When to buy your real Christmas tree – and how to choose

  • Do buy early. All Christmas trees are felled at the same time, so there is no point in delaying.
  • Do think twice before buying from a pop-up tree seller. They’ll disappear as fast as they appear, so you won’t be able to return dodgy goods.
  • Do measure the room heightbefore you go out – and don’t forget the extra room the stand takes. Your tree has to fit!

The major garden centre chains started to sell Christmas trees in late November and, although many will consider this too early to buy a tree, the truth is that it’s a case of the earlier the better.

“There’s no benefit at all from waiting into December,” warns David Mitchell, Wyevale Garden Centre’s Christmas tree expert. According to Mitchell this is because all the trees get cut at the same time, in early-November; their distribution is then drip-fed over the following weeks. It is therefore better to get there early and start caring for and feeding your tree, rather than letting it sit on a pile with all the others, yearning for the water it needs to stay healthy.

On the BCTGA website, you can put in your postcode and find your local Christmas tree farm, along with the types that they stock. Pop-up Christmas tree sellers will also be out in force during the coming weeks, but it is generally wise to go with a BCTGA member who will be available to help you out should you encounter any future problems with your tree. 

You should be looking for a British-grown tree as its carbon footprint will be substantially less than one that has been transported from mainland Europe. Importantly, it will also be fresher.

Room height is very important. “A lot of people can get carried away and get something too big for the space and forget that the stand adds an extra 20cm at the bottom,” says Mitchell. “It’s quite an easy mistake to make and you might find that you have to cut the top off, which then gives you a conundrum in terms of where are you going to put the fairy.”

Generally speaking, people look for one of two shapes: tall or wide. The wide, bushy types are more popular in continental Europe, especially in Germany, the Christmas tree’s home. Here in the UK, we are more into tall and slim, possibly due to the fact the average home size is four metres squared smaller.

The slimmer profile also lets more light shine through the tree branches. And, with Christmas baubles getting ever heavier, they can hold decoration all the way up to the top branches.

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