Treeing up for Christmas

 When choosing a tree whether or not a real Christmas tree beats an artificial one is of course a matter of personal taste. Artificial Christmas trees have come a million miles from where they used to be. Now they are stunning and of course pre-lit. They come in every kind of Christmas evergreen found in nature or so it seems. A quality artificial tree is also expensive but well worth the investment. The artificial trees even have real tree scent and pine cones that can be placed on the tree, so unless one actually touches the tree it is nearly impossible to tell the difference. Of course, this is the case with expensive trees. Inexpensive artificial trees are just that and they often look artificial. The old saying that you get what you pay for is true when it comes to artificial trees. It is true that for some people, there is truly nothing quite like having a real Christmas tree in the home for the holidays. Maybe it is the family tradition that makes it so special, going out and finding the tree and smelling Christmas at the Christmas tree lot or getting it home and trying to get it level. I remember many Christmases when books became the leveller underneath one of the sides of the Christmas tree stand. Whatever the reason, many people wouldn’t even think of having anything but the real McCoy. I have to have a real one, but to be honest, I have an artificial one too. The truth is that in today’s world, everyone can have the kind of tree they want.

Choosing the right size for your home
There is no magic formula for choosing the right size for your home as once again this is a matter of choice only limited by the space allowed for the tree. There are a couple of ground rules for choosing the right size tree. The height of the ceiling needs to be considered (remember to factor in room for a star or angel on top of the tree) as well as the surround space where the tree will be going. Some people have the room but prefer a tabletop tree or a corner tucked away in the family room. Christmas is a traditional time, a family time, a personal choice time and when these factors are part of the decision, there are no real rules. It is about what is special for you and your family, not about what a decorator or someone else has to say about which size is appropriate.

How to get it into a pot without shedding needles everywhere?
Probably the most important answer to this question is to get the freshest tree you can find. Some trees are cut many weeks before they are actually delivered to the destination where the sale takes place. There are certain varieties that do much better than others. Some hold their needles and some don’t. Having dealt with Christmas trees in Cayman for many years I can say without hesitation that a Fraser fir does indeed hold its needles better than some other varieties. This is my experience talking but for this reason it is the only type of Christmas tree we sell. We also buy from a specific farm in North Carolina and I know when the tree is cut and we prepare for shipping as expeditiously as possible.

How you keep it at its best over the holiday season
When you first obtain your Christmas tree it should be cut on the base a few inches and placed in water within a couple of hours of having been cut, whether this is in the actual stand in the house or in a bucket of water waiting to go into the house. If the tree is put into a bucket of water for a day or two waiting to go inside the house do not put it in the sun. The sun will burn the tree very quickly. The most important maintenance key is water. A tree will take up several gallons of water so check it every day to make sure there is water in the stand reservoir. The Christmas Farm I have dealt with for years insists that nothing works like good old water for keeping the tree fresh.

To me a Christmas tree is a blank canvas just waiting for creativity. I think it is important to give a tree depth with decorations. Decorations bring the tree to life, give it interest, whether it is done in a traditional fashion or a theme. Most importantly, have fun creating your masterpiece!