How to Pick the Perfect Christmas Tree

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Thank you to the Christmas Tree Promotion board for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

I love Christmas. I look forward to the season all year long. I have fond memories of celebrating Christmas and all it's traditions when I was younger. Growing up my uncle had a tree farm. Our family would pile into the station wagon and drive a little over an hour to pick out our Christmas trees. Yep, plural. We usually had two or three live trees in our home each year. My mom liked to have a small one that had all of her pretty ornaments on it in our dining room. In our living room and often times in our parlor {seen below}, we had a 12-foot-tall tree. The home I grew up in was built in 1860 and we had TALL ceilings and lots of room! We would decorate the downstairs trees in the living room and parlor as a family and would put all of our kid ornaments and hand made creations on the bottom half of the tree.  Even with a step stool we couldn't reach too high!

In our living room, the Christmas tree would sit inside the bay window that had a built in seating area. It made the perfect ledge for my brothers and me to climb and walk 360 degrees around the tree. We loved to play in and around the tree so much so that one year we got a little too close and the tree fell crashing down. After that my dad started using several ropes to stake the tree to the wall and I'm pretty sure it was off limits to walk all the way around the tree after that. Looking at this picture, I still remember many of these ornaments. Some of them have even made it into my own collection that I put on our family Christmas tree.

This year our family Christmas was going to look a little different. Our oldest son is nearly 3000 miles away at college and we are all adjusting to him being gone. His absence means that our own family traditions are changing and evolving a bit. Sometimes change is good, but this year I wasn't really looking forward to the start of the holiday season. But, something awesome happened and we did something we haven't done in years!

While I was pregnant with our third child and exhausted after the holidays, a deeply discounted artificial Christmas tree lured me in. If anyone had a genuine childhood experience with real Christmas trees it was me and the massive forest we brought into our home every December. I had nothing but good experiences {well, minus the tree that went timber taking with it lights and ornaments} and fond memories with real Christmas trees. Exhaustion got the best of us and we decided to give an artificial tree a try.

Not one quick to change, we kept getting the box out of the garage every year and setting up our sparse artificial tree as the pre-lite strands of bulbs blew out slowly. We would set aside the tree stand that we had saved thinking that one day we would go back to having a real Christmas tree. Every year the kids would ask and every year they heard me retell the stories of my youth as I blabbered on about our 12-foot-tall trees.  I think one year, one of the kids said, if it's so great, why don't we get a real tree then?

Our son made a choice to go to college far from home. With that decision came a day worth of travel to get home or back to school. We had decided that it would be too difficult and expensive for him to travel home for Thanksgiving and while we would miss him, he was going to stay in Texas for his Thanksgiving break.  Little did I know that my in-laws had spoken with him in September and arranged for him to come home as a surprise for me. We had no idea and were surprised at nearly midnight with him knocking at the door and waking us up. It was the best surprise!

As our family is growing and changing so are our traditions. We thought that this would be the perfect year to go back to having a live Christmas tree. After 12 years we left the artificial tree boxed up and headed into the mountains as a family to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. There is something about the scent and beauty of a natural tree that makes me feel like this is the real authentic Christmas tradition we are embracing now as an evolving family of five.

Having been out of the game for a bit, it all came back to me quite quickly and we had to school the kids on how to pick the perfect Christmas tree. I'm sharing with you some of my tips {and some things we learned} today.


1. Know What Kind of Tree You are Looking For

I grew up in the Midwest and the Christmas trees that are available there are not the same types that are available where we live in the Pacific Northwest.  You can contact your local tree farm to find out what types of Christmas trees they have available. There several common Christmas tree varieties and they range from fir trees to pine trees to spruce trees. You may want to do a little research before you go to find out what kind of tree you like and if that particular tree farm has that variety growing.

Some of the members in your family may not like some of the varieties. It comes down to personal preference and really what you think a real Christmas tree will look like for your family. A Christmas tree is usually at the center of all of the quality time spent with family and friends. Think about what that looks like for you.

2. Know Your Height Limits

Once we unloaded from the car, we were all drawn to a variety of different trees. My husband is really the only one in our family with any sense of scale. When you are in the great outdoors and the ceiling is the sky, the trees look a little bit smaller than they would, say in your home with eight-foot-tall ceilings. I saw a man wandering around the farm holding a long PVC pipe. I asked him about it and he said that the pipe is 10 feet tall, which is the height of his ceiling. Genius.

This farm had tags on the trees and the various trees were marked with different colored tags for the different heights. If you aren't quite sure and you have a hard time visualizing, come to the Christmas tree farm prepared with a measuring tape or a measuring device of some kind.

3. Know What Characteristics you Want Your Tree To Have 


Do you like a tree that has space between the branches to show off your hanging ornaments or do you like a tree to be nice and full? Do you want your Christmas tree to have a tree shape or would you like it to be a little more natural. Some trees are more fragrant while others have strong branches and some don't produce sap. All things to take into consideration.

 4. Check the Tree's Condition

Run a branch of the tree through your hand to make sure that the needles don't come off easily. Make sure the outer branches bend well. If they break easily, the tree may be too dry.

 5. Select Your Tree

If you find a tree that is a contender, bring a bright colored ribbon that you can mark it with. That way, you can compare several trees at once and make sure you can relocate the trees that you were interested in as you wander around the farm. 

Once your tree is selected, consider having the tree shaken to remove any loose needles from the tree and baled so that it's easier to transport your tree home.

Once your tree is in it's new home, enjoy it! As much as I love Christmas, I actually don't really like Christmas music. There are two times that I will allow Christmas music to be played in our home, when we decorate our tree and on Christmas day. Decorating the tree is a special time when we all gather around as a family and enjoy real quality time. At the center of that quality time this season is always the Christmas tree.

Our day spent in the mountains as a family of five was special and even as our kids are growing, I realized that it's never too late to start new traditions. It's Christmas, keep it real.

disclaimer: this post is sponsored by the Christmas Tree Promotion Board all opinions are 100% my own.


Doodle T said...

Excellent tips for the perfect real Christmas Tree. And I love the Christmas memory stories. :)

Unknown said...

Great tips, I love getting a huge real Christmas tree. Sophie x

Anonymous said...

..."for my brothers and ME to walk around..." sorry. Grammar troll.

Rosebudlady said...

Get a life, grammar troll! This is a lovely post,,,Thank you and Merry Christmas~

location appartement marrakech said...

I think that this is very educational.

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