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How to Pick the Right Christmas Tree
December 3, 2009 - 9:51pm — GettingOutside
Finding and choosing your Christmas Tree should be a family tradition in which all family members – young and old alike – partake and revel in the experience. But get a tree too small, too big or lopsided and you’re headed for trouble.
Following these simple tips, can ensure you and your family get the best tree possible for your home. You’ll be able to choose a tree like a pro.
Idea: Bring candy canes for the kids! It puts them in the holiday spirit, and helps to keep them happy as you search diligently for the PERFECT tree.
Tips on Choosing a Perfect Xmas Tree
You might consider buying a live tree and planting it in your yard after the season. This is a great way to help the environment and beautify your property. But if you’re like most of us, you aren’t going to go this route.
The first step in the process is to determine where you’re going to put the tree. Once you know for certain, and you’ve confirmed with the boss ( you know who), measure the height and width of the available space.
When figuring the width, consider foot traffic, kids, pets and other things that might require space to navigate around the tree. Ask yourself whether all sides of the tree need to be shaped for display.
Now you can determine the height and shape of the Christmas tree you’ll need.
Determine Christmas Tree Height
The basic idea is to work backward from the available height under the ceiling, subtracting the height of the ornament you plan to put on top of the tree and the height of the stand. Whatever is leftover is the height the tree can be.
Here’s the simple math you’ll need to figure it all out. Before using this, I almost always got a tree that was too tall. (Bigger is better, right? LOL)
- Room height = X (9 ft)
- Subtract tree top ornament – 1 ft.
- Subtract height added by stand – 0.5 ft
- Subtract height of any table you are putting the stand on (if any) – 0 ft
- Add bottom of the tree trimmed off after purchase + 0.5 ft
- Equals the height of tree to buy = 8 ft
These numbers are examples. Your actual heights will probably vary a bit. Use a tape measure to measure it.
If you’re going to put your tree in a “great-room” with a couple stories of clearance, you might be able to skip the height step.
Select Shape and Width of the Christma Tree
Typically, you’re going to want to choose a tree that is full all around, with a nice shape at the width that fits the available space. You really don’t want to do a lot of trimming.
Check the needles by rubbing a branch or two. They should stay on. Pull the branches down. They should bounce back up.
Have someone hold the tree straight as you examine it all around. Is it bare in places it shouldn’t be? Is it preferable to have a flat side that you can push up tighter to a wall?
Important: while someone holds the tree straight up and down, look at the bottom of the trunk closely. Is it straight? If the top of the tree is straight, but the trunk is crooked, put that tree back and get another.
If you’re in a farm where you have to cut the tree down, walk all around it before any cuts are made. Perform all the examinations above.
Selecting the Type or Species of Christmas Tree
Usually, your going to make your choice by what’s available. In our area of eastern PA, they tend to have 3 varieties to choose from, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir and either a Balsam Fir or a Fraser Fir. We like the Scotch Pine as it hold its needles and scent quite a while, but it’s all really a matter of taste.
If this is your first year, ask your father or a couple friends in area what they like and why. People love to share advice on the choosing the right Christmas tree.
If you’re an old pro, why not try a new variety of Christmas tree this year? If you get it home and you don’t like it you can always donate it. Most churches know of a family or two who could use a free tree.
Merry Christmas from your friends at GettingOutside.com!