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November 28, 2022

Picking the Perfect Christmas Tree

What to know about buying a tree this holiday


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Girl holding tree

Photograph: Anya Melnikova/ShutterStock

Christmas trees securely tied down to the tops of cars is one of the first–and most recognizable signs that Christmas is here!  The weekend after Thanksgiving, many families go out in search of the perfect Christmas tree. It’s a magical moment for sure, but depending on the size of the tree, it can be a big investment, and you’ll want it to remain robust up to and beyond the big day. Here are Santa.com’s tips on making that tree-vestment last!

When to Buy Your Tree 

Most trees are cut about a month before they’re delivered to the Christmas tree farm. You’ll want to buy them as soon as possible before they begin to lose their “ripeness.” Plus, the tree’s base will still be freshly cut, so when it’s placed in water in the tree holder, it’ll be more absorbent and last longer. 

Like produce, local is almost always a better choice. Trees that have been cut and hauled a long distance are not only more likely to be roughed up or damaged, but they’ll also cost more. If you shop at a local nursery or tree farm, you’ll not only be supporting your community–you’re more likely to take home a healthier tree. 

With this, keep in mind what happens to your tree after the holidays. If you cannot mulch or compost directly, check with your city website to learn about their recycling options, then set it out on the collection day and do your part! 

How to Pick Your Tree

So you’ve zeroed in on a time and place to purchase up your tree, and now you just need to select one. Easy.  But there are so many… we mentioned that tree nurseries are like local markets; trees need to be carefully chosen too! Here is what we suggest you look for when choosing your tree.

Does it smell and appear fresh? You wouldn’t buy bananas or apples that don’t have their fragrant scent or are covered in bruises or discolorations, right? Make sure your tree looks healthy, and crush some pine needles to see if they’re still aromatic. If branches are yellowing or dying, skip it because the tree may be old or diseased. Either way, it may not hold up for Christmas Day, and shedding a bunch of bark and pine needles in your living room isn’t ideal. 

Is it supple? A sure sign of a bad tree are delicate branches. If the tree’s branches are brittle and rigid instead of nice and supple, move on. This could be a sign that it’s old or diseased. It’ll be less likely to support any tree lights decorations, and could potentially pose a safety hazard if ornaments fall and break.

Your Christmas tree is the centerpiece of your holiday celebration, and it's important to take the time to ensure you bring home the right one. Following these simple guidelines will help you find it, and be sure not to wait until the last minute!