Step two: you’ve had your other half carefully inspect the Christmas tree pile, identifying the bushy from the balding, twirling around with 117 potential spruces so you can get a good look at him from all possible angles. Step three: your eyes meet. It’s happening. You’re pining. You’ve found… the one.
Now, you’ve just got to keep your Noble Fir alive and well. Here’s a bunch of tips to keep your spruce looking happy all through the holidays.
Before you buy your tree
Gloves always come in handy if you’re going to be handling a prickly spruce or 10. Protect those phalanges at all costs.
Consider the available space you have for your Christmas tree and don’t forget to account for the stand, too. If you already have a prime position in mind, measure the height of your spot before you head out and buy your perfect spruce to ensure you’ve got enough room in your home (and your car).
Consider what you want from your Christmas tree
Top tip: pick a tree in a shady location rather than full sun to ensure the branches are at their best.
What do you look for in a Christmas tree? Are you all about the height or are you after some dense branch spread? Must it have excellent needle-holding ability and smell fresh AF at all times? It’s worth having a game plan for operation spruce.
Get the gloss
Much like a cat or a dog, you can tell if a Christmas tree is healthy by looking at its… fir coat. Ahem. What can we say, dad jokes are what we do best round here. A healthy tree should be a shiny, glossy green colour and you should be able to run your hand along a branch from the base to the end without losing needles. You can also lift the tree a couple of inches and drop it to the ground. Very few green needles should drop if it’s a goodun.
Don’t be shy
If a tree is still in its netting, ask a member of staff to cut it off so you can see the real shape and ensure none of the branches are damaged. The netting can hide a multitude of sins.
Driving home for Christmas
Most Christmas trees come wrapped in netting to keep the branches safely bundled once purchased. If it doesn’t, wrap it in a blanket. Position your tree with the stump end facing the front of your vehicle to avoid wind damage. If you have a roof rack, secure the branches from where the base to the tip with bungee cords or rope.
Tips for caring for your Christmas tree
Give him a haircut
Trim the trunk before setting in water but avoid carving into the trunk to force it into a stand. It’s always better to buy a bigger stand since whittling can remove the most active cells from the trunk and make your tree extra thirsty.
Trees are thirsty chaps! Make sure you keep it hydrated and perky by topping it up every day if necessary, depending on how thirsty your sprucey boy is.
Trees are thirsty chaps!
While chestnuts roasting on an open fire right beside a Christmas tree might be the quintessential Christmas you’re looking for, your tree will dry out if it’s too hot. A tree will stay looking its best when kept in a cool, dry place.
Bossing your baubles
Use green floristry wire instead of string to hang your decorations, you’ll be able to place them exactly where you want them.
For an eco-friendly way to bid adieu to your festive friend, find out if your local council offer curb-side collection service or if you can drop your tree off at a recycling site (aka the Christmas tree graveyard). Real trees can be turned to compost or soil improver.
Make your tree go further
Freshen your drawers and your closet by sewing scraps of fabric together and filling with pine needles.
Plant it up
You can plant the tree out in the garden once Christmas is over.
If you have a living Christmas tree in a pot, you can plant the tree out in the garden once Christmas is over. Re-pot your tree into a larger pot, allowing sufficient space for the root ball to grow and expand.
Some trees will struggle with the transition from inside a heated indoor environment to a cold and windy garden but if you give it time to acclimatise and water it regularly, it should live to see another Christmas. You can help prepare it for a colder environment by storing it in a garage for a few days, for example.
Next year, you can bring your tree inside again but bear in mind it probably won’t survive if you attempt to re-plant it in your garden again. Another option is to leave it outside and decorate with outdoor lights.
How to care for a faux Christmas tree
Go for something evergreen
Most artificial Christmas trees last a good decade, so choose one that’ll stand the test of time. You can’t go wrong with a traditional faux spruce that you can chop and change with various decorations year after year.
Keep it clean
Once assembled, use an upholstery bristle brush attachment on your vacuum to remove any dust. Next, use a damp J cloth with some washing up liquid to wipe down the tree. If your tree has any electrical components, make sure these are unplugged first. Don’t forget to dust off your base, too. Wait for your tree to be completely dry before you start adding any decorations.
Decide if you want hinged or hooked branches. Hinged branches are never removed whereas hooked branches need to be assembled onto the tree. You could also spray your tree with artificial snow flakes or gold glitter if you want to make it look extra festive.
Started from the bottom now we’re here
When you’re ready to shape your tree, start from the bottom working your way up through the layers, section by section. Shape the top layer before you put it on the tree to avoid standing on a ladder or chair to reach the top.
Some faux trees are designed to have upswept or down-swept branches, so check the product photo before you start fluffing and shaping. Fan out each branch individually, lifting the foliage up or out to the side ensuring each branch is offset from the previous one for an authentic look.