Christmas comes but once a year and picking out the perfect tree to jolly up the living room is a family ritual full of fun and promise. But with all the different types of trees out there, it’s hard to know which one is right for your holiday display.

Getting The Correct Tree

For the freshest and healthiest tree, you should visit an established tree farm or a lot that brings in trees from local farms. The ones that the farms sell are grown specifically to retain their needles.

Most Christmas trees are cut about 3 to 4 weeks before they arrive on the lot—usually the last weekend of November.

Once you’re perusing the lot, picking the right tree is like picking ripe mango: you should smell and touch it.

  1. Test the branches. Grab any branch on the tree between your thumb and forefinger, gently clamp down and pull towards yourself. If you end up with a handful of needles, the tree is already past its prime.
  2. Crush the needles in your hand and then check the scent. “If the tree doesn’t smell enough, don’t buy it,” says Roger.
  3. Bounce the tree by holding it a few inches above the ground and dropping it. If the exterior needles fall off, it’s a sure sign of a bad apple. Needles that fall off from the interior of the tree are normal.
  4. Make absolutely sure the tree’s trunk fits your stand. Trimming the diameter of the tree by cutting away the bark will strip the tree of its cambium layer, which absorbs water. If this happens your tree is a goner.

Know What Size You Want

The first step in choosing your perfect tree will be knowing what size you need. Trees come in all shapes and dimensions and what may look incredible in a shop might be too small, or even worse, too big for your house.

Measure the space that you’ve got available to get an idea of the maximum size you can buy and write the figures down on a piece of paper to take to the shop with you.

Top tip; take a measuring tape with you when shopping to be 100% sure that you’re making a good purchase.

Know Where You’re Going to Put It

Knowing exactly where you’re going to put the tree will help you decide which one will look the best in your space.

And, in addition to that, you don’t want to end up with branches that block out the TV from your favourite spot on the couch, so you have to think about the length and placement of the branches too.

Get a Good Stand

Every tree needs a stand and the bigger a tree is, the larger the stand should be. If you have pets or kids, it’s a good idea to buy one that’s particularly sturdy, as you don’t want to have any nasty accidents that are caused by a toppled tree.

Know What Type of Tree to Buy

There are lots of different kinds of trees to choose from and, if you’re not sure what you want, you may get overwhelmed by the options available and buy the wrong one on impulse.

It’s not necessary to become an expert on the different species of trees, but you should be aware of the specific type you need in terms of branch length and needle width etc.

For more information on picking the correct Christmas tree, this year take a look at our infographic below.