Why Buy an Evergreen for Your Christmas Tree?
Below is a tongue-in-cheek guide, but the basic facts are true.
- An evergreen tree smells wonderful – it makes your home smell like Christmas.
- It is environmentally friendly – unless you’re like my hubby who called it “kill a tree for Jesus” (LOL)
- It is a great way to support local businesses – unless of course you live on your own acreage as we did when our kids were little and then your tree was FREE
What Kind of Evergreen Do You Want
Here is a great overview:
In the US there are 35 different species of evergreens, although each region will have their own. Here are the most popular varieties:
Visiting the Tree Farm
Want to know where the tree farms are in your area? Visit ChristmasTree.org.
Things to bring:
- measurements of the space where you want to put the tree – height and width
- measuring tape
- strips of curling ribbon to flag trees you like during the selection process
- gloves for handling the tree
- bungee cords and/or rope to secure the tree to the car
- Tarp or blanket to put under the tree to protect your vehicle
- hot chocolate or a picnic to make it a celebration
- camera to take photos of the big event
Tree Farm Tips:
- Everyone chooses a tree closer to the parking lot so they don’t have to drag/carry as far, so if you’re at the tree farm today you’ll probably want to walk deeper into the farm to bypass the picked-over trees.
- Give the tree a little shake. If the needles are falling off easily, move on.
- Bend the needles on the tree. You should have difficulty breaking them. If there’s brown ones, that’s not your tree.
- Feel the trunk of the tree. It should be sticky to the touch.
- Look at the tip of the tree. Is it going to be difficult for your tree topper to sit on top?
- Look closely at the bottom of the tree before cutting – make sure it will stand straight.
- When cutting your tree at the farm, leave a long piece of stump. You then have more choice of height when you get it home, and you should always trim the sappy seal on the base and cut off the bottom branches before putting it in warm water to keep it green longer.
- Don’t let the cut surface of the trunk be exposed to air for more than 3-6 hours. The tree stays healthy longer and is safer for use in your home.
How to Choose an Evergreen that’s the Right Height
How many times have you picked a tree that you thought was the right size only to find it was way too tall or too big? When you’re looking for an evergreen outside the landscape dwarfs the tree until you bring it in the house.
So many times my hubby had to saw a chunk off the bottom of the tree after he’d already spent his energy cutting it down because it looked so much smaller in the great outdoors. And we had 22′ vaulted ceilings!
Here is a simple trick to measure the height of the tree before you chop it down.
- Measure the height of one of the children before you leave home. (Or if your family is like ours you’ll have to measure them all!)
- Bring a short, thin item with you when you go scouting for the tree – a toothpick or a wooden match (Or you can use your thumb)
- When you find the tree you want have the child stand beside it
- Back away until the toothpick or match is the same height as the child when looking from a distance.
- How many “toothpicks” high is the tree?
- Multiply the number of toothpicks by the measurement of the child to determine how tall the tree is.
This gets the kids to be participants rather than spectators.
How to Safely Attach Your Tree to Your Car Roof
Packing a Simple Winter Picnic
When our children were little, we lived in a rural area on 10 acres of land so we would make a party of trudging through the snow and choosing the perfect Christmas tree.
I’d bundle up the kiddies, save the mitts from the dog who would pull them off in all the excitement, and put the darlings in their sleigh if they were too little to walk.
Off we’d go in search of the most beautiful Christmas tree.
Every year I’d pack a little picnic of hot chocolate in a large thermos with Christmas paper cups, sandwiches cut into Christmas shapes with cookie cutters and an assortment of Christmas cookies that we made together earlier in the week.
Watching dad chop down the tree was fascinating to the boys but a little boring to my daughter. (When the boys got older they helped dad with their little hatchets to give him “a break”.) This is where the picnic comes in.
They all have to watch from a safe distance – designated by the placing of the picnic blanket where they must stay until the tree is down.
When they get bored of watching the chopping action, snowball fights and making snowmen and snow angels they have a tea party. (The tea party/picnic also keeps the dog from running off and worrying the kids!)
My grandmother made me a quilt many years ago that we use for all our picnics, and doubles to keep the kids warm on the way home if the journey has taken longer than anticipated.
Of course, if you can go big – why not?
If you are on your own property (or a friend or relative’s property) have a little campfire or bonfire.
It’ll keep everyone warm, is very romantic when it’s just the two of you or a blast when it’s the whole family.
Some years it was way too cold to stay outside to enjoy the picnic so we would rush the choosing/chopping of the tree and have the picnic indoors in front of the fireplace while dad put it in the tree stand.
Discusses how to set up the tree when you get it home, and how to inspect the tree for dryness while its set up.
Make a day of getting your tree. It has to sit and defrost before you can decorate it anyway, so just picking the tree is enough to celebrate for today.