Getting the Perfect Christmas Tree & Getting it Home
Thanksgiving is behind us which means it's time to snag the perfect Christmas Tree. Read on to learn how to choose the best tree for you, put it up straight without a struggle, and keep it fresh, fragrant, and hazard-free.
1. Before you go tree shopping, measure the height of the ceiling in the room where you will display your tree. You’ll want to choose a tree that is at least one foot shorter than the ceiling height (take a tape measure with you). Also, it’s best to measure the opening of your tree stand and make sure the base of your chosen tree will fit.
2. When selecting a tree, run your fingers along the needles and give the tree a shake. If the tree is fresh, the needles should be pliable and very few should fall off. 3. Make sure the base of the tree is straight and at least six inches long, so it will fit easily into the tree stand.
The Top Tree Types
The following five Christmas-tree varieties have the best shape, lush branches, rich color and superior needle retention:
If you’re having trouble locating the perfect tree, the National Christmas Tree Association can refer you to your local association for a list of tree farms in your area, as well as farms that specialize in living Christmas trees.
Getting It Home
You've found the perfect tree now it's time to get it home. Will you borrow a friends truck, get store delivery, or strap it to the roof of your car? So many options. Weigh the pro's and cons and be sure to tie down the tree no matter how it is transported.
Need your Christmas Tree delivered? We can help. Check out our Christmas Tree Delivery service here.
Keeping Trees Fresh
Here’s how to maintain your tree’s fragrance and prevent mass needle fallout:
1. When you buy your tree, have an inch cut off the base to make it easier for the tree to take in water. (Be sure the cut is straight so the tree will stand up properly.)
2. If you don’t plan to put the tree up right away, place it in a bucket of warm water and stand it in an unheated garage or porch away from the wind and cold.
3. When you bring your tree inside, use a stand that holds at least one gallon of water.
4. Keep your tree well watered. Water prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and maintains the fragrance. Trees may use several quarts a day, so check the water level in the stand every few hours.
5. Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree or the cut end may seal over, preventing further water intake.
6. Don’t add anything to the water. Though some people swear that throwing in such extras as aspirin, soda water, bleach, salt, sugar, or Karo syrup keeps trees fresher longer, the experts say plain water, and plenty of it, is best.
Keeping It Safe
This season, keep your home safe from some common Christmas-tree hazards by heeding these important tips from the National Safe Kids Campaign:
1. Never place your tree near a heat source, such as a fireplace or portable heater.
2. If you have small children or pets, trim the lower branches to avoid eye injuries.
3. Hang all ornaments that are breakable, have small, detachable parts or metal hooks, or that look like food or candy on higher branches where small children can’t reach them. Florist’s wire, which can be twisted firmly around branches, is a great way to hang fragile ornaments.
4. Keep pets out of the room in which the tree is placed, especially if you can’t be there to supervise. Cats are notorious for leaping onto Christmas trees, especially when pursued by another pet. Keep the tree from toppling by tying it to a ceiling hook. Both cats and dogs can knock down and break glass ornaments, then cut themselves on the pieces. Pets may also gnaw on electrical cords for Christmas-tree lights. Hide cords when possible, or help prevent injury by purchasing a pet-proof conduit, which will enclose cords and wires.
5. Avoid using artificial snow sprays, which can cause lung irritation if inhaled.
6. Turn off tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Use only UL-approved electrical decorations and extension cords, and check that no cords have frayed since you last used the lights.
7. Never burn Christmas-tree branches in your fireplace. It can cause the buildup of creosote, a highly flammable compound.
Taking Trees Down
The best way to avoid a major mess is to prepare to take your tree down before you even put it up. Just place a plastic tree bag (available at hardware stores) underneath the stand, which you can hide with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, sweep them up; needles can clog vacuum cleaners.