Whether you want to buy a cut tree, get one in a container so that you can plant it outside or purchase an artificial tree, choosing a Christmas tree is part of the festive experience.
In 1841 Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria brought a tree over from Germany and set it up in Windsor Castle. Real Christmas trees have remained popular ever since. So like every year, you are going to choose a Christmas tree and thus make the happiness of everyone. You can of course decorate indoor plants, walls, or create an original tree with recycled materials.
If the decoration is important and it is a real joy to share with family, friends or colleagues, you will be very eager to choose a perfect Christmas tree!
Different types of Christmas trees to choose from
The UK’s most popular Christmas tree is the Nordman fir which has excellent needle retention and foliage which is quite soft to the touch. Its popularity means it can be in short supply. The Spruce or Picea abies was until then the traditional Christmas tree, but the robustness of the Nordmann and especially the fact that it does not lose its needles have made it a favourite tree to pick.
Even if it is just fragrant, it is one of the values of Christmas!
There are also other interesting and somewhat lesser known varieties:
- Omorika, appreciated for its silver reflections.
- Nobilis with bluish reflections.
- Korean with green and silver foliage.
- Grandis characterized by its density and the fragrance it releases.
- A Pungens which needles are long, spicky and very fragrant.
Different ways to buy and choose a Christmas tree
A Christmas tree cut at the base of the trunk
It is the most widespread form, certainly because it is the most practical and less bulky.
- Ideal when you live in a flat.
- Enables easy transport.
- Can be attached to a log cut into 2 and pierced with a hole of the same diameter as a base of the tree.
- Cannot be replanted in the garden.
A fir in a container
This is the only tree that can be replanted in the garden and it is often for this reason that we choose it.
- Bulkier to carry, it is nevertheless easy to place in your house.
- Can be watered, and thus loses less needles.
- Can be replanted in the garden according to the advice given at the bottom of this page.
Christmas trees are grown specifically for Christmas. They are the subject of specific care: acidic lands in altitude, light soil and weeded in order not to jeopardize the growth of the lower branches, they are cut to size manually to cast off high branches and get the symbolic conical shape of the Christmas tree.
Choose between a living or artificial Christmas tree
A natural Christmas tree has the advantage to be respectful of our planet. Apart from the fact that we have to transport it back at home, it is produced for its use at Christmas.
- It grew up in a natural environment.
- It helped promote the ecosystem.
- It is 100% biodegradable.
‘Artificial’ trees use materials from the oil industry and whether during the manufacturing or recycling, it is made with non-renewable materials and therefore polluting our Earth. They are freighted long distances to the consumer. Most people renew their artificial trees every 3 years which is not very eco-friendly!
Is it harmful to cut young firs for Christmas?
No because it is not “deforestation” as these are trees from forests cultivated by man and exclusively intended for Christmas.
Look after your Christmas tree
A good, non-drop Christmas tree should last for several weeks if you take care of it propertly. Try to buy a good quality water-holding Christmas tree stand and keep it topped up. Use fresh water only – don’t add anything to it. It is a good idea to cut half an inch from the base of the trunk to allow the tree to take up water before putting up your tree. Finally position the tree away from sources of heat.
Some Christmas decorations are to be avoided: do not hang too heavy balls or figurines, which may damage (or break) the branches of your tree. Candles are to be avoided, the branches of fir trees are highly flammable…
Artificial snow is also to avoid because it is harmful. If you want to “cover” your Christmas tree there is a cheap solution: Sprinkle it with flour!
Another idea: cut an orange into slices, let them dry a few days, thread a ribbon for fastening to the branches. You can also pick up some small pine cones and hang them with a ribbon attached at the top.
Replant your Christmas tree in your garden
Yes, if you bought it in a container and therefor has its roots. It is quite possible to put in the ground after Christmas.
Nevertheless it’s advisable to place your tree in a glasshouse after Christmas so it gets used to the weather conditions.
Plant it just after Christmas and preferably outside periods of frost.
Replanting your tree and using it the following year is a great gesture for the environment.
Recycle your Christmas tree
It is very important, after use, to recycle your tree, local autorities usually have facilities to this effect;there are tree collection in some areas so that your old tree will end up as compost or wood chippings. Don’t let your tree be one of the 90% which ends up in landfill!