How to select a real Christmas tree

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

Happy Christmas Tree Day! Do you prefer a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree? If you said “real,” you have plenty of company.

According to a Statista survey, Americans purchased more than 26 mllion “real” Christmas trees in 2019. Real Christmas trees sell for about $78 on average and artificial ones are around a $100 on average.

Do you worry about the environment when considering a live tree? Don’t fret. For every tree cut, 2 more are planted. They are also recyclable. And there are Christmas tree farms in every state in the U.S. But most artificial trees are manufactured abroad and not always with the safest of materials.

Christmas trees have been around since the 1500s and were introduced to North America by German soldiers working for the British. In the old days, Christmas trees were decorated with fruit and nuts and were lit by candles.

When it comes to Christmas tree types, you have lots of options. Perhaps the most popular type is the Fraser Fir. Fraser Firs smell great, have good needle retention and their branches are ideal for draping electric lights and tinsel and for showcasing ornaments. Unfortunately, I’m a little allergic to them, so I pick other kinds of trees for my home.

Balsam firs are another good option. They are a darker green than Fraser firs and are highly fragrant. They are also a little more affordable. I often pick a Balsam or Douglas fir. Douglas firs are nice and bushy. Hanging lights and ornaments is a little more tricky than on Fraser Firs. Sure, they drop more needles, but I don’t mind. That’s part of Christmas for me.

If you are lucky, you might find a Virginia pine, the most popular variety in the South, which tends to be small to medium-sized.

When shopping for a real tree, run your fingers over the needles and gently bend the outermost branches. If a lot of needles fall off or the branch breaks, the tree is dry. Find a batter one. 

To extend the life of your tree, keep it well watered (I check mine every day) and keep it away from heat sources. If you lower the temperature of the room, it will last longer. The National Christmas Tree Asociation also cautions not to burn any part of the Christmas tree in your fireplace or wood stove.

I usually buy my real trees from Home Depot. The kind I pick costs less than $40 which is a real bargain compared to tree lots. And please tip the fellows who saw the trunk and load the tree for you! 

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