How to choose the best Christmas tree


Christmas tree with lights Millions of Christmas trees will be sold over the next fortnight. Some are real beauties, but others can be right flops. Here’s how to choose the best one, and also how to keep it looking spruce.
Norway spruce
The traditional favourite – and the cheapest – but it can shed needles by the bucket load unless well cared for. To pick a good one, lift it up and feel the weight. If it’s too light, it may have been cut weeks ago. Also bang the stump on the ground. If lots of needles fall, it’s well past its sell by date. .
Nordman Fir
The best-selling non-needle drop trees with soft, slightly scented needles. Look for deep green healthy needles and use the stump test to make sure they stay on. Don’t buy them pre-wrapped, they vary so much in shape, you can’t tell what it might look like. Nordman Firs are more expensive this year due to crop shortages.

The Christmas tree in Debbie Greenwood's home Noble Fir
The best of the non-needle drops, with gorgeous deep green scented needles. Check the needles look fresh and survive a good thump test!
Blue Spruce
The steely blue non-drop needles are very pretty but also very prickly. The trees can be very short and dumpy so shop around to find the best shape.
Christmas tree farms tend to have the freshest trees, while DIY stores usually have the best prices. But it pays to buy early if you want to get a right cracker!

Keeping your tree fresher for longer 
Tip: Once you’ve got your tree home, cut an inch off the stump and pop it in a bucket or a Christmas tree stand that holds water. Position it as far away from radiators as possible.

A tree can drink up to a pint of water a day – so keep the stand topped up right through Christmas and the New Year.

Whatever tree you choose, I hope you find some nice pressies under it come Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas,



  1. Rhona Fenton December 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Richard your tips are alway’s so helpful but this time I alway’s have my tree sorted as you know being married to a forester ha ha!! but reading your garden tips for December part 1 and will look forward to part 2, Have a lovely Christmas to you and your family and I too hope you have lot’s of pressies under your tree see you in the new year enjoy your Holiday!! love Rhona x

  2. Vicki Rowland December 15, 2009 at 7:03 am -  Reply

    Hi Richard
    I have brought a “live” Nordic Fir from a garden centre which I am planning on planting in the garden eventually. This year I intend to plant it in a half barrel but would like to know how long you think I can keep it in there before having to plant it in the ground. When I do have to plant it out I am concerned as to how close to the bunglow it can go i.e what is it’s root span like?
    Have a great Christmas
    Vicki Rowland

  3. Denise from N.Ireland August 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm -  Reply

    Hello Richard. Just love your shows on QVC and the great advice you give. Last year with the really harsh winter frost, rain and snow, I lost a lot of my well established tropical trees which cost me hundreds of pounds to replace. They had survived the previous 5 winters but didnt survive 2009. Can you please advice me as to how protect my new plants. I have heard that you can buy plant covers for times of heavy frost etc. Could you possibly bring some to QVC, please. I really love my garden but hate losing it to the winter so want to be well prepared this year.
    Thank you Richard.

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