There may be some good imitators around, but where Christmas trees are concerned, there's nothing like the real thing.
If an artificial (plastic) tree doesn't do it for you and the look and scent of a fresh Fir is your go-to, we have some advice from Christmas tree experts, Pines & Needles and Gardening Express on how to keep your spruce looking sprightly 'til 12th night (6th January). Leave your Christmas tree up any longer and folklore has it that it could bring bad luck.
First things first, is to not put it up too early. Gardening Express advise waiting until the second week of December.
When you buy your tree, ask the seller to saw off the bottom 3cm of the trunk. This creates a fresh cut and opens up the pores in the bark, which otherwise can block up with sap within a few hours of being cut.
The Christmas tree is then able to drink water through these pores via capillary action. (Pines ands Needles do this to their trees so you don’t have to).
Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat dries out your tree faster, so the further from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain.
It will obviously need to be near a power source though, so you can have pretty fairy lights, without trailing cables causing a trip hazard.
Place your tree in shallow water - not soil or sand which would block the pores in the bark. This is best achieved by using a specially designed Christmas tree stand.
Precious hours can be wasted trying to make a Christmas tree stand up straight in an ordinary bucket using just bricks or stones, when they can be easily fixed into a stand.
The unattractive green plastic stands can be disguised with simple brown paper or decorated with Christmas wrap. However, there are some more stylish options around at Etsy.
In a proper Christmas tree stand, it is far more likely to remain upright and stable when you're hanging your baubles too.
KEEP IT TOPPED UP
Keep the Christmas tree stand topped up with water. Your Christmas tree may drink 2-3 pints (1-2 litres) of water per day, depending on its size and your central heating settings, so top it up when you water your house plants.
This is important as once the water level drops below the tree’s trunk, sap will re-seal the bark within a few hours, preventing the tree from drinking any further water even if you then re-fill the Christmas tree stand.
Follow these steps and your fir will stay fresh and fragrant until 12th night.
WHERE TO BUY
Buy living Christmas trees and stands at pinesandneedles.com.
IKEA has also brought back its brilliant real Christmas tree offer again.
Want your Christmas tree delivered? These are the companies that will deliver a real Christmas tree to your door.
Give the rest of your room a festive flourish.