Walk onto the lot with this checklist in hand and you're guaranteed the best tree of the bunch. (Eat your heart out, Charlie Brown!)
1. Measure for size.
What may seem small on the lot could turn into a behemoth once you’ve got it home. Make sure you measure your intended space before you head out—both the ceiling height (you’ll want your tree to have a foot’s clearance) and the height of your Christmas tree stand.
2. Test those needles.
When you’ve spotted your perfect tree, bend a needle in half with your fingers. If it’s a fir, the needle should snap; if it’s a pine, it should bend without breaking. Ask the salesperson which it is if you’re unsure.
3. Shake for freshness.
Hold the tree in front of you and either shake it or lift it and tap its trunk on the ground gently. If lots of needles fall off, it isn’t fresh enough for you.
4. Look at colour.
The green should be rich and deep—if there’s any sign of a dull gray-green, the tree has gotten too dried out. Next!
5. Trim the trunk.
Once you’ve picked the perfect specimen, get the salesperson to trim an inch off the bottom of the tree’s trunk. The fresh cut will help your tree absorb more water and stay fresher longer once it’s home.
6. Care for it well.
Christmas trees don’t like heat, so keep it away from heaters and fireplaces (for safety’s sake apart from anything). They’re also thirsty! Keep your tree stand full of water at all times, which might mean refilling it once a day (or more) at the start.
Back at home, now you can sit back and relax with a warm cup of coffee.