees or prune smaller branches carefully, close to the trunk. I find if you chop the ends of branches it can look a little harsh.
- Finally, and most importantly, look for a healthy colour, no brown, dry needles that drop easily. Although the trees can get a little squashed up against one another be sure that the branches aren’t drooping (squashed branches will settle eventually when the tree is stood in place). I also like to check the trunk and branches for any signs of sap, fungus or bugs. Let’s just say one year my house was infested with a swarm of freshly hatched aphid type things, I’m talking I’m a Celebrity scale. I do seem to be the only person whom this has ever happened too so try not to worry too much!
Happy tree picking festive ones!