Ready to deck the halls? Follow these tips and tricks to make sure you get the best deal -- and the best tree for your space!
By Samantha Leal for TheNest.com
Thinkstock / The Nest
When to Buy
If you're going for the real thing, November is the best time to buy a tree, especially right after Thanksgiving. Don't worry about it dying before Santa comes -- most trees last at least a month. (Psst...if you're looking to trade in the fresh for the artificial, wait until January to buy a discounted artificial tree and hang on to it for next year.)
Amazing designer Christmas trees
How to Measure
After you decide where you want to place your tree in the room, you'll need to measure both the height of the space and the maximum width. It may seem like a no-brainer, but don't forget to measure your tree stand to determine the maximum diameter of your tree trunk, as well as the height of the tree stand (so you can subtract that from your tree's height). Last, don't forget to measure your tree topper! There's nothing like getting your tree home only to realize you need to hack about 5 inches off the top….
Crazy Christmas tree ornaments
What to Look For
The tree should look shiny and green, and the needles should (for the most part) stay on the tree. Some dropping of older, interior needles is natural, but avoid purchasing if the overall color is faded, if the bark is wrinkled or if the exterior needles fall off super easily. (You may end up with a tree like the one in A Charlie Brown Christmas….)
There are a number of different Christmas tree types to choose from, so make sure to do a little research beforehand to get the best tree for your home (ChristmasTree.org is a good source to start with). Two safe bets are Fraser fir and Noble fir, both of which have strong branches, making them easier to decorate with ornaments.
Do's & don'ts of holiday decor
How to Transport
If you can borrow a van or SUV, do it! Laying a Christmas tree inside and transporting it home is the easiest (and safest) option. Can't swing a rental, or got a huge tree? Make sure to securely tie the tree to the top of your car, preferably in a tarp. Many workers from tree farms will be happy to help you secure it.
How to Care for Your Christmas Tree
Trim the Trunk: Unless the tree is placed in water within a few hours of being cut, its sap will spill out and seal the base, preventing the absorption of water. So before you strap that fir to your car's roof, ask the seller to cut 1 to 1.5 inches off the trunk. Then place the tree in a stand or bucket full of water as soon as possible.
Water, Water, Water: You might be surprised by how much water an evergreen can consume. To prevent the needles from drying out, you'll need to check at least once a day to make sure there's enough water in the stand to cover the cut end of the trunk. But if you went away for a weekend and left your tree without water for more than a few hours, you can still revive it. Just drill a few shallow holes at the base of the trunk and fill up the stand with water.
How to save money this holiday season!
Don't Fall for Gimmicks: Although you may be tempted to buy special "Christmas tree food" or add sugar, corn syrup or aspirin -- all of which have been purported to keep evergreen's alive longer -- to the tree's water supply, there's no evidence that any of these substances actually work any better than plain old water.
Choose a Neutral Environment: To keep your fir fresh, place it away from heat sources, including direct sunlight, fireplaces, radiators and stoves. In addition to being a fire hazard, heat dries up the needles and causes them to turn brown and fall off (just think about how your hair feels at the end of summer). But avoid drafty spaces: Frequent cold breezes can also dry out the tree (kinda like how your skin feels after spending a few hours in the cold). Bet you didn't think trees were that delicate, huh? If you really want to preserve your fir, use a humidifier.
© 2011 The Nest. All rights reserved.