The definitive best time to buy a Christmas tree

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how dried-up are thy branches. It’s a yuletide pickle: The kids (OK fine, grown-ups too) can’t wait to decorate the tree, but buy it too early and you’ll spend the festive season sweeping up a gazillion pine needles, or buy it too late and there won’t be any good trees left. That’s why we turned to Christmas Tree expert (yep, it’s a thing) Ann O’Connor from the National Christmas Tree Association to find out the best time to buy your tree and how to keep it looking fresh until the new year.

When to Buy Your Tree

“We suggest that families shop early,” says O'Connor. If kept watered, your Christmas tree should last four to five weeks. “The weekend after Thanksgiving through to the following weekend is a great time,” she advises. That's when there will be plenty of choices, and with proper care, your tree will be sure to last all season. (Hey, maybe lugging a tree home will burn off some of that pie.)

29 PHOTOS
White House Christmas trees through the years
See Gallery
White House Christmas trees through the years

2017

The official White House Christmas tree adorns the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

2016

The White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 29, 2016.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

2015

A decorated Christmas tree almost reaches the ceiling of the Blue Room of the White House, a preview of holiday decorations being assembled for the season, in Washington, December 2, 2015.

(REUTERS/Mike Theiler)

2014

The official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room at the White House. The 18 foot tree has over 2000 ornaments. A total of 26 Christmas trees are part of the decorations. About 65,000 people visited the White House during the holidays.

(Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

2013

The White House Christmas Tree is pictured in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, December 4, 2013. The 18.5-foot Douglas Fir was grown by Chris Botek, a second generation Christmas Tree Farmer from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

2012

The official White House Christmas tree, an 18-foot-6-inch Fraser Fir from Jefferson, North Carolina, stands in the Blue Room during a preview of the 2012 White House holiday decorations November 28, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. The first lady welcomed military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children, to the White House for the first viewing of the 2012 holiday decorations. The theme for the White House Christmas 2012 is 'Joy to All.'

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

2011

A view of the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room during a media tour of the holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, November 30, 2011. The tree features cards written by children of U.S. military members and medals, badges and patches from all branches of the U.S. military.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

2010

The official White House Christmas tree is displayed in the Blue Room during a media tour of the holiday decorations on December 1, 2010 in Washington, DC. This year's decoration theme is titled 'Simple Gifts,' which was inspired by our nation's state and county fairs.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2009

The official White House Christmas tree is displayed in the Blue Room of the White House during a press tour of the holiday decorations in Washington, DC, on December 2, 2009. The Douglas Fir, lit with environmentally friendly LED lights and decorated with more than 800 ornaments from previous White House administrations stands 18.5 feet high and nearly 13 feet wide.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

2008

The official White House Christmas Tree, a Fraser Fir, is seen on display in the Blue Room during the White House Holiday media preview at the White House in Washington, DC on December 3, 2008. The tree is decorated with 369 hand decorated ornaments from all over the US. This years theme is 'A Red, White and Blue Christmas.'

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

2007

The official White House Christmas tree stands in the Blue Room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations November 29, 2007 in Washington, DC. 'Holiday in the National Parks' was the theme of the White House 2007 holiday decorations.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

2006

The official White House Christmas tree stands in the Blue Room of the White House as seen from the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, November 30, 2006.

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

2005

White lilies and crystal spheres cover the White House Christmas Tree during the media preview of the 2005 holiday decorations and tasting event in the Blue Room of the White House November 30, 2005 in Washington, DC. The White House's holiday theme for 2005 is 'All Things Bright and Beautiful.'

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One of the 41 Christmas trees displayed at the White House in Washington, D.C.. The entire White House was decorated by 51 volunteers assembling 660 feet of garland, 41 trees, 245 wreaths, 221 bows, and 155,500 lights to celebrate the Christmas Holiday season.

(PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

2003

A Frazer Fir Christmas tree is apart of White House Christmas decorations, December 4, 2003, in Washington, DC. The First Lady Laura Bush hosted a media preview of the decorations that focused on 'A Season Of Stories'.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2002

A decorated 18-foot tall fir tree stands in the Blue Room at the White House December 5, 2002 in Washington, D.C. First lady Laura Bush hosted a media preview of the decorations that focused on presidential pets.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2001

A Christmas tree stands in the middle of the Blue Room in the White House December 3, 2001 in Washington DC. The First lady Laura Bush hosted a media preview of the decorations today to officially kick off the White House Christmas season.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2000

The official White House Christmas tree stands in the Blue Room of the White House December 4, 2000 in Washington DC. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that ''Holiday Reflections'' will be the White House holiday theme.

(Photo by Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

1997

Hillary Clinton shows off the Christmas tree in the Blue Room during a tour of the White House in December 1997. The first lady collaborated with the National Needlework Association, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and glass artisans to create a 'Santa's Workshop' theme, the White House Historical Association reported.

(The Washington Post via Getty Images)

First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, wife of President George Bush, 41st President of the United States, poses in front of one of the White House Christmas trees in the Blue Room, Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)

President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan hang ornaments, made for them by the two Korean children that they brought back from Korea on Air Force One for heart surgery, in their residence on December 24th. The Reagans will spent Christmas in the White House before flying to California for the New Year.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

First Lady Rosalynn Carter poses near Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

First Lady Betty Ford stands near a Christmas tree December, 1975 at the White House, Washington, DC.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/Liaison)

President Nixon and his family pose in front of the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House on Christmas Eve. They celebrated the holiday in the Executive Mansion and were joined later in the day by Mamie Eisenhower and her son and daughter-in-law, former Amb. and Mrs. John Eisenhower. Left to right: Tricia and her husband, Edward Cox; Pres. and Mrs. Nixon; and Julie, and her husband , Ens. David Eisenhower.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, on the eve of her 55th birthday, standing in front of the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room, December 20th.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

President and Mrs. Kennedy admire the White House Christmas tree in the Main Lobby during a picture taking session. Later, approximately 1,200 men and women employed in the Executive offices joined the first Couple to receive their annual gift and enjoy some Christmas refreshments.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

President Truman made a plea for peace at ceremonies during the lighting of the Christmas tree on the south grounds of the White House. Photo shows the White House in the background as the President speaks from the center platform.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

In 1934, White House visitors stop to watch the final decorations go on the White House Christmas tree in the executive mansion's East Room. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his family also had their own tree erected on the second floor of the White House.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

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How to Spot a Good Tree

While you're shopping, ensure the tree is fresh by making sure the needles bend in your fingers and don't break, advises O'Connor. Then, once you’ve found the perfect pine, have your retailer make a new cut, about half an inch off the stump.

How to Keep Your Tree Looking Its Best

At home, get your tree into water as soon as possible or make another cut if it’s going to sit out dry for a while. This ensures the tree can take in water to remain fresh. O’Connor says, “The really important thing is to check the water daily to make sure it never runs out.”

68 PHOTOS
White House Christmas cards through the years
See Gallery
White House Christmas cards through the years

Calvin Coolidge, 1927

(Photo via The White House)

Herbert Hoover, 1929

(Photo via National Archives and Records Administration)

Herbert Hoover, 1932

(Photo via Herbert Hoover Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1933

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1934

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1935

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1936

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1937

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1941

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1942

(Photo via White House Historical Association (White House Collection))

Franklin Roosevelt, 1943

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Franklin Roosevelt, 1944

(Photo via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

Harry S. Truman, 1945

(Photo via Harry S. Truman Library)

Harry S. Truman, 1946

(Photo via Harry S. Truman Library)

Harry S. Truman, 1950

(Photo via Harry S. Truman Library)

Harry S. Truman, 1951

(Photo via Harry S. Truman Library)

Harry S. Truman, 1952

(Photo via Harry S. Truman Library)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

(Photo via Hallmark Cards)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956

(Photo via Hallmark Cards)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957

(Photo via Hallmark Cards)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959

(Photo via Hallmark Cards)

John F. Kennedy, 1961

(Photo via White House Historical Association (White House Collection))

John F. Kennedy, 1962

(Photo White House Collection)

John F. Kennedy, 1963

(Photo via Collection of Nelson Pierce)

Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

(Photo via National Archives and Records Administration)

Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965

(Photo via National Archives and Records Administration)

Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966

(Photo via National Archives and Records Administration)

Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967

(Photo via White House Historical Association (White House Collection))

Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968

(Photo via National Archives and Records Administration)

Richard Nixon, 1969

(Photo via National Archives and Records Administration)

Richard Nixon, 1970

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Richard Nixon, 1971

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Richard Nixon, 1972

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Richard Nixon, 1973

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Gerald Ford, 1974

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Gerald Ford, 1975

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Gerald Ford, 1976

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Jimmy Carter, 1978

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Jimmy Carter, 1979

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1981

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1982

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1983

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1984

(Photo via White House Historical Association (White House Collection))

Ronald Reagan, 1985

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1986

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1987

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Ronald Reagan, 1988

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

George H. W. Bush, 1991

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

George H. W. Bush, 1992

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1993

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1994

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1995

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1996

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1997

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1998

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 1999

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Bill Clinton, 2000

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

George W. Bush, 2001

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

George W. Bush, 2003

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

George W. Bush, 2008

(Photo via White House Historical Association)

Barack Obama, 2009

(Photo via The White House)

Barack Obama, 2011

(Photo via The White House)

Barack Obama, 2012

(Photo via The White House)

Barack Obama, 2013

(Photo via The White House)

Barack Obama, 2014
Barack Obama, 2015
Barack Obama, 2016
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