Finding Your Perfect Christmas Tree

by Tom & Tam Theisel, 24 Nov 2017

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert popularised the Christmas tree in Britain, for us we love the vibe and scent that it brings during the festive season. Our aim in this guide is to help you find your perfect Christmas tree with some tongue-in-cheek tips thrown in too.

Finding Your Perfect Christmas Tree

Choose your tree

These are 3 of the most popular trees you can buy.

Norway Spruce is the classic Christmas tree, to some the only type. It's also the species that is used as the main Christmas tree in several cities around the world. It has reddish-brown branches and glossy needles rich in colour. As it likes to be outside it's ideal for the garden and makes a wonderful display. It's drawback is its tendency to lose needles, but this can be managed by regular thorough watering.

Nordmann Fir is considered to be the original low-drop tree and is the most popular tree. With the archetypal shape and full, bushy branches it has good needle retaining properties with wide and flat, dark green needles which are soft to touch. It's branches are strong which is perfect for hanging heavy decorations. We have chosen this tree for the past few years.

Fraser Fir named after the Scottish botanist, John Fraser, and the favourite for Nick (Fine Pines). It too is a low-drop tree but has short, soft dense needles with a scent of citrus. It has shiny dark green needles, with a blue-grey underside. With its strong short branches, it too is perfect for hanging heavy decorations. If you are lacking space, choose this type as it has a narrower base, ideal for attic flats; we know we've been there!

Nick's (Fine Pines) top tips

What should you look for in a tree?
Bushiness, perfect shape (like a triangle) and something that catches the eye.

When is the best time to buy?
First week of December.

Any deals like “Early Bird”?
If you come to our Bath Site any weekend in December we serve mulled wine and mince pies to enjoy while choosing your perfect Tree.

Christmas tree blindness

It sounds obvious, but you need to work out the maximum height of your tree, ie. what will fit at the desired location and taking into account the stand as well. You would think everybody does this, but sadly no. We fell into this trap the first time we bought a tree; excitement made us Christmas tree blind! Unless you are lucky to have a Georgian townhouse with high ceilings, consider this step. There is nothing worse than coming home and needing to trim your tree, it's even harder when you don't have a saw or hatchet so you end up chopping the top of the tree off or bending it along the ceiling.

Measure the diameter of the stand

This is another trap for those who already have a stand for the tree. You don't want to end up buying another stand? And you want to avoid having the trunk trimmed to fit your stand as it effects longevity of the tree.

For the carefree, like Tam, use some string or a tape to measure the inner circumference of your stand, you can then measure the trunk of the tree to make sure it fits.

For the precision monkey, like Tom, there is a handy equation: C = Πd.

For example: 3.14(pi) x 15(diameter of stand) = 47(circumference of trunk)

Now you can take a tape measure along to help make a sound decision.

On the flip side, if you need to purchase a stand you can work out the minimum diameter of the stand by using the following equation: d = C÷Π

For example: 47(circumference of trunk) ÷ 3.14(pi) = 15(diameter of stand)

The unit of measurement is up to you (mm, cm, in...) but it needs to be consistent.

How to bring your tree home

Let's face it, this is another step that people don't seem to be in control of. It's amazing and funny to see how many people challenge themselves by putting large trees in small cars. If you happen to come across this, please share the experience with us via Twitter or Instagram. If your chosen tree is too large for your vehicle, ask the supplier if they do home delivery. Or the more obvious choice is to choose a smaller tree!

Looking after your tree

In the ideal world you need to stand your tree in a bucket of water outside in a shaded area and bring it inside at the last minute. However, if you're like us and really excited we recommend treating your tree like a vase of flowers. The trick is having a stand that can hold water.

Just like fresh flowers trim 2-3cm from the base of the trunk. Try to keep the bark intact as it helps the tree take up water.

Choose a location away from heat sources, like fire places and radiators. Once you have secured your tree into its stand fill the stand with water, this will help the tree to stay fresh as long as possible. You will need to monitor the water level every couple of days, top up when needed.

Caring For Your Tree
Caring For Your Tree © Forestry Commission, England

Decorating your tree

This is when the fun part begins and is a great family activity. We like to start with the lights and turn them on to check the balance. Then we add tinsel and bead chains followed by baubles and ornaments. The final element is the decoration at the top of the tree (this is the Stollen and mulled cider moment).

If the family have been involved it may not be the masterpiece you've envisaged, feel free to beautify it when they go to sleep. We won't tell anyone...

Be proud of your tree

Regardless of whether you've gone extravagant or have a modest approach to decorating, we would love to see your beautiful Christmas tree. Please share it via Twitter or Instagram, including any further tips you may have.