I've had a lot of bad luck with buying live trees the last few years, so here are some tips that I've learned the hard way.

Buy your tree the first few weeks in December

It's a bit early, but this gives you the chance to browse a plethora of trees and pick the best one for yourself. Wait after the 20th there is high scarcity and you could face a Christmas with a plastic tree than a real pine

Don't buy the biggest tree

It might looks magnificent, but if you crowd the space of your room, you will soon regret it. If it's too big, it might take up valuable open space, interrupt your normal paths across the room and can even make you feel uncomfortable around it and slightly claustrophobic.

Measure all dimensions and make sure they will fit right as you want them to. Don't rely on your eyes only.

Pick a sort that retains it's needles

Unless you want to clean pine needles two months after Christmas, you should choose a sort that retains the needles on the branches.

My top five picks would be:
  • White pines
  • Balsam firs
  • Noble firs
  • The Douglas fir
  • Scotch pines

Look for the brightest colours

Bright and vibrant coloured needles usually indicate that the tree has been cut down recently and should remain fresh for longer.

How to care for your tree

Make sure the undercut is straight. Don't let it get dirty and put the tree in water immediately after taking it home.

Keep it away from the stove, heater, lamps that emit heat. Try to pick the coolest place for it's locations. This way it will dry out slower, last longer and remain beautiful and fresh as long as possible.

Check out Fantastic Gardeners for more advice on picking out a christmas tree !