With Christmas on the way, you might find yourself in the market for a new tree. But, with more options available than ever before, which is the best for your home?
Here in the UK, the Christmas tree industry does a huge trade at this time of year, with seven million real trees and two million artificial models purchased (BCTGA figures). If you need a new tree for your home, I've put together my four essential tips that you should consider so you're not left with something that's of poor quality or the wrong style. Give them a read before you start shopping.
Should you buy artificial or the real deal?
This is the first decision you will need to make before you can start looking for your tree. A healthy, beautifully decorated real tree can capture the essence of the festive season like no other, and their natural scent is something a lot of people love. However, they can be the wrong choice if you want something low maintenance, as you will have to clean up loose needles and the tree will have to be disposed of, unless you buy one that is pot grown.
The alternative is an artificial tree, which can provide you with a no fuss option that also offers more value for money. If you're looking for a particular tree to match your décor, you'll find more versatility in a replica, as they're available in a wider range of styles. Production techniques have come a long way too, so you don’t have to worry about them looking inferior to the real thing. On the other hand, buying an artificial tree is less environmentally friendly than getting a real one, as the growing of genuine trees helps to keep C02 levels down.
Choose the right spot and size to suit
The next thing you need to do after deciding on a type of tree is to work out what size you will need for your home. The first step is to choose the right spot: if you want a large tree, you'll need somewhere with plenty of space, while if you'd prefer something smaller you will want to avoid a place that dwarfs your decorations. Many people like to opt for a corner of their living room, a front window, or even in their hallway, but the choice is completely yours.
For the next bit, you will need a tape measure. Record the width and height of your chosen location and be sure to bring these measurements along when you go tree shopping. If you want an artificial tree, you're in for an easy job as their dimensions are typically listed on the label or box, but a real tree usually needs to be sized up, so you'll need your tape measure again.
Time your purchase right (if you want a real tree)
Real trees need to be purchased at just the right time so that they are in the best of health. A cut tree can last around 8 weeks with the right maintenance, so be sure to bear this in mind when you're shopping. Look out for trees that seem limp or have dull green foliage as they might not go the distance.
You can also buy potted Christmas trees, which have a full set of roots within their container, that can be re-planted outdoors once the festivities are over. These trees can make a nice addition to a garden in the New Year, but you will need to make sure they are well watered and kept away from heat to preserve them while indoors.
Consider how you want your tree to look
Another thing to consider before making a final decision on your tree is how you want it to look. For example, if you want a warm, homely feel, then a more eclectic strategy can be taken towards decoration. Here, you can make use of a full variety of decorations that don't all need to match to create a truly individual design. This is a popular choice for families or grandparents who have a lot of items with a sentimental value they like to hang up on their tree.
If you'd prefer a tree with a more modern look, you will probably want to adopt a bit of minimalism and go for a smaller number of matching decorations. Artificial trees can work particularly well with this style, as you can buy them with a particular colour, shape, or even pre-installed lighting to match your tastes. Go for this look if you want a tree in-keeping with contemporary décor.
What you choose will most likely come down to personal choice, but there is a whole range of looks that you can go for. Consider my tips and you will be well on the way to buying the perfect tree for your home.