How to choose the perfect Christmas tree

Real or fake? As long it looks like the real deal most people don’t mind. For those who aren’t a fan of vacuuming dropped pine needles, or those who want to save money whilst avoiding slipping off the eco bandwagon during the festive season, it’s artificial all the way. But for a truly traditional Christmas you can’t beat the traditional pine-fresh scent of a real Christmas tree.

One of our Brand Ambassadors, Fiona Fullerton – property expert, writer and former actress – has opted for a British favourite, the Nordman Fir, for its lush branches and non-spikey needles. Fiona is keeping hers in water to keep it fresh.

Picking the perfect pine

Measure before you buy: it’s important to select a tree that works well with the proportions of the room. Measure the height of the ceiling; the tree needs to be tall enough – but, not too tall – no less than a foot below ceiling height. If you’re displaying the tree in a window make sure it fills the space well. If you want a tall tree, but you’re unsure of the height of your ceiling, buy one that is a bit on the tall side and you can always prune a few inches off the top.

Don’t buy it blind: if it’s already packed in netting you won’t know what you’re getting.

Buy fresh: Choose a tree with full green foliage. Brush your hand along a branch and if the needles stay on, the tree is fresh.

Give it a trim: Once you get the tree home, prune any unhealthy looking branches and trim to shape.

Choose the right type of tree: trees vary in price, hardiness and look. The Nordmann fir, Norway spruce and the Fraser fir are some British favourites.

Nordmann fir, £35-45 

  • Characteristics: Cone-shaped, with open, spiky branches and a silvery bark. Long, glossy, dark green needles, with a white stripe on the underside.
  • Pros: Soft foliage and great needle retention have made this Britain’s most popular Christmas tree. Will stay fresh for a long time, as long as it’s watered.
  • Cons: One of the more expensive trees.

Norway spruce, £25-£30

  • Characteristics: Traditionally the most popular tree, but now overtaken by the Nordmann fir. Short, sharp needles, a lighter green than the Nordmann.
  • Pros: One of the cheapest trees. Very soft foliage – so kids won’t hurt their hands when hanging decorations.
  • Cons: Prone to dropping its needles – you need to water it regularly to prevent this.

Fraser fir, £30-£45

  • Characteristics: Dense and narrow, with short, flat, dark green needles.
  • Pros: Strong branches and good needle retention. Its shape makes it a good choice if you only have a small space to fill, and it copes better with being planted in the garden than other tree types.
  • Cons: Not as widely available as the Norway spruce or Nordmann fir.

Read more about Christmas tree advice from Which.

There’s still time to get those last minute home improvement jobs done before Christmas, to ensure your pine looks picture perfect for this season’s festivities. To get your job done before Christmas post your job for free, on and we’ll put you in contact with up to 3 quality, local tradesmen. Read their reviews and ratings online and select the tradesman who’s right for you and your job.

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