It isn't officially the most wonderful time of the year until there's a tinsel-trimmed topiary center stage in my living room. Whether your family shops a tent sale at the grocery store or chops down your own tree, knowing the best time to pick out a Christmas tree is key to ensuring that your greenery stays nice and fresh throughout the entire holiday season.
Dead, brown pine needles may be fun for the cat to bat around and play with, but they make a huge mess. No mom has time to deal with all of that mayhem during the holidays. Timing your tree purchase just right is imperative to avoiding the dreaded droopy limbs and needle debris.
"Visiting a Christmas tree farm is a wonderful family experience and is a tradition for many families," Twyla Nash of Elgin Christmas Tree Farm in Elgin, Texas tells Romper. If traipsing through the mud or snow on a Christmas tree farm is on your family's agenda this year, experts say it's ideal to plan a trip after Turkey Day. "If you are cutting a fresh tree at a choose-and-cut farm, anytime after Thanksgiving would be appropriate for cutting your tree," Nash says.
The key to picking out a Christmas tree that won't give out on you before it's time for Santa to make his yearly delivery starts with knowing how to spot a tree worth cutting. The Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association advises tree shoppers to select a tree that is not "losing green needles, or has dry, brittle twigs or a sour, musty smell." The organization also tells Romper that having your choose-and-cut tree shaken my a mechanical tree shaker on-site will help to remove bugs, debris, and any dead needles to ensure your tree is in tip-top shape before you head home. Wrapping the tree in a tarp and securing it with the bottom facing forward will help protect needles from blowing off on the drive home, too.
There is almost nothing better than the smell of a fresh-cut evergreen the day you bring a Christmas tree home, but sometimes the maintenance can be a tad bit exhausting. Caring for it properly, though, is crucial to ensuring that your tree lasts throughout the season. "After the tree arrives home, it’s good to cut a fresh cut on the trunk. This will cause the tree to drink more water," Nash tells Romper. "Then, keep the tree on water constantly during the whole season."
For those who have never ventured into the piney woods to chop your own tree, it's important to note that unlike tree lots full of pre-cut trees that get re-stocked throughout the season, the selection at a tree farm is finite. Timing your visit to make sure that you have the biggest selection — but that your tree will still last throughout the holiday season — is ideal. "Thanksgiving weekend is the most popular time to visit the farm and cut down a tree," Nash tells Romper. "Weekdays are less crowded, but the selection is less than it was during Thanksgiving weekend."
Nash says that you can expect a fresh cut tree from their farm to last three to four weeks with proper care, but trees grown in other areas throughout the country may differ. It's best to call and check with your local tree farm to time your visit just right.
So, there you have it. Straight from the experts — the best time to pick out your tree is right around Thanksgiving. In fact, this may just settle the great debate about when your tree should go up once and for all. (Unless you have an artificial tree. And in that case, you do you. Mine is already lit.)
Twyla Nash, Elgin Christmas Tree Farm