|Christmas is an all-time favorite holiday in the United States, and one of the most popular festivities throughout the rest of the world. Children of all ages find Christmas the one celebration that no one wants to miss. One of the most favorite family traditions is choosing the perfect tree.
The most popular Christmas trees in North America are Balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine, and Eastern white pine. Other lovely trees are Eastern Red Cedar and Noble fir, which are both very aromatic. If you are looking for a sturdy fragrant tree, with a pyramidal shape, you may like Balsam or Douglas fir. On the other hand, if you like a bushy, dense tree with short, long-lasting needles, you may be happy with a Scotch pine. The Eastern white pine is the most fragrant of the pines. Although its slender, blue needles are not sturdy enough to hold heavy Christmas ornaments, it is breathtaking under a cascade of tinsel and tiny white lights.
Choosing the perfect tree is more fun, if you make it a family affair, whether walking through a Christmas tree lot, or heading for a tree farm to cut your own. To make the best tree selection for your family, the National Safety Council and National Christmas Tree Association give the following advice:
Tree Care and Safety Tips:
- A healthy well cared for tree will have few dropped needles. You will want to look for resilience and fragrance, with green needles that do not come off in your hand when you gently pull on them. Needles should not fall, even when the tree is shaken, and branches should not break easily.
- If you desire a freshly cut tree, make an appointment at a Christmas tree farm. Someone is usually available with a chain-saw to cut your chosen tree, or you may decide to cut it yourself. Many families are finding this a rewarding holiday tradition.
- Make Christmas memories last a lifetime by choosing a living tree. Living trees come with the root-ball wrapped in burlap, and they are especially exciting for children. Choose a small tree, that will adapt easily to your soil when you plant it in the spring. Plant your tree in a large container, and decorate it just as you would an ordinary tree. Keep the soil moist. After the holidays, undress your potted tree and place it in a cool, frost-free place, until the ground is soft enough to plant. Do not let the soil dry out.
- Evergreen trees can grow to towering heights, so be sure to plant it at least 50 feet away from the house. Also avoid planting near water lines and any buried power cable. Your utility company will come out and mark where those lines are buried, if you give them 48 hours notice.
- Around 40 million Americans buy fresh trees at Christmas-time. Evergreens are one of the most planet friendly trees, producing high levels of oxygen. For each evergreen cut or dug from the ground, farms plant numerous saplings to take its place. So you are actually helping the environment by buying a tree.
Family tradition and togetherness is precious, so remember that it is not important to accomplish the impossible during the holidays. Quantity will never be as memorable as quality. Choosing the right Christmas tree together will bring joy to everyone. Your children will love the time that you spend with them, making memories that will last a lifetime.
- If you have a cut tree, whether from a lot or cut-your-own, be certain to cut off the lowest branches so that your tree will fit deep into the tree holder reservoir. Also trim the very end of the trunk, at least 1/2 inch. Like any living plant, your tree will then be able to soak up the water that you must continuously give it throughout the holidays.
- Get your tree off to a healthy start, after trimming, by placing it in a bucket of water, at least overnight. You are less likely to have dropped needles or a fire hazard if your tree gets that good, deep first drink.
- Choose a tree-stand that has a deep reservoir for water. Trees can drink a gallon of water a day, so make certain that you keep the basin full throughout the holiday season. Check the water level several times a day, and keep all electrical wires and lights away from the moisture.
- Never leave your Christmas tree lights on overnight or when you are gone from the house. This is a fire hazard. It could mean your life or the lives of those you love.