Before you head out to find the perfect Christmas tree there are quite a few things to consider. The biggest mistake most people make is not measuring their room. You should also consider the maximum width to pass through your hallways and don’t forget to consider the height limit when you add a tree stand and a star on top.

Another thing you you will want to consider is what type of tree would be best for you. There are many different species of trees to choose from when picking your ideal Christmas tree, so it important to be aware of the different characteristics of each type to find the perfect match. If you aren’t that familiar with trees (like myself) here are a few that are on the top of the list:

• Douglas Fir has a pyramidal shape with beautiful green to blue-green needles. It is a dependable tree that will last the entire season.

• Fraser Fir has a great pine smell to it and is more slender than other firs, so it will fit better in a smaller room. Its branches turn slightly upward giving it a more compact look. It is also the longest lasting tree if you take good care of it.

• Noble Fir has a cool blue-green color with well-spaced branches. The branches are stiff, so they can hold heavier ornaments, and if you need to cut the lower branches off, they are perfect for wreathes and garland.

• Balsam Fir is a two-toned tree with green needles on top that become silvery toward the bottom. Its branches are flexible, so if you have heavy ornaments, this isn’t the tree for you.

After you decide on the species of tree, it is time to prepare for the return trip home from the lot. Know that the tree will be sappy and will leave a needle mess in your SUV or truck. You should bring a drop cloth with you to put down, but many tree lots will wrap the tree for you to make transport easy. If you’re skipping the lot and heading out to the wild, just make sure you are in an area that allows you to cut down a tree! You don’t want to get in trouble for illegal cutting.

Did you realize what a process this tree expedition was going to become? Well, now that all the prep work is complete, before you know it you are finally “planted” right in front of “the tree’. Just when you think it is the one, there are just a few more things to consider.

1. Test for freshness: Take a branch in your hand and gently pull along the branch. If the tree is fresh, it should retain its needles.

2. Then test for freshness another way: Another test is to tap the base on the ground and see if needles shake off the tree. If only a few fall off the tree, it’s fresh.

3. Check the needles: You should also check the pliability of the needles. The needles on a fresh tree should break in half in your hand and shouldn’t be pliable.

4. If you’re seeing spots, keep looking: If the tree has a musty smell or brown spots, the tree is sick or was cut a long time ago, so move on to the next one.

5. Make sure it will fit the space in your home: Measure your room and bring your measuring tape with you so you don’t pick a tree that’s too big.

If you have success with all this trivial tree stuff, then it’s time to commit. Get that tree and give it a home for the holidays.

David Brown
Mulberry Seed Design