How To Choose A Christmas Tree

I just read an article that suggested that my method of selecting a Christmas tree is totally wrong. So, I did some research since we’re about to head to the Christmas tree lot. Here is pretty much every tip on the internet I found regarding how to choose a fresh, already-cut Christmas tree.

The Snap Test

If you’re considering a fir tree, take a green needle from the tree and bend it between your fingers. If it snaps like a fresh carrot, the tree is fresh. If it bends, it’s not. We usually buy Douglas Fir trees and I actually thought if it snapped this meant the tree is dry! Not so, say the experts. If the tree is a pine, then yes the needles should bend and not snap. The snap test depends on the type of tree.

The Smell Test

Crush some needles to release the smell. If it smells musty or like mildew, pass on the tree. Crushed needles should smell like fresh pine (obviously).

The Drop Test

If you pick up the tree by it’s trunk and give it a drop from a few inches in the air, excessive green needles should not shake off. A few will, no doubt, and that’s normal. Even if a few brown needles fall to the ground, don’t sweat it. Excessive is the key word.

The Branch Test

Grab a branch and run your hand over the needles. If a ton come off, the tree is not fresh.

Inspect The Christmas Tree Trunk

Look for dryness or discoloration on the trunk. While you’re at it, check for excessive loss of needles. All are obviously bad.

Christmas Tree Color

Look for signs of brown needles. Some trees are actually colored prior to arriving at the lots, which is common practice. Don’t be afraid to ask your tree lot about this. And, if your tree has a blue tint, it might be in the process of wilting.

Last year, my biggest mistake was not measuring the space my tree was supposed to fit in. In a moment of weakness, I OK’d an enormous tree. It wound up fine, but a few inches wider would not have been good.

Please share any other Christmas tree tips here!

*Photo credit: istockphoto/oksun70

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  1. January 11, 2015 at 12:38 am — Reply

    We selected a Grand Fir for our nest this year and couldn't be happier. Yes, we did the test and the aroma reminded me of grapefruit….so yummy! Happy Nesting.

  2. November 29, 2011 at 10:34 am — Reply

    Great info! We are probably going to pick out a tree this weekend and I really needed to read this:) I hate it when we bring home a tree and it is dead within a week!

    • November 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm — Reply

      That happened to us two years ago. We called and they exchanged the tree! Let me tell you what a total hassle that was with the decorations and all!

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