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BGC's Guide to Choosing the Perfect Christmas Tree


Choosing the perfect Christmas tree with your loved ones marks the start of the festive season. For families, the tree plays a central role in their festive celebrations from decorating to showcasing presents for the big day. The delightful fragrance of the freshly cut pine adds a touch of magic, and opting for a biodegradable tree is an eco-conscious decision. However, with so many sizes and varieties to choose from, picking the ideal one for your home can be a daunting task. Andy Little, British Garden Centres Christmas tree buyer has put together this guide to assist you in selecting the perfect Christmas tree.

Measure your space beforehand

When you visit your local British Garden Centres store to buy a real Christmas tree, keep in mind that trees often appear smaller in the outdoor plant area. To ensure that your tree fits perfectly in your room, measure the height and space of the area where you plan to put it. Remember to consider space for the stand and the tree-top decoration while taking measurements.

Which variety to choose

During Christmas, the Nordmann Fir is one of the most popular Christmas tree types. It has a symmetrical shape, well-spaced branches, soft, glossy, dark green foliage and excellent needle retention, making it an ideal choice for families with children and pets. Your local store will also stock the Norway Spruce which is a more traditional-looking tree that emits a long-lasting fragrance and has plenty of branches, providing ample space for hanging decorations.

We also have in store, the Fraser Fir which is popular due to its needle retention, dark blue-green colour and fresh scent and the Blue Spruce which is an attractive symmetrical tree with attractive blue foliage. All of our trees are pot grown and all come with a decorative pot cover, meaning less root disturbance and a healthier tree after Christmas with a little care, the tree can be planted outside to enjoy year after year.

Our Nordmann’s are also available as cut trees ( available in store from 20th November, please check local centre for details) which can be displayed in a festive stand and Christmas tree skirt.

Picking your tree

When looking to buy your Christmas tree, it's a good idea to give it a gentle shake to see if any needles are falling off. Another thing to look for is the colour of the needles - green and shiny needles are a sign of a fresh and healthy tree while yellowing, loose needles indicate an older tree. Another way to test the health of a cut tree you have chosen is to place your hands halfway up the trunk and lift it off the ground. A heavier tree means it's full of water and fresher than a lighter one.

We also recommend you consider the space between the branches and the decorations you plan to use. If you're looking to add lots of ornaments, a tree with more space between branches may be the best option. However, if you plan only to use lights or tinsel, a fuller tree will give you a denser look. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be on hand to help you select the perfect Christmas tree for your home.

What stand do I need?

It's important to have a sturdy tree stand for your cut tree to ensure your tree stays healthy. Keep in mind that the taller the tree, the wider the stand should be. Choosing a stand that can hold plenty of water will also help you to enjoy the festive season whilst your tree thrives.

Setting up your tree at home

After buying your Christmas tree, it's best to keep it outside for as long as possible before taking it into the house. The first step is to trim 3cm off the trunk, which allows the tree to absorb more water through its fresh cut as it opens up the bark. Once done, put the tree in your stand with some water. Position the tree in an open, well-ventilated area and away from radiators.

Caring for your tree

Real Christmas trees usually last for 4-6 weeks. It's essential to keep your tree hydrated with fresh water to ensure its longevity. When you bring the tree home, it may drink a lot of water in the first few days. Depending on the size of the tree and your central heating settings, it can consume 2-3 pints (1-2 litres) of water per day. After a week, the intake should decrease, and it won't require as much water.

Artificial Trees

As with real trees, we recommend when choosing your artificial one that you measure the space you have available for it.

British Garden Centres has a wide selection of artificial trees to fit in any space and they are available in the following categories:

Plain tree: A classic tree that you can decorate yourself.

LED trees: Say goodbye to tangled wires and hello to an effortless setup with our trees that come with the lights already attached, saving you precious time setting up and more time to enjoy the festivities. Our pre-lit trees feature LED bulbs that are safer, energy-efficient, and longer-lasting than filament bulbs. With mains operation and multi-function light settings, you can create the perfect ambience for your Christmas gatherings.

Decorated trees: If you want to save time on decorating your Christmas tree but still prefer to use your lights, you can opt for one of our pre-decorated trees in your local store. These trees come with pre-attached natural-looking decorations such as rustic woodland berries, pinecones, and classic snow-effect branches. You can leave them as they are or add your ornaments to make them even more festive.

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This story was published on: 10/11/2023

Image attribution: British Garden Centres

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