It’s never too early to start thinking about the festivities – especially for the elves at Christmas.co.uk! – and that includes thinking of when to buy a Christmas tree.
But when is the best time to do so?
In the UK, most people put up their trees around two to three weeks before Christmas Day.
That means if you want a real tree that will last the whole festive season, you should aim to buy it sometime from early- to mid-December since the ones from a reputable seller will be good for four weeks or so.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a tree earlier than that.
Also, if you want to enjoy a Christmas tree for longer and without needing to water it and not have to pick up needles, then an artificial tree will meet your needs.
And, as households begin their Christmas countdown earlier and earlier every year, you can safely put up your Christmas tree in early November if it is an artificial tree – if you really must! – and enjoy it until you take it down in early January.
If you see a real or artificial Christmas tree you like, go ahead, and buy it! Just be aware that a real tree might not last as long as a tree that you would buy closer to Christmas.
Buy a Christmas tree close to the big day
If you’re looking for the absolute freshest real tree, then you’ll want to buy a Christmas tree as close to the big day as possible. That’s because a real Christmas is good for about four weeks before its needles will fall off – if you water it every day!
However, keep in mind that many outlets start selling their real trees at the end of November – but that doesn’t mean the best of the crop will go then. Artificial trees are available all year round so are great for those families who like to plan ahead.
Christmas tree growers know that many people like to get organised from the middle of December, and some people will leave their tree until the last minute.
You should also aim to buy your Christmas tree from a reputable buyer because the time between cutting the tree down and selling it to you will be much shorter than buying a tree that has been grown, cut and then send from Scandinavia.
No matter when you decide to buy your tree, make sure to take good care of it and it will see you through the festive season.
That means keeping it watered and away from heat sources – the Christmas.co.uk team look at how to care for your real tree in another article.
We appreciate that not everyone is religious
It’s also worth noting that while we discuss real and artificial Christmas trees in this article, and make references to the Christian calendar, we appreciate that not everyone is religious or have their own non-Christian belief.
The real joy of Christmas is that it is non-denominational for many people and the festivities are a great way for families, friends and colleagues to bond over what is a special time to share and enjoy a winter festival.
The non-Christian celebrations, for example, include the Buddhist Rohatsu, or Bodhi Day, on December 8, Judaism celebrates Hanukkah from December 8 – 10 and Pagans celebrate the Winter Solstice on December 21.
Whatever your faith, Christmas is a time for family, regardless of what your faith is.
When do you need to buy a real Christmas tree?
It’s one thing knowing when you want to buy a tree, you also need to appreciate what to look for when you do buy one.
Here, real Christmas tree expert David Domoney appears on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ to explain everything you need to know about buying a real tree.
When many households buy a Christmas tree
While it is a question that plagues most households every year, there is some data to show when many households buy a Christmas tree.
This means they are also probably putting their decorations up at the same time too.
We all look forward to Christmas, so there is no right or wrong answer about when to buy a real or artificial Christmas tree, or when your decorations should go up.
However, a study found that 62% of people believe the Christmas season begins in December.
Furthermore, 47% of households stated they put up their decorations between 1st-10th December.
But is that too late for you?
Searches for ‘Christmas decorations’
UKShopfront, a leading shop front installer, analysed Google Trends data and discovered that searches for ‘Christmas decorations’ follow a yearly pattern.
It appears that many people put up their Christmas trees and decorate their homes four weeks before Christmas Day – which means they are probably adhering to the tradition of starting on the first day of Advent.
A spokesman for UKShopfront said: “With retailers and towns seemingly putting their Christmas lights on earlier each year, it can be difficult to figure out the best time to decorate.
“While there is no official date – and no one will chastise you for decorating a bit later than others! – we understand that Christmas enthusiasts will be keen to stay ahead of the game.”
The spokesman added: “As the data we collected has proven an ongoing, reliable trend, we hope it is useful for many years to come!”
The best time to put up your Christmas tree in 2022
Whether you want to follow tradition – or you don’t want to have the only non-decorated home in your street – the data from Google Trends shows that the perfect week to put up your decorations in 2022 is the 21st – 27th of November.
Using the same data, we can also tell you when the best time to put up your tree and decorations over the next few years will also be:
- 2023: November 27th – December 3rd
- 2024: November 25th – December 1st
- 2025: November 24th – November 30th
- 2026: November 23rd – November 29th
- 2027: November 22nd – November 28th
So, save the dates now!
Why we put trees up at the beginning of Advent
You know that when supermarkets and shops begin stocking Christmas items that the festivities are just around the corner.
And every year, people wrangle over when to put up the tree. Should it go up late in November? Closer to December 1st? Or maybe even on Christmas Eve?
For those who love the festivities, the temptation to spend on gifts, a tree and decorations will already be strong.
While some people like to wait until December to put up their Christmas tree, others begin decorating much earlier to enjoy the festivities more.
Putting up the tree
One of the most anticipated events leading up to Christmas is putting up the tree.
Some people will choose to decorate their Christmas trees at the beginning of Advent, but what does this mean?
Advent celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and always starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which we call Advent Sunday. Advent ends on Christmas Eve (the 24th of December).
And if you can’t wait to get your Christmas decorations up, this is the soonest date that tradition suggests you put your tree up.
Buying your real tree at the beginning of December
The British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association recommends buying your real tree at the beginning of December if you want it to last throughout the festive season.
According to the association, if you take care of it, your tree can last up to four weeks. However, if you purchase the tree in November, by Christmas Day the pine needles might have dropped, and branches could be drooping.
Obviously, that won’t be the case with an artificial tree – especially if you invest in a quality offering as these will last for many years.
Here, Alan Titchmarsh appears in a Waitrose video about how to look after your Christmas tree – there’s a lot of good advice here for anyone who is thinking of putting their tree up as early as possible!
Keep your tree looking healthier
Putting up your real Christmas tree a little later, such as the first week of December rather than in November, will help to keep your tree looking healthier for an extended amount of time.
Some people put up their Christmas trees 12 days before the big day, which is a nice compromise for those who don’t want to do it too early.
In the past, it was considered unlucky to put up decorations or Christmas trees any earlier than Christmas Eve.
And according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Christmas tree was not put up until the afternoon of 24 December! That’s too late for many families who want to enjoy the festive build-up – and get ‘value for money’ from their real tree. We explain more about Catholic tradition below.
When do I take down my Christmas tree?
While many people will rush to put their Christmas tree up in November, some people can’t wait to take their Christmas tree down after the celebrations are over and others want to keep the cheer going for as long as possible.
Christians typically take their Christmas trees down 12 days after Christmas.
That’s because Christmas celebrations last 12 days, so the Twelfth Night marks the end of the season.
Removing Christmas decorations after this date is considered unlucky by many people.
And that’s probably why you see some homes with festive lights up outside their home around the year.
When is Twelfth Night?
However, if you need to know when Twelfth Night is, then put January 5 in your diary.
Most Christians will count 12 days from Christmas Day when the decorations need to go back to the loft – but Catholics will count 12 days from Boxing Day.
That means that for Catholics, January 6 is Twelfth Night and Epiphany. Undoubtedly, this is one reason why the question of ‘When is Twelfth Night?’ causes confusion in households.
To help resolve that confusion, Christians count Christmas Day as the first day of Twelvetide, or the 12 Days of Christmas. Catholics don’t count Christmas Day as a day so the 12 days of Epiphany start on Boxing Day and ends on January 6.
Catholics see Advent as the season for waiting, Christmas Day will start their Christmas season and then there are 12 days for Epiphany or ‘days of light’.
To confuse matters, other churches, such as the Eastern Orthodox church, will adhere to a different calendar and their 12 days of Christmas celebration will begin on January 7.
People are buying real Christmas trees earlier and earlier…
There’s no doubt that greater numbers of us are looking to buy our real Christmas tree earlier every year – and that’s what tree sellers have told Christmas.co.uk.
For example, Adrian from Snowbird Christmas Tree Farm in Grantham, told us: “Ten years ago, we sold nothing before December 1st, but in recent years we have responded to customer demand and opened on the third weekend in November.
“These early customers are perhaps mostly made-up of a new generation of buyers who no longer expect their trees to last until Twelfth Night but take them down soon after Christmas.
“Our busiest weekends are now the last weekend in November and the first weekend of December.”
Charlotte from Christmas Wrapped Up in Dunmow near Chelmsford has seen another trend. She says: “People who start early are always the keener ones who can’t wait to get their decorations up and are counting the days till the real Christmas tree goes up.
“Some people are even keen enough to put a tree up earlier and then replace it the week before Christmas.
“The customers coming early don’t want to miss out on the first choice of decorations.”
Richard at Clickmas Trees in London is also seeing a change in the Christmas tree-buying trend.
He said: “The date people request trees does seem to get earlier every year!
“People have been ordering trees for when our deliveries start on 19 November.
“Our busiest day does continue to be the first Saturday in December for both online and offline sales.
“This continues to be the most popular day to put the tree up!”
Starts selling Christmas trees to the public in early November
Toby at festivefirs.com in Nuneaton told us that he starts selling Christmas trees to the public in early November and said: “In my eyes, that is too early but if the customer wants their tree now it is down to them.”
He added that his busiest weekends are the last weekend in November, and the first weekend in December.
The trend is explained by Will at sendmeachristmastree.co.uk in Lindfield in West Sussex, who says: “The biggest tree trend over the past decade or so has seen buyers wanting to put their trees up earlier and earlier – as a result, they’ve also opted to pay a little more for a ‘low-drop’ tree, like the Nordmann fir – now the UK’s most popular Christmas tree by a long shot.
“But, in the last few years, we’ve seen Nordmanns start to peak in popularity and people are getting a bit more adventurous, choosing varieties that are a bit different and harder to find, like the Fraser fir, Korean fir or even the Lodgepole pine which can have a bit more of a ‘wow’ factor.”
The UK towns and cities most excited about Christmas trees
You would think that the excitement for Christmas and putting trees and decorations up would be the same around the country, but one survey reveals that’s not the case.
According to the findings from B&Q, they say while the festivities are some way off, people begin searching for trees and decorations.
The DIY chain found that online searches for Christmas trees are rocketing, and their data shows which cities are leading the way in tree searches.
The retailer also highlights that the number of shoppers visiting its B&Q Christmas Shop shot up by 430% in one week in early November.
And it is people in Yorkshire who prefer real Christmas trees, according to the study.
The UK towns and cities with the biggest increase in Christmas tree searches in one week in early November:
- York – 625%
- Leeds – 430%
- Reading – 360%
- Birmingham – 314%
- Cardiff – 297%
- Edinburgh – 293%
- Liverpool – 268%
- Bristol – 244%
- Manchester – 200%
- Nottingham – 191%
So, there you have it. Online searches for Christmas trees begin in early November from various parts of the country with some buyers heading out a few weeks later to buy their tree.
Fun facts about when we put our Christmas trees up
Here are some fun facts from Scribbler about when we put our Christmas trees up.
The greetings card and gift company looked at the question of when would be too early, or too late.
Apparently, most people in the UK put their trees up during the first week of December, for 29.1% of respondents.
The second week of December was the next most popular for 22.1% and 9.8% put their tree up in the third week of December.
And 7.6% leave it until a few days before Christmas Day!
However, the survey also reveals that while 69.5% put their tree up in December, an impressive 13.4% put theirs up in November.
And 2% of folk put their tree up BEFORE November even begins.
Put a tree up at the last minute
Those are the early birds – what about those who put a tree up at the last minute?
According to Scribbler, Christmas can be a busy time for many of us which means 2.85% of people put their tree up on the 22nd of December and 1.95% do it on the 23rd.
A very, very busy 1.65% of the population don’t bother until Christmas Eve before putting their tree up (unless they are following the Catholic tradition – see above).
And the survey also reveals a shocking statistic.
That’s because 1.1% of respondents say they put their tree up on Christmas Day!
In other words, around 733,150 people in the UK wait until the 25th before bothering with their tree and, probably, putting up their festive decorations too.
The psychology of putting up Christmas trees and decorations early
We have seen that growing numbers are putting their Christmas trees and decorations up earlier every year – but why do this?
Everyone loves Christmas but it is now not unusual to see festive decorations in the middle of November.
It appears that very few people put their decorations up closer to Christmas Day – as was traditional until recent years.
For example, TV’s Tan France from Queer Eye puts his tree up on Halloween and has done so for at least 10 years. He even sends out images on his social media.
Putting up Christmas trees and decorations early
However, it appears that putting up Christmas trees and decorations early might actually help your mental health.
Author Lucy Beresford points to research that shows that people who do put decorations up early tend to be happier – and friendlier.
She also points to the Covid pandemic for playing a role in this trend.
That’s because all of us were restricted for a year or two from seeing friends and relatives and many people don’t want to get caught out like that again. It is essentially not wanting to miss out – and making up for the fun they missed out on.
Buying Christmas trees early
And putting decorations up and buying Christmas trees early also reveals a lot about you, experts say.
The co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, consultant psychologist, Dr Elena Touroni, says someone starting the festivities early is someone who enjoys planning things and likes to be prepared.
They might also be reliving happy childhood memories of Christmas – or trying to make up for the fact they didn’t have a great Christmas when growing up.
For many people, it will never be too soon to buy a Christmas tree, and for the rest of us, we will still be able to buy the trees and decorations for our homes and enjoy the festivities with loved ones whenever we decide to start.