Tips on Selecting and Installing Christmas Trees

Selecting a Christmas tree is always a fun and family oriented event.  For several years I’ve decorated homes & tree for the holidays and learned a few tips for selecting a good tree.  There is no such thing as an ugly tree, so If the kids choose a Charlie Brown tree, don’t fret, lights and ornaments will have it looking splendid in no time.  Just follow these simple yet important steps.

The fir family is the way to go, Frasier Fir, Balsam Fir, or Douglas Fir all last a couple of weeks longer than a Sand or Spruce pine trees.  Firs also have strong branches for holding lights and ornaments.  When shopping for a tree, check to see if the needles are resilient pick up the tree a several inches off the ground and drop it base end down.  What you’re looking for is very few needles to fall off the tree.  The fewer needles the fresher the tree.

Fri trees

Frasier Furs, the “Cadillac” of Christmas Trees.

Many better tree vendors  will deliver and install trees which is a great service if you live in the city or own a Mini Cooper.  They will also cut the a couple of inches of the butt end of the tree allowing the tree to drink water.  Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.

Cut a few inches off the bottom of the tree.

Cut a few inches off the base of the tree.

Place the tree away from any vent, heat source, or direct sunlight.  Doing so will cause the tree to dry prematurely.   Set a large plastic bag on the floor/carpet or use a plastic tree bag.  this will not only protect your floors from any drips when watering but will make clean ups easy too.  The bag will be hidden by the tree skirt. Remember to position the tree so is best side is visible.

tree bag

Tree bags help protect your floors and make clean up a snap.

I like to display my tree in a large basket.  To achieve this simply set the tree a small bucket with a couple of  bags of gravel.  You (or your installer) will have to remove several of the lower tree limbs.

tree stands

Tree stands can vary as much as your imagination.

A very important step is to secure the tree.  Kitty Poo Poo may be long in the teeth or Fido may the best trained dog on earth, but trees fall!   I have gone to many homes to “fix” a fallen tree, because it was not secured.  To do this simply run a medium gauge wire around the trunk (approximately midway up) of the tree and twist the wire together.  Loop the other end trough an eye hook, anchored into a window frame or crown molding (or any place that will hold a hook) and twist that end together.  This easy step may save you from hours of misery.

And finally: water the tree!  Fresh cut trees can drink almost a gallon of water the first day.  I use hot water (yes hot) to open the tree pores.   I also pour Spirt (about a cup) in the water.  I’ve heard it helps the tree stay fresh.  I don’t know if it works but it’s become a bit of a tradition.  If your tree dries out, remove it from the house!


2 thoughts on “Tips on Selecting and Installing Christmas Trees

  1. Hi, Benji –
    Thanks for all the tips. Hot water? I never knew that. Makes sense. I have heard of sprite / 7-up for fresh cut flowers. Hope you have a wonderful and merry Christmas!
    Cheers from DC,

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