Today we went in search of the perfect Christmas tree in Ashurst in the New Forest. When I say searching, I don’t mean rambling through the woods with an axe aimlessly cutting down one of the National Park’s own, hoping to not get spotted… although it’s not unheard of for some – you know who you are!
Our search, somewhat less adventurous or dangerous as one’s inner-Bear-Grylls would like, consists of sizing up the type and size of pre-cut tree we would like in our home, before seeing it netted – ready for it’s adventure inside the car!
Each year we go to the same Christmas tree farm in Ashurst to select our tree, as you may have seen previously. I guess you could say it has become somewhat of a family tradition. We all arrive bright and early with a lot of other local families and wander around, giving compliments to some trees and turning down others. Too tall, too small, too wide, too sparse, too bushy, lopsided, not enough foliage at the top, a bit brown at the bottom… until we find it. The one for our lounge. The piece of nature that will be brought into our homes for the festive season.
One of the biggest decisions to make when taking a trip to the Christmas tree farm is what kind of tree to get. This year I’ve been doing a bit of research into two of the main kinds sold to us in the UK (and that are sold in Ashurst at our particular Christmas tree farm of choice):
The Nordman fir is the most popular Christmas tree in Europe – it’s known for:
- Having soft foliage and an even shape – making it a joy to decorate!
- Glossy, dark green needles that have a whitish/light blue underside and thick, waxy coating
- Strong branches, which are great for hanging those big glass decorations
The Norway spruce is known as the ‘traditional’ choice for a Christmas tree in Britain – it’s known for:
- A wonderful shape and an abundance of branches (even up at the top, where some trees can be quite sparse!)
- The classic ‘Christmassy’ smell that you expect from a Christmas tree
- Short, bright green needles that are a little sharp and spiky to touch
This year we opted for this lovely fir tree. With a generous distribution of branches (even up to the top!), perfect for hanging lots of decorations, and the perfect height for our lounge – coming in at 8ft tall.
I simply couldn’t wait to get it home and decorate it! Now it’s up, I think it should get to stay all year round!
Don’t forget to give your tree a bit of TLC when you’ve taken it back home. Chop 2-3cm of the bottom of the tree before you place it in the stand, don’t keep it near a radiator, and water it on a regular basis – in the first few days it can drink over 1 litre!
What kind of Christmas tree are you opting for this year? Did you visit a local farm or buy it in town?