Millions of Americans display live Christmas trees in their homes, and for many of those families, selecting the tree is a holiday ritual that they enjoy taking part in year after year.
Selecting a tree may seem like a simple task, but if you’ve ever brought the tree home only to discover it’s too large or doesn’t fit in your tree stand, you know just how frustrating this can be. In this article, we’ve got a few basic tips that will aid you and your family in selecting a Christmas tree that’s just right.
Before heading out to the tree farm or lot, be sure to measure your Christmas tree stand. What is the widest tree trunk it will hold? The diameter of tree trunks can vary a lot, so this is an important measurement to take. If you come home with a Christmas tree that has too big of a trunk, you’ll likely find yourself shopping for a new stand, at the last minute. As long as you’ve got your measuring tape out, be sure to measure the height of your ceiling in the room where you want to display your Christmas tree. Keep in mind that you don’t want a tree that’s brushing the ceiling. As a general rule of thumb, look for a tree that’s at least 18 inches shorter than the height of the ceiling. For example, if you have 8 foot ceilings, you should look for a tree that’s approximately 6.5 foot tall. You may want to leave additional room for your tree topper.
Christmas trees that have been freshly cut are more than just nice to have-they are critical for Christmas tree safety. If a tree was cut more than 4 or 5 days ago, it has probably started to dry out, and this process is not reversible. Dry Christmas trees are responsible for many holiday fires in residential homes each year; they pose a real threat to your family’s safety. If possible, it’s best to cut your own Christmas tree at the farm. If this isn’t possible, and you have to buy a pre-cut tree, a few simple steps will help you determine if the tree is too dry. Hold the tree upright, with the bottom of the trunk a few inches off the ground. Now drop it, allowing the trunk to tap against the ground. If a lot of needles fall off, that’s a sure sign that the tree is dried out, and you should look for a fresher choice.
Getting your live Christmas tree perfectly straight when positioning it in the stand is a tricky process in the first place, and it’s even more difficult if you’ve bought a tree with a crooked trunk. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration by closely examining the tree’s trunk before you buy it, to ensure that it has grown straight and true. It’s not uncommon for live trees to grow more fully on one side than the other, usually the side that gets more sun. To check for well balanced foliage, hold the tree up straight and have another person step back 10 feet or so to view from a distance. If the foliage looks unbalanced, you may have a difficult time getting the tree to balance properly in your tree stand. If the foliage is seriously unbalanced, you’ll find yourself at risk for a tipping tree, which can pose a real safety threat for pets and young children. By keeping these simple tips in mind when you head out to buy your live Christmas tree, you can save yourself a lot of potential time, frustration, and money. Happy Christmas tree shopping.