The main attribute of the New Year is a Christmas tree. At the end of December, markets and shops are filled with forest beauties: big and small, artificial and real, green and any other colors. There are even designer ones that do not look like conifers at all. With such a variety, you need to know how to choose a Christmas tree so that it really pleases all holidays, and even several years. Separately, we will talk about the peculiarities of choosing live trees and what to pay attention to when ordering in an online store or buying an artificial New Year’s product in a supermarket. No less important is where exactly you will put the Christmas tree.
Live Christmas tree
No matter how beautiful and practical artificial trees are, there are no fewer lovers of real ones, which is not surprising, because a green forest guest is both a part of nature and a tribute to traditions, and the same coniferous aroma that, along with tangerines, creates a New Year’s atmosphere. Of course, it was not without disadvantages, but most of them can be avoided if you know how to choose a live Christmas tree and what to pay attention to when buying.
Choosing a place and taking measurements
First, you need to decide where to put the Christmas tree, and determine the expected height and width in advance. The fact is that it is not so easy to estimate the dimensions by eye. In large rooms or in an open space, objects seem smaller than they really are, so a tree that looked neat and compact may not fit in the corner reserved for it at home.
It is advisable to go to the bazaar with your roulette. Of course, the law requires having similar tools at every point of sale, but it’s better to be safe – at least you won’t have to wait for your turn if the market is crowded. In addition, the help of a friend will not hurt, since it is very inconvenient to measure a Christmas tree alone, and the seller is sometimes distracted by other buyers.
Types of Christmas trees
An ordinary forest spruce is considered a traditional holiday decoration, but with the available variety, you can count on something else. For example, a plant in a pot is a great option for those who want a real tree, but have no desire to take an indirect part in deforestation.
Christmas trees in pots are sold in specialized stores and come in different types and sizes (except for very tall ones), so it will not be difficult to choose a specimen for the room. True, it will have to be cared for, and then planted in open ground anyway, since the tree will grow in any case.
If the choice fell on a plant in a pot, then when buying, it is necessary to find out its type, features of care and cultivation. It is good if the seller has a manual with all the necessary information.
As for already felled trees, you can find:
- Spruce. The most common option, which is also considered the most budget, but the statement about the price is only partially true. Specimens grown in less than ideal conditions have thin branches and an asymmetrical crown, which is why they are inexpensive, and the price tag for fluffy, sprawling beauties from the nursery is more significant. There is only one drawback of Christmas trees – they do not tolerate dry apartment air well and crumble after 8-10 days. But there are more advantages, and they consist of a coniferous aroma, moderate resinousness and availability – so many trees are harvested before the holidays that even on December 31 you can find a quite pretty forest beauty;
- Pine. It is usually cheaper than Christmas trees because it is easier and faster to grow. At the same time, the branches are always arranged symmetrically, the crown is formed more evenly, and the needles are long and fluffy, so it is easier to find a beautiful lush tree. Among other advantages, it should be noted a stronger aroma, non-prickly needles and durability – pine not only lasts for almost two weeks, but also practically does not fall off. There is only one minus – abundant release of resin. It can even drip from the branches, so it is better not to put a tree over carpets;
- Fir. This is the most expensive and beautiful option. The plant has a symmetrical crown and lush needles that almost do not prick and do not fall off. The resin content is moderate, the stability is at least two weeks, but in terms of smell, fir is inferior to its competitors.
Best time to buy
There are two popular points of view about visiting the bazaar: go there in advance or wait until the last. The first opinion is based on the belief that all Christmas trees are harvested at about the same time, so you have to hurry for the most beautiful one. And so that it does not crumble before Christmas, do not put it in the room right away, but store it on a cold balcony for several days.
The second point of view is more optimistic: the times of scarcity have passed, so there will be enough evergreen forest beauties for everyone. And since in the last two days merchants are already trying to sell their goods as much as possible, there is a chance to buy the main attribute of the holiday at a good discount.
Both approaches have their own logic, so none of them can be called more correct. Yes, indeed, the closer to January, the smaller the choice, but it is unlikely that the city bazaars will run out of beautiful Christmas trees by December 30. Smart sellers do not seek to immediately exhibit all worthy specimens and distribute them between trading days, focusing on demand.
Probably, the ideal option would be to buy a tree 3-4 days before the holiday: that way it will have time to acclimatize on the balcony and stand still until the old New Year. But it is better to go to the bazaar earlier – in the morning, the selection is larger, and it is more convenient to browse.
Points of sale
Common stores do not sell cut trees, as it is undesirable for them to be in a heated room, but there are several other places where you can buy them:
- hypermarkets, in the range of which there are goods for the home. There are departments with indoor plants, including Christmas trees in tubs, and for New Year’s holidays, they also bring cut down ones. So that they do not lose moisture and dry out prematurely, they are sold in an open area next to the store. Such hypermarkets, as a rule, work with good suppliers, so there is every chance to find a beautiful tree of the right size;
- Christmas markets. Before the holidays, several such points, which have the status of official markets, are opened in the cities. This means that all goods are of legitimate origin, and the seller will provide proof of purchase. Bazaars start working after December 20 (although different regions have their own dates), and close late in the evening on the 31st, so that even those who work until the winner even on the last day of the year will have time to walk through the rows. True, you will probably have to look for a beautiful Christmas tree;
- mini markets. They occur in sleeping areas, near bus stops or shops, which is very convenient for people living nearby. Unfortunately, most often such outlets are illegal, but determining their legitimacy will not be difficult. First, external attributes are necessary: cash registers, price tags on each tree, a sign with the name and phone number of the FOP, as well as the name of the mini-market (coordinated with the district administration). Secondly, the seller must have a trade permit and a contract with the supplier (a photocopy with the stamp and signature of the FOP is also suitable);
- Internet resources. It is easiest to order a Christmas tree online after discussing all the details with the manager. Of course, it will not be possible to inspect the purchase on the spot, but modern means of communication easily solve such a problem. The only downside of online stores is the high price, but they order their goods from proven suppliers, including foreign ones, so it always has excellent quality;
- forestry This is an option for true romantics, as you will have to find and cut the Christmas tree yourself. The point is that in the natural environment, trees grow everywhere, including places where they should not be: along roads, oil and gas pipelines, under power lines. It happens that you just need to thin out the forest area so that the soil does not run out. When private individuals take permission to harvest Christmas trees, they are sent to such areas. According to a similar scheme in forestry, you can get a felling ticket for one tree, and then find and cut down the specimen you like in the specified place. In this case, the Christmas tree will be cheaper than anything else, but it takes a lot of time to get it.
Evaluation before purchase
The bazaar is like a coniferous forest and it is not surprising to get lost here, but knowing how to choose a Christmas tree, you can save time and bring home a real forest beauty. The main task is to find the most attractive and fresh copy.
The appearance is evaluated individually: one needs thick needles, and the other prefers short needles and a large space between the branches. If the main symbol of the New Year will stand next to the wall, then it makes sense to pay attention to the one-sided Christmas tree – maybe you can even negotiate a discount.
As for the freshness and health of the tree, they are determined by the following signs:
- trunk diameter. It should be at least 6 cm in the lower part, provided that the height of the plant is 1.5-2 m. If the crown is thinner, it means that there is little supply of nutrients and the Christmas tree will quickly collapse;
- the condition of the bark and branches. If you can see any growths, fungus, mold, lichen thickets, then it is better to refrain from buying – this is a sick tree and will not stand still for a long time. But the streaks of resin are considered an indicator of health;
- elasticity of branches. For testing, not too thick, about the size of a pencil, are suitable. If they break when you try to bend them slightly, then the plant is already too dry;
- the color of the needles. It should be glossy, green, with a shade characteristic of its species, but without yellowness;
- looseness of needles. They should not fall from a recently cut tree, so you can stroke the branch “against the fur”, shake it, lightly tap the Christmas tree on the ground. A few needles have fallen – this is normal, but a rain of them means that it is better to refrain from buying;
- coniferous aroma. It is everywhere at Christmas markets, so to evaluate a single plant, you need to pluck a few needles and rub them between your fingers. If they contain juice and emit a strong smell of resin, then the specimen was cut down recently;
- weight. Fresh wood should be moderately heavy. For comparison, you can try to raise plants of similar dimensions, since they are easy to find in the bazaar, and from the same seller.
Artificial Christmas tree
It seems that everything is much simpler with trees that do not need to be cut down. They are beautiful, diverse, long-lasting, and do not fall off. That’s just the price of a mistake in the wrong choice is very high, up to human life, and this is not an exaggeration:
- firstly, a low-quality product can be toxic. Most likely, adult members of the family will not experience noticeable damage to their health, but babies and pets can suffer. Possible symptoms include: allergy, headache, nausea, cough;
- secondly, cheap plastic is a fire hazard and, together with dubious Chinese garlands, has already become the cause of tragedies many times.
Trouble can be avoided if you find out in advance how to choose a tree for the New Year and what to pay attention to.
Study of well-known manufacturers
There are usually no problems with finding an artificial tree, but before you go shopping, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about the manufacturers. The information is not the most common, but before the holidays, popular web resources publish all kinds of reviews and ratings, and the pages of online stores probably have at least general information about suppliers.
Large manufacturers have their own websites, where you can learn more about the company’s activities, find scans of documents confirming quality, and also familiarize yourself with prices and assortment. It would be good to read reviews of these products in independent sources – even if they are not on sale at the time of purchase, you will at least understand which Christmas tree to choose.
Verification of documents
Having found a suitable product, it is necessary to ask the seller for certificates of conformity and fire safety – they confirm the quality of the materials used. When ordering online, the manager can send scans of these documents or give a link to the page where they are listed.
In addition, the packaging must contain the following information:
- the full name and contact details of the manufacturer, as well as the company that accepts requests and claims;
- date of manufacture;
- rules of safe operation and storage;
- storage. This means not only the type of plastic, but also a mandatory warning about the content of harmful substances, if any, as well as about treatment with fire-fighting agents.
Artificial Christmas trees are made of soft or hard PVC (in the documents there may be an international marking of PVC), soft plastic (PE) and their combinations. Needles and branches are multi-colored, decorated with decor or LEDs – in short, a sea of options for every taste and wallet:
- Soft PVC is a low-cost, but quite durable material, which is most often used in the production of Christmas trees. Thin strips of film act as needles – this is not very realistic, but the branches seem fluffy. When stored, they wrinkle, but straighten out a little after a while. The safety of polyvinyl chloride is now in question: it is gradually being abandoned in the USA and Europe.
- Rigid PVC looks like fishing line. Such needles do NOT crumple or deform, and the branches are voluminous and fluffy, more like pine trees. In general, the products are not particularly realistic, but they look elegant and magnificent.
- Soft plastic. The material is durable, non-toxic. Spruce trees made of it are called cast, as their branches are cast in special forms. The technology is more expensive, so the products are several times more expensive than PVC analogues, but they look almost identical to natural Christmas trees. Sometimes, to make it cheaper, part of the branches are made of polyvinyl chloride.
Of course, it is best to buy a cast spruce, preferably of European production – quality and safety are seriously monitored there. If there are none or they are too expensive, then a PVC tree will do, so that the documents are in order. But you should stay away from nameless Chinese.
Review in the store
First of all, you need to get the Christmas tree out of the box. If a characteristic chemical stench hits your nose, you will have to choose another model, because safe plastic does not smell of anything.
Then you should consider the details of the product. They must be neat, without dents, cracks, glue drips. Joints deserve special attention – they should be evaluated at least visually. Next in line for inspection will be the needles. You can slightly twitch them, bend them, shake a branch, run your hand along it. If the needles do not break off and do not fall off, then the product is of high quality.
Choosing a Christmas tree is a simple but responsible task. When buying a live tree, it is important to find a beautiful and fresh one, and for an artificial one, safety is the most important. The choice is now large, so that there will be no difficulties with the search.