10 Tips for Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree
- Bring a tape measure.
Don’t second guess how tall your ceiling is, standing on your toes trying the reach the top branches. Trees look smaller out on the farm amongst other trees than they will in your home. Be prepared!
- Dress Warmly.
This should be a no brainer, but don’t forget where you’re going! You are in Canada, in the winter, outside on a (probably windy) tree farm. Boots, hats, scarves… bring it all.
- Bring cash!!
Most of these tree farms or markets are cash only. Cheque or debit may be accepted depending where you go, but I would not risk it.
- Bring your own saw.
If you don’t have one, no worries, most places have ones you can borrow. If it’s a busy day however, a saw may not be available at the time you need it. It may also not be the sharpest. No chainsaws or axes please!
- Know what species of tree you want.
Different types of firs, spruces and pines have pros and cons.
- A blue spruce has a nice silvery colour and retains its needles well. Those needles are sharp though! Likely not the best with young kids decorating.
- A scotch pine has great needle retention and resists drying out. It will last a long time but also has sharp needles!
- A Douglas fir is a classic choice, with soft shiny needles. It has a great look, but the branches can be quite close together, with limited space for large ornaments.
- We suggest the fraser fir or noble fir. They have shorter, soft needles, firm branches which are usually well spaced, and good needle retention as well.
- Balsam firs are also popular in the area, having a nice longevity and are not too dense.
Don’t forget it’s your preference! There is no such thing as a perfect tree. Look at the varying tree colours and touch the needles to find out what suits you. Ask questions! Those working at the farms can typically distinguish between the tree types.
Check the website of whichever tree farm you’re visiting, as they may have certain types of food for sale. Some do not! Or they are limited. Sawing down a living tree is hard work – make sure you can satisfy your hunger afterwards.
- Bring rope.
How are you bringing this tree home? Some tree farms may provide twine, to secure the tree to your car, but many do not. Make sure you bring the correct supplies!
- Buy a sturdy tree stand.
Having your tree fall over in the middle of dinner, causing the angel's head to pop off (yes this happened), is less than an ideal situation. Don’t struggle with homemade contraptions, get something that works.
Give the base a fresh cut.
Especially if your tree has been waiting for you in a bucket in the garage (don’t leave it outside), you’ll want to cut the bottom of the tree. It is a good idea to acclimatize the tree before bringing it indoors from the icy winter. Sap will have begun to form at the base of the trunk, making it difficult for water absorption.
- Water Frequently.
When you initially bring the tree home it will be thirsty! After a few days, you will only have to check it about once a day, depending on tree size. Dry trees are a fire hazard at their worst, and a mess of needles at least. Some people add bleach to the water to prevent the base of the tree from sealing and not allowing the water in.
For a list of locations near Ottawa to cut down a Christmas tree, click here.