One of the most contentious issues for the festive period is when to put your decorations up – but also how close to Christmas should you buy a real Christmas tree?
While many of us will want to put up Christmas decorations in November, it’s wiser to wait before buying and putting up a Christmas tree.
That means it should look its best when Christmas Day finally arrives.
Check out this video from ITV’s This Morning team as real Christmas tree expert David Domoney explains everything you need to know about buying one.
Deciding where to buy your tree for the festive season is also important for tree freshness and opting for those trees with dark green needles.
Lots of people use a garden centre or one of the many specialist Christmas tree selling locations that spring up closer to the festivities with the aim of bringing their tree home, rather than having it delivered.
Having said that, buying a Christmas tree online is growing quickly in popularity so you can order a freshly cut tree from the comfort of your home and have it delivered to your door for a stress-free Christmas tree buying experience!
For those who are buying a Christmas tree for the first time, you will need a tree stand that allows a bucket of water to be added every day.
Peter Hyde, the founder of Trinity Street Christmas Trees in Bridport, told us that the best tip is to ‘avoid dry trees that are discolouring and have been sat around on pallets since mid-November’.
He added: “You should buy local – buy from a specialist grower to ensure that the tree was cut as late as is possible, avoid DIY chains and the like who cut trees too early.
“Buy premium grade Nordmann fir, Noble fir and Fraser fir. Water the tree in the stand and place away from radiators.”
Peter also recommends that only trees that have been netted in biodegradable netting should be bought.
It’s important to remember that a cut Christmas tree will last for between four and six weeks, but you must keep it away from heat and give it up to three pints of water a day.
While you may believe that placing a tree by a fireplace will create a delightful festive scene, you should know that the heat from the fire makes it difficult for trees to retain their moisture. This problem also extends to placing a real tree by a radiator. Not having enough moisture will:
- Shorten a real Christmas tree’s lifespan
- See the tree lose its needles.
The other consideration when it comes to understanding when the best time to buy a Christmas tree is, all depends on how long your Christmas decorations will be up for.
Some people take down their festive decorations on Boxing Day, while the others will wait till the 12th night.
So, if you’re happy waiting until early January before taking your decorations down, you can safely buy your tree in the first week of December.
Otherwise, you can buy in late November, take care of the tree by watering it every day and be confident that it will last until Christmas Day.
The Christmas.co.uk tips for maintaining a Christmas tree
This is our handy checklist for maintaining and enjoying a Christmas tree:
- When choosing a tree, check the needles are glossy and give the tree shake to see if any needles fall off
- Keep your real tree in a pot or stand that will hold water to help extend its life
- Have the seller saw the bottom of the trunk to help absorb water
- Ensure the water is topped up every day
- Keep your tree away from radiators and fires since the heat makes it more difficult for them to absorb moisture and they will lose their needles.
Tom Onslow-Cole, the co-founder of Croft & Cole told Christmas.co.uk: “We deliver from the 25th of November and, if our care guide is followed, the tree will last inside your home until beyond Christmas. But this is because the trees are British grown and well looked after.
“If you choose to buy a cheaper imported tree, we’d suggest waiting until mid-December to put it in your home.”
He added that they only select healthy trees with a good colour so it will look fresh for the entire festive period.
Tom said: “We begin hand-selecting our Croft & Cole Christmas trees in May of each year but revisit to check them in October to ensure they are still pest- and disease-free. We check them again before we dispatch them to our customers.”
Before their trees are dispatched, the bottom of the tree trunk will be re-cut to help the tree hydrate when in its stand.
He added: “We ensure that larger trunks are slimmed down, and each tree is cut straight so that our customers can simply drop them into the stand, and they will stand straight and sturdy.”
However, when deciding on how close to Christmas you should buy a real tree, there are other considerations too.
Understanding the journey that a Christmas tree takes from a farm to a shop will help buyers understand when they should buy one. Here, Sadie from Primrose.co.uk explains what that process is.
The owner of the online Christmas tree selling site Christmastrees.co.uk, Mark Rofe, said: “Before you even begin to choose your Christmas tree, there are several things you should consider first which will help you to make your decision.
“Some types of Christmas tree are better suited to an indoor environment, while others are more suited to being placed outdoors.
“If you’re looking to place your Christmas tree outdoors, then you should consider a Norway Spruce tree, this is the species of tree that is put up in Trafalgar Square each year.
“However, if you are looking to place your Christmas tree indoors, you should avoid the Norway Spruce, because it doesn’t typically last long indoors.”
He added: “Of course, choosing your tree also comes down to personal preference too, this can be from the shape of the tree, the colour, foliage, smell, to how long you want it to last.
“The most popular Christmas tree in the UK is the Nordmann fir, which is known for its long-lasting needles. However, for something more exotic looking, you could opt for a Korean fir tree which occasionally has cones on its branches, or a Blue Spruce tree, which as its name suggests has slightly blue foliage.”