So which team are you in? The real tree enthusiast or the fake tree evangelist? I only pose the question because we put ours up at the weekend (image right) as it was the first weekend in December. Plus a recent press release from my colleagues at Ambius about having the perfect Christmas tree got me thinking if I’d made the right decision this year…
Ambius have offered some top tips for keeping real trees alive, most of which I used to do. I say used to, because until this year I have always been in the real tree enthusiasts group. The smell of a pine tree when you come into the house is so evocative of Christmas. I love it!
However, a few weeks ago off I went and bought a faux “6 foot pine with snow tipped branches”. Why the change of heart after years and years of having a real tree? Mainly because of the one year old I have at home – he is into everything, and his Dad and I figured there would be less damage to a fake tree when (not if!) he pulls it over. Also, I won’t have to worry about him eating the needles. Plus there won’t be the usual mess on 6th January when it comes down, with pine needles being found for months afterwards. Or the repetitive cost each year. Or the bugs.
Yes, the bugs. We have always bought our tree from the local Christmas Tree Farm. Whereas my parents would leave it outdoors for a day or two to let the bugs drop off, I forgot about this part of the process and so it came indoors straight after purchase. The following morning we had bugs-a-plenty crawling about the living room floor. There were some odd-looking beetles, several woodlice and spiders. Lots of spiders. And you know how much I hate them and other pests such as wasps!
So with the tree all sparkly and decorated, here are Ambius’ top tips for the perfect Christmas tree:
- Use the same colour palette for decorations to create a modern appearance. (Well our tree decs are definitely NOT of one colour. They are brought from places we have been on holiday, made – porcelain hand decorated tree right near the top was made by a very enthusiastic 2 yr old at the time.)
- A living tree is ideal â€“ if you water it, you can re-pot it and have a tree ready to use next Christmas. (Great idea, more eco-friendly and cost efficient than binning and buying a new one each year.)
- Don’t dismiss replica trees because you love the scent of a real tree â€“ there are Christmas scents available. (Aha, this point solves a big problem for me regarding fake trees.)
- A real Nordman Fir or Scots pine are good options as they tend to drop less needles. Make sure the branches show no signs of stress (such as brown needles) and are soft and flexible. (We always picked one with thick needles for precisely that reason.)
- Keep your tree cool outside, preferably undercover and in water until you are ready to bring it indoors. (Ahem, you learn from your mistakes.)
- Remove 2cm off the base to aid water absorption – so less needles will drop. (Oops, never did this specifically. Bottom was only sawn off if it was too tall for our living room.)
- Make sure the stand has enough room to add water. (We always kept our trees watered, definitely helped keep the needles attached for longer.)
- Place the base of the tree in a large plastic bag and disguise with presents â€“ then lift over the tree when it’s ready to be recycled, catching any needles in the process. (Hmm, wish I’d known about this idea, its fab!)
- Homes are hot places for trees so to give your tree as much life as possible, keep it away from radiators or fireplaces. (Well, the only place suitable for our tree has always been next to the radiator, hopefully the draught from the old badly sealed patio doors compensated!)
So there we some pros and cons for real and artificial trees. Any others missing from the list? Which team do you support? Team fake or team real?