There is nothing better at Christmas than having a real Christmas tree that fills your home with that fantastic pine smell! There is something special about going out as a family and selecting your real tree and then setting it up and decorating it at home.

Once you make the decision to purchase a real tree, here’s how to search for the best one and which type to choose, how to set it up and how to look after it and keep it fresh until after Christmas.

Types of tree

Norway Spruce

  • This is the traditional Christmas tree we see in homes
  • This type of tree has a lovely strong pine smell
  • Norway Spruce grows quickly so is usually cheaper in price

Nordman Fir

  • This type of tree grows slowly so can be slightly more expensive
  • It has minimum needle drop
  • Has thicker leaves for a fuller looking tree


Choosing your tree


Visit your local tree farm or garden centre to find your perfect tree.

For the perfect pick, follow my four Fs!


There are a few ways you can check how fresh a tree is.

  • You can lift it up to check the wait – the heavier it is, the more water it contains meaning it’s going to be fresh
  • You can also bump the tree against the ground. If lots of needles fall off, then it’s a sign the tree isn’t the freshest and you shouldn’t purchase


  • Stand back and look at the tree to make sure it’s full from the bottom all the way to the top, and a well-balanced shape
  • Don’t buy trees that are already netted, check it over first, ensuring there are no gaps


  • You want to make sure the branches don’t go right to the base of the stump to avoid you having to cut branches off the bottom to get it into the stand


  • Make sure you know what size tree you want beforehand
  • Don’t be too ambitious and buy a tree that’s too big, planning to prune it into shape

Tree placement

Remember that these trees grow outside, in the cold so when choosing a position for your tree, be sure to place it away from direct heat such as radiators or fires.

Doing this, and keeping your tree well-watered, will prevent needle drop.


Keeping your tree watered

Christmas Tree from Water

Throughout the festive period, you want to make sure your cut tree is constantly in water.

If the water drops below the base of the tree, the stump will form a seal of dried sap after a few hours and you’ll need to cut a further ½ inch off, which isn’t ideal when it’s covered in tinsels and baubles!

Watering if your tree is in soil

If you have purchased a pot grown tree then you need to ensure you’re watering your tree correctly. Too often and your tree will drown, and too little the branches will turn brown and needles will fall off.

Check the soil in the container every day, it needs to be constantly moist – but not sodden. Christmas trees have a lot of roots so you need to keep an eye on them if you’re getting a real tree.


What to do with your tree after Christmas


After Christmas, you will want to dispose of your tree. Don’t leave it out on the street for months on end! If it’s a tree in a container, you may be able to keep it thriving in (or out) the house.

If you have a tree that was in a tree stand – you can recycle it in many ways. Your local council may have a recycling program. Or there may be a scheme run by a local charity. Have a look online and see what is available in your area before you try to fit it in your bin!

An alternative is to compost your tree. It will take ages to compost, so break it down as much as you can before popping it in your bin and be prepared to wait a while for the whole thing to compost!

For more info on Christmas trees, read this:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: