Finding a Christmas Tree…No Longer the First Pain of Christmas!

A Christmas Tree in Old Lyme (WTNH/ Report It/ Roberta Velez)

This weekend is the weekend more people head out to Christmas tree farms around Connecticut to choose the perfect Christmas tree than any other weekend of the holiday season.

It’s prime time to head to the farm and pick out the perfect Christmas tree, which is a task some people dread because of all of the pains that go along with a Christmas tree.  So, let’s take a look at some of the most mistakes folks make preparing for and choosing their perfect tree, and how you can avoid one of the pains of Christmas.

Before even heading out to the Christmas tree farm, after deciding where your tree will go, get out the tape measure.  Measure the height of the ceiling.  Not knowing how tall their ceiling is is one of the most common mistakes people make when preparing to get the tree, often resulting in a tree that is too tall and has to be trimmed again, causing a mess and aggravation, says Christopher Koppel, the sales manager at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden.  Another thing many folks often forget is to also measure the horizontal space available for a tree.  Most Christmas trees are about 80% wide as they are tall, so a 10-foot tree be 8 feet wide.  Make sure the tree you choose won’t be too wide for the space you’ve chosen in your home.

It’s also a good idea to call the tree farm ahead of time to check their business hours, and to see if they provide saws for you to use.  Many tree farms provide saws, but not all do.

You’ll also be outside for a while searching around a farm for your tree before cutting it down, and winds can be pretty brisk this time of year, so make sure you wear warm, comfortable clothes and sturdy boots that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Koppel also strongly advises that you bring a buddy along to get your tree.  He says cutting a fresh tree “is much easier if you have somebody gently pulling on the tree so [the saw] doesn’t bind up as you’re sawing the tree down.”

After trucking the tree up the hill to your car, if you are going to put it on your roof, place an old blanket on the roof of the car, under the tree.  This will keep sap off the car, and prevent the branches and needles from scratching the roof.

Many tree farms will put your tree on your roof for you, but if you’re doing it yourself, make sure the bottom of the tree faces forward and that you tie twine both around the tree and onto your vehicle.

When you get your perfect tree home, make sure you have a tree stand sturdy enough for the size and weight of your tree.

And, once the holiday season is over and it’s time to get rid of your Christmas tree, check your options.  Many towns and cities offer Christmas tree pickup services, so check with your Town Hall to find out if your town offers this service, and when it is offered.  If not, many tree farms will take your old tree and grind it up for compost to nourish new trees and plants.

 

Here are some more tips to keep your Christmas holiday more annoyance-free once the tree is in your home:

-Be careful not to add too many heavy ornaments; can make tree top-heavy and unstable.

-When placing decorations near the top of the tree where a ladder or stepstool is needed, set up the ladder and stool according to instructions, and always have a second person spotting.

-Use LED Christmas lights…use less energy, and are much cooler.  Select only UL certified light kits.

-If using incandescent lights, select only lights certified by UL or equivalent agency for use on live trees…be careful not to overload the electrical circuit.

-Place the tree away from any sources of heat, e.g. fireplaces, holiday candles, heat registers, radiators, etc.).

-Keep the tree well watered; use a stand that provides a continuous supply of water, or check and top-up the water several times a day.

-Always turn the lights off when you go to bed.

-Once the tree starts to show signs of drying out, it’s time to dispose of it.

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