A Guide to Picking the Perfect Christmas Tree

Follow these tips and tricks for finding the best tree and how to care for it.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Written by Maridel Reyes

Now that Thanksgiving is almost here, it’s time to focus on the next big holiday. And what better way to celebrate the season than with the most glorious Christmas tree ever? 

Delight your family and impress guests this holiday season with our expert tips for how to find the perfect Christmas tree—and how to keep it healthy all season.

How to pick the perfect tree

1. Before you go tree shopping, measure the height of the ceiling in the room where you plan to put the tree. Buy a tree that is at least one foot shorter than the ceiling height. Also measure the opening of your tree stand and make sure the base of your chosen tree will fit.

2. While tree shopping, run your fingers along the needles and give the tree a shake. If the tree is fresh, the needles should be pliable and very few should fall off.

3. Make sure the base of the tree is straight and at least six inches long, so it will fit easily into the tree stand.

4. These five Christmas-tree varieties have the best shape, lush branches, rich color and superior needle retention: balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, noble fir and Scotch pine.   

How to keep your tree healthy

1. When you buy your tree, have an inch cut off the base to make it easier for the tree to take in water. (Be sure the cut is straight so the tree will stand up properly.)

2. Use a tree stand that holds at least one gallon of water.

3. Keep your tree well watered. Water prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and maintains the fragrance. Trees may use several quarts a day, so check the water level in the stand every few hours.

4. Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree or the cut end may seal over, preventing further water intake.

5. Don’t add anything to the water. Though some people swear that throwing in such extras as aspirin, soda water, bleach, salt, sugar, or corn syrup keeps trees fresher longer, the experts say plain water, and plenty of it, is best.

TELL US: What are your tips for picking the best tree and keeping it healthy throughout the holiday season?


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