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Choose the Right Christmas Tree!

Choose the Right Christmas Tree!


Fresh, pre-cut, artificial or living, Christmas trees are matters of personal taste and family tradition.


By FamilyTime

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For many of us, Christmas doesn't really begin until the tree is decorated and glowing cheerfully with sparkling lights.

The trip to the tree farm or street corner tree stand is a family outing, fraught with homegrown traditions and giggly expectations. It ends with a tree inside our houses or apartments!

Choosing a Pre-Cut Tree
Most of us buy pre-cut trees -- trees that grow on one of the thousands of tree plantations in the our northern states and Canada and that are shipped around the country weeks before Christmas. Depending on when they are cut and how they are shipped, some of these trees may be fresher than others.

Trees are priced according to size and shape. Buy early to get the best tree.

Test a tree for freshness by running a branch through your fingers. Few if any green needles should fall from it. (It's normal for browning needles to fall.)

Lift the tree a few inches off the ground. Drop it on its trunk to see how many needles fall from it. Fresh trees will lose very few needles with this treatment.

Select a tree that will fit in your house. Bring a tape measure and use common sense. If the tree will stand in a corner, it can have bald spots on one side. If it will stand in the middle of a room or in a window, it should more perfectly formed.

Bring rope to tie the tree to the top of your car or secure it in the trunk. Avoid the plastic webbing if you can -- it's an environmental hazard.

Choosing a Cut-Your-Own Tree
Increasing numbers of small tree farms welcome customers to their fields to select a living tree. With proper care and ample water, there trees generally last for four or five weeks indoors.

Depending on the farm, you can bring a saw and cut the tree yourself, or an employee will cut it for you. Tramping through the farm and looking at trees is a lot of fun with a growing family.

Trees growing in the field look smaller than they are. Bring a tape measure!

Choosing a Living Tree
If you live on a sizable piece of property, you may want to buy a living tree. It will stand in a burlap-wrapped container during the holiday and afterwards, you can plant it. Confer with the nursery.

You will have to dig a hole for the tree. Be ready whenever the weather cooperates. If you live in a very cold climate, dig the hole in the fall and cover it and the loosened earth with straw and plastic.

Choosing an Artificial Tree
Artificial trees are more life-like than ever. If you are settled on the location for the tree in your house, know the kind and size you like, consider one. You will appreciate the convenience.

These are more expensive than real trees -- they typically cost between $100 and $800 (or more), depending on their size -- but will last for years. Some come with pre-strung lights!

Caring for the Tree
Once you get the cut tree home, store it in a cool, sheltered place, such as a porch or car port. Submerge its trunk in a bucket of water until you are ready to bring it inside.

Before taking it inside, cut about an inch off the base. Put it in a stand that holds at least a half gallon of water. Pure water is all the tree needs -- no need for sugar or other additives.

Check the water often and keep the trunk submerged. The tree will soak up a lot of water, particularly on the first day or two indoors. Never let the tree-stand reservoir go dry.



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