Take Care When Choosing a Christmas Tree
Selecting and decorating the Christmas tree is one of our most valued Yuletide traditions. Of all the symbols we associate with the holiday season, few are more recognizable than the Christmas tree. We take great care in selecting a beautiful, fragrant evergreen to place in our homes or businesses. We watch with delight as our kids hang ornaments, often as early as the day after Thanksgiving. We attend civic Christmas tree lightings in small towns and large cities alike. And, of course, on Christmas Eve we fill with anticipation as we wait for Santa to deliver the goods.
It all starts with the selection process, however. If, like millions of traditionalists everywhere, you've made the decision to trim a real tree versus an artificial one, your first step is to decide where you'll procure the evergreen and what type of tree you want.
While you can obtain a cutting permit and venture into a public forest yourself to down your tree, that may not be the safest or most efficient way to go. Today, most consumers opting for live trees visit a commercial Christmas tree farm or nursery, or they purchase one from a market vendor who has had the tree shipped from a nursery/farm.
Often, choices abound. Fir, spruce, pine, cedar and cypress all are popular varieties. Typically, a fir is considered the "true" Christmas tree. But the fact of the matter is that there are different species of fir trees and there truly is no right or wrong choice, no "official" Christmas tree. For example, a Colorado Blue Spruce serves as the National Christmas Tree outside the White House. Inside the White House, however, a variety of trees have been used over the years. There is no preferred presidential evergreen.
According to The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), the 10 most popular Christmas trees grown and sold in the United States are as follows, in order:
- 1. Fraser Fir
- 2. Douglas Fir
- 3. Balsam Fir
- 4. Colorado Blue Spruce
- 5. Scotch Pine
- 6. Eastern Red Cedar
- 7. White Spruce
- 8. Eastern White Pine
- 9. White Fir
- 10. Virginia Pine
While not in the Top 10 in terms of popularity, the Leyland Cypress is a good choice for individuals who suffer from allergies but still want a real tree for Christmas, according to the NCTA.
When choosing the tree that works best for your family, you'll want to take several things into consideration - beginning with the tree's size. Know the dimensions of the space into which you hope to place your tree. How high is the ceiling? How wide is the area? Take along a tape measure so that you can be certain the tree you've chosen will fit.
Look for a green tree with no (or very few) brown needles.
Take a good look at the bottom of the tree's "trunk" to ensure it is both sturdy and straight. If it is knotted or curved it may not fit into your base - then you've purchased and hauled a useless tree.
A reputable dealer won't sell a tree with these blemishes, but we all know there are plenty of disreputable vendors out there looking to make a quick buck!
Just like you kick the tires before buying a car, it's a good idea to test a tree before buying it by taking a branch in your grasp and, with gentle pressure, pulling at it. Don't pull hard, but instead allow the branch of the tree to pass through your fingers and palm pressure. If all or a majority of the needles stay on, the tree is strong. If several fall off, you're dealing with a weak tree.
Once you have a tree set up inside your home, it's time to decorate! A first-rate tree-topper and ornaments are an absolute must.
Finally, real trees can become fire hazards if proper precautions are not taken.
Jeremy White, a writer for Imaginary Greetings, Inc., is a regular contributing author specializing in features, sports, business and food writing, and frequently contributes to a variety of print and online publications. To make your family's holiday magical this season, visit www.santas-depot.com for the best selection of everything Christmas.
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