Real or fake? That, is the question. If you opt for a real Christmas tree, you may have a lot of questions. Supermarket bargain or choose-your-own? How close to Christmas should you pick your Christmas tree so that it looks its best? Will a real tree drop needles? And of course, how should you decorate your tree?
With all these questions, we decided to come up with our ultimate real Christmas tree guide to make picking your Christmas tree a fun, festive day out.
To make sure you've got the best advice out there, we've teamed up with Mark Sage, Christmas Tree Buyer at Wyevale Garden Centres; when it comes to Christmas trees, Mark is no stranger to eyeing up the best tree and spotting what to look out for and what to avoid!
That's why he's given us seven top tips to keep in mind before you journey out to buy your local real Christmas tree this year. Take a look below to make sure you're in the know.
And when you've made your choice, don't forget to check out our guide to the best Christmas tree toppers on the market this year!
Take a good look
"Try to find a tree that has already had the netting removed for display, this allows you to see the shape and be confident that the tree has been looked after," Mark says. "If the tree gets left in netting, it can start forming a micro climate, where the centre will warm up, subsequently leaving them more prone to needle drops and shortening the lifespan."
Check out those needles
Mark says: "The tree's needles should be a dark green instead of a pale, washed out shade. They should also be waxy to the touch, and not feel dry. Try stroking the tree so you can see how easily the needles come off."
Types of Christmas tree
Are you worried about needle-dropping? Mark recommends choosing a variety of tree that is known for retaining its needles – for instance, the Nordman Fir."
Give it a soak
"If you're looking for a hack to keep your tree fresher for longer, chop or saw a few centimetres off the bottom and soak it in a bucket of water outside, for overnight or as long as possible before bringing it inside," Mark says.
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Keep it moist
"After bringing your real Christmas tree inside, be sure to fill the stand with water - this will let you keep on feeding the needles."
Keep it cool
Mark recommends keeping your tree out of any direct sunlight, draughts and heat from radiators and fireplaces – this will mean it doesn't dry out which would shorten its life. Another tip: try using LED tree lights. It emits less heat and will be better for the environment too.
Lead image courtesy of Wyevale Garden Centres