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How to choose a killer Christmas tree

 

Christmas is very much a commercial holiday for my family, and one of my favorite parts is decorating a big ol’ evergreen. Here are 8 tips to help you pick the perfect pine (spruce or fir).

 

Before you go

 

Know how big of a tree you have space for. That glorious ten-foot fir might seem oh-so-elegant in the Christmas tree lot, but if it’s too tall for your living room, your gonna have a problem once you get it home.

 

Be on the lookout for your favorite variety. Christmas trees come in all different shapes, sizes and species. Knowing what type you want before you hit the lot (or farm) will help narrow down the selection. My family always gets a sweet-smelling, soft-needled Douglas Fir.  

 

Keep your decorations in mind. Do you have lots of heavy bobbles to hang on your evergreen’s boughs? Then you’ll need a tree with strong branches. Try a Noble Fir rather than a floppier White Pine.

 

Grab gloves and your tree stand. Want to hold it straight? Best be wearin’ gloves, girl—or at least grab some for Mom or Dad. When you’ve nabbed this season’s top pick, the lot employees will cut it down to size for you. If you have your tree stand with you, they can make sure the trunk of the tree isn’t too wide for the stand. That way you won’t have to get the saw out when you get home.

 

At the lot

 

Take in all the angles.You only get a tree once a year, so take the time to make sure it’s a good one. Look for holes where the branches leave the tree bare, as well as proportion. Is it too fat? Too skinny? Flat on one side and full on the other? Some of these qualities might be perfect for you, but either way, you should take a good look before you make a choice. If necessary, ask on of the employees to pull it out away from the crowd. They should be more than happy to give ya a hand.

 

Feel it up. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal. By touching the needles, you can tell if the tree is old and dry—Be sure to ask when the shipment was received! You don’t want your tree to die two weeks before Christmas—or too flimsy for your ornaments. Do watch out for your clothes, though. Sap is hard, sometimes impossible, to get out of knits.

 

Busy day? Guard it well. Folks can get downright competitive when it comes to walking away with the best tree on the lot. If you find a favorite early on, don’t leave its fate up to chance. While your scoping out your other options, another family could be tying your pick to their car! Don’t be mean or rude, just keep an eye out for others who are interested.

 

Ask for a tidy trim. Once you’ve made your selection, have the employees saw off some of the low-hanging branches to give you room to water…and place your prezzies come Christmas.

 

Happy hunting!

BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 11/27/2010 7:00:00 AM

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