The holidays are coming!

No, this is not a post about the Coca Cola holiday advert, but the first Christmas themed post on The Domestic Princess! I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I ADORE Christmas. The Domestic King and Queen always used to make Christmas so magical for me, and in my adult life, I’ve continued to embrace the holiday season with as much gusto! I’m kicking off the Christmas themed posts with something super close to my heart: Christmas trees. Coming home and walking in to see a gorgeous Christmas tree adorned with twinkling lights, shimmering decorations, and the wonderful scent of pine, never fails in making me feel Christmassy. The Domestic King and Queen always had a real Christmas tree and when I had my own home, I carried on the tradition. We always used to go to our local Christmas tree farm to pick one on the Sunday before Christmas and would decorate it whilst munching on mince pies with brandy butter. The Domestic Queen was always very particular about the type of tree we chose, and unfortunately for The Domestic Prince, thanks to The Domestic Queen, I am as well. So today, I’m sharing with you my hints & tips on picking a Christmas tree.

Decide where the tree will go and what’s the maximum size tree will fit there.

Last thing you want to do have to do is try to hack the tree to make it fit, or drag it back to where you purchased it from.

Choose which type of tree is most suited to your requirements. Here’s a little summary on some of the more popular varieties that are available.

Nordmann fir – this is the best at needle retention and Britain’s most popular Christmas tree. It has a conical-shaped tree that has open branches and long, shiny dark green needles. The real clincher for most people is that it will stay fresh for a really long time, especially if you keep the water that it stands in topped up.

Fraser fir – choose this tree if you need it to fit in a small space. It’s a narrow, dense tree with short, flat dark green needles. Branches are strong and needle retention is pretty good and unlike some other trees, survives being planted in the garden after the festivities have finished.

Norway spruce – if decorating a tree is your downfall, then opt for a Norway as it’s perfect for decorating. It has short, sharp needles and is a lighter colour than the Nordmann. It does have the tendency to drop needles, so watering it regularly is an absolute must.

Noble fir – the Noble has stiff, short branches that at the bottom, snap off easily, making them ideal for making wreaths and garlands from. It also boasts, broad, thick needles with a silver underside.

Grand fir – if you want a tree that has a sublime scent, then this is the tree you should be clamouring to buy. The Grand has lustrous dark green needles that smell wonderfully citrussy. If you’ve got heavy ornaments, you might find that a Grand isn’t able to accommodate them, but the prettiness and fantastic smell will more than compensate.

Scots pine – if you have a biggish area to fill, a Scots pine would be perfect, owing to its bushy shape. However, a word of warning, hanging decorations on a Scot can be tricky as they have quite long, twisty needles. On the plus side, they have a lovely pine scent and generally good needle retention.

Lodgepole pine – the Lodgepole is probably a good all-round option, as it has a terrific pine scent and really good needle retention. It’s quite similar to the Scots pine, but has darker and straighter needles.

Blue sprucefor a beautiful coloured tree, look no further than the Blue spruce. With its blue tinged foliage, it’s a striking tree, although quite hard to find. It retains its needles quite well and has a mild pine smell.

Choosing which one to take home

  • A fresh Christmas tree should be able to last around 6 weeks inside, if cared for correctly.
  • To check if a tree is fresh, run your fingers along one of the branches and see how many needles come off in your hands. If it’s super fresh, there shouldn’t be many on your hands.
  • If a tree feels light when you pick it up, then it could be a sign that it’s dried out, therefore, not very fresh and unlikely to see Father Christmas drop those pressies off!
  • If a bent branch doesn’t bounce straight back, that’s another sign it might not be the freshest on the farm.
  • Don’t buy a tree that has been blocked in a block of wood. These trees have no way of drinking water and will dry out very quickly.
  • Once you’ve picked the perfect tree, ensure that they cut about 3 inches off the bottom befor eyou take it home.

Settling your Christmas tree in

  • Before taking it into the house, give it a good shake – if you did the branch test, there hopefully won’t be many falling out!
  • Take it through the door stump end down.
  • Plunge in water and leave outside in a cool shaded place, that’s not windy, for a couple of days.
  • Before you take it in, take off 1/2 inch off the bottom to open up the pores.
  • Place in a water holding stand.
  • Display your Christmas tree in a cool place out of a draft.
  • Water, water and water. Don’t ever let the water go below the base, as this will cause the base to seal and start to dry out.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Water the tree every day – a fresh Christmas tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day.
  2. Turn the Christmas tree lights off at night.
  3. Don’t place the Christmas tree in sand or soil, as this will block the pores in the tree’s bark preventing it from drinking up the water.
  4. If the only place the tree can go is next to a radiator, either turn the radiator off for the holidays, or if that’s not an option, place a vessel of water on top to help keep the air moist.
  5. If you don’t own a specialised Christmas tree holder, I’d highly recommend buying one, which can save hours trying to balance it in a bucket with stones and pebbles!
  6. Consider buying a container grown tree, which has been grown in the container you purchase it in. Whilst a more expensive option, they can last for a good few years, thus proving to be a saving in the longer-term.
  7. If real trees aren’t your thing, there are some amazing artificial ones available these days – we have a gorgeous one from John Lewis that we use whilst in India.

Is Christmas your favourite time of the year? Do you have a favourite type of Christmas tree, or are you an advocate of the artificial ones?

With much love
The Domestic Princess



  1. Bob Howells says:

    Great advice and tips for caring for your Christmas Tree.

  2. The Domestic Prince says:

    How can you tell if the trees come from a sustainable source? Is it better to have a real tree from a sustainable source or support the manufacturing of plastic trees that you can re-use every year? Not sure which is more environmentally friendly – any ideas?

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