Preparing for Christmas can be time consuming and energy draining but before you go on the hunt for your Christmas tree, why not ease the stress by doing some research into achieving the best buy this year before being presented with tree after tree.
Some of the key factors when looking for a Christmas tree are:
Type of tree – Pot grown or freshly cut?
Height – Make sure that the tree will fit nicely height wise into the room selected; carefully taking into account the ornament that will sit on top of the tree. One year I bought a tree that was so big, I had to saw half of it down to get it into my living room!
Base – This is one of the most important factors, ensure that the trunk of the tree will fit into the base securely (circumference and length) and also that the base is strong enough to hold the tree you are looking at. Sometimes taking the base with you tree shopping will help plus make sure the base of the tree is straight.
Needles and freshness – If clean-up is on your mind, you may be better off going for a Pine as this will shed a lot less needles than Spruces and Firs, these will lose needles much more readily.
Be sure to have an overall green tree with very little brown, run your hands along the branches to establish freshness and needle shed. Needles should not fall off in your hand in large amounts. Please make sure branches are sturdy enough to hold decorations.
Shape – Look for a tree with slightly shorter branches as you do not want your ornaments to get lost behind the needles! You should also look for a tree that is full all the way round; there is nothing worse than a lop-sided tree!
There are many different types of trees and these can be researched online or perhaps the retailer will be able to assist. This page will prove very helpful when looking for a tree: http://www.bctga.co.uk/
Health and safety:
Always use a step ladder when decorating the very top of your tree if you have decided on a tall tree; make sure all decorations are put up safely.
Do not put any candles by the tree or place it near a fire place.
Test all lights and wiring before decorating the tree, accidents happen.
Using Mistletoe and glass ornaments are very dangerous where children are involved, Mistletoe berries are poisonous and should not be ingested, please take precautions and place both out of the reach of troublesome toddlers and pets.
All lights on the tree should be off when you are not around, this can prevent house fires.
Firstly, I have heard people suggest that when using a real tree you should stand it upon a ground sheet, blankets may also work if you don’t have a ground sheet to hand. Cover the sheet in presents and decorations so not to detract from the tree itself. When it comes to cleaning up, the majority of discarded needles will be safely on the sheet. Once removing the tree, shake out the needles in the flower beds and voila!
Remember to wrap glass ornaments carefully. Save unwanted wrapping and use this to safely wrap the ornaments, giving them a good cushioning. Sturdy boxes and dividers are great for storing these; you can use unwanted boxes and pieces of cardboard to create your very own storage box.
If you have a freshly cut tree, remember to break off some of the branches as these could be very useful in the garden when creating mulch and is great for compost heaps.
If you find that you are struggling to get the needles out from the carpet or they are placed so that the vacuum cleaner cannot reach - just
wrap your hand in duct tape, using this hand pat the affected area! Quick and easy to do this will save you a lot of time while tidying up!
Visit the British Christmas Tree Growers Association website, www.bctga.co.uk and check out local growers for a really fresh tree.
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