Experts offer advice on choosing the best Christmas tree

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

American Christmas Tree Association
When it comes to making one of the most important purchases of the holiday season, consumers are faced with what can seem to be an overwhelming amount of choices. So here are some tips that will help you make your decision and enjoy your holidays.
When considering a live tree, ask yourself these questions:
Has the tree been well cared for in transit; was it baled up for a long period of time; does the tree have broken branches?
Is the tree free of insects?
Is the tree dirty?
Do you own or have access to a hand saw to cut the trunk of the tree to keep it fresher and perhaps someone in the family or a neighbor to help you with this task?
Do you have a way of watering the tree so that you minimize possible damage to your carpet and/or hardwood flooring?
Do you have space in your home for the tree that is not near a possible fire hazard?
Does the Christmas tree seller accept credit cards? If not, this could be a sign that the merchant is trying to sell left-over trees.
When buying an artificial Christmas tree, consider this:
First, think of an artificial Christmas tree as an investment. Because you may be keeping the tree for 20 years or more, you may consider purchasing a high-quality artificial tree that has foliage resembling a real Christmas tree. This is often determined by the quantity of the branch tips and design of the foliage. In most cases, having more branch ětipsî is preferred because an abundance of needles creates a full look for the tree.
Ensure the Christmas tree has the specific desired appearance. Look closely to see if you can see the center pole of the tree-if so, it may not be a high-quality tree.
Choose a tree with a strong stand to ensure that your Christmas tree will not topple or lean to one side, even if heavy ornaments are added to the tree. Some tree stands come with rubber feet to protect your carpet or your wooden floors
All of the best artificial Christmas trees should have hinged branches to keep set-up simple.