Picking out a Christmas tree is one of the most classic Christmas traditions there is. While the time to head to the tree farm only comes around once a year, it's a memory to be remembered for decades. Don't let a sad tree become reality. Learn the right way to pick a Christmas tree that'll last throughout the holiday season.
Each tree species is a little different, so to find the best Christmas tree for your family, you need to match it to the needs and wants of your household. For example, if you have children, you might lean toward pines or firs with soft needles instead of spruce trees, which have sharp needles that can hurt when you step on them.
First, check the trunk of the tree. The trunk should have a slight stickiness to it. Bend a needle in half with your fingers; fresh firs should snap, while fresh pines bend and should not break.
To find the best Christmas tree that will last the longest, gently grab the inside of a branch and pull your hand toward you. The needles should stay on the tree. Alternatively, gently tap the cut end of a tree on the ground; if a few needles fall off, it should be fine. If a lot of needles fall off, keep searching for a different tree.
Related: Types of Christmas Trees
Some types of Christmas trees will go from deep, rich green to a dull gray-green if they get too dried out. Err on the side of caution and stick with a "greener is better" mindset.
Once you get the Christmas tree home, take proper care of the trunk. Cut off about a half inch from the bottom of the tree's trunk (or ask the Christmas tree lot to do this for you). The fresh cut will absorb more water, so your tree holds its needles and keeps its color longer. Put the tree in water as quickly as you can after making the cut.
There's nothing worse than picking out the best Christmas tree on the lot, getting it home, and finding out it's too tall for your room. Before you leave home, measure both your ceiling height and the height of your Christmas tree stand so you don't have to recut the tree when you get home.
As tempting as it may be to place the tree next to a fireplace, know that heat sources—including a heating vent—will cause your tree to dry out faster. Place your tree in a cool and dry spot.
To keep your Christmas tree looking perfect, keep the water in your tree stand filled all the time. You may need to add water two or even three times the first few days.