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.

RELATED: 17 Christmas Decorating Ideas We Bet You Haven’t Thought Of

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.)

8 PHOTOS
Make your Christmas tree last longer
See Gallery
Make your Christmas tree last longer

Experts say the best thing you can do to guarantee freshness is to cut down your own tree from a local farm.

Getty

If you can’t make it to a farm, assume the trees you see at your local store have been standing there for a while, so make a fresh cut -- otherwise the trunk’s pores will seal up with sap, limiting the tree's water intake.

Getty

It's recommended that you cut off around an inch from the bottom of the tree.

Getty

If you don’t want needles all over the floor, make sure the room temperature is just right.

Getty

Unlike in this photo, keep Christmas trees away from fireplaces, heaters and even direct sunlight -- all can speed up the drying process.

Getty

Keep the stand filled with water because the trees can drink up to a gallon a day!

Some people swear by commercial tree preservatives, while others opt for adding aspirin to give it a longer life.

Getty

When it’s time to get rid of the tree, don’t drag it to the curb to end up in a landfill. Most cities have recycling programs that turn the trees into mulch.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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.”

One More Thing

Now that you have the perfect tree, time to spruce that baby up. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Find our what your tree says about you!

6 PHOTOS
What your Christmas tree says about your personality
See Gallery
What your Christmas tree says about your personality

If you tend to opt for a real tree, you likely find tradition important and feel that the fresh scent of pine needles is worth a bit of extra mess. 

Getty

If you're a busy bee, your schedule might not allow for time to sweep up those pesky pine needles and an out-of-the-box tree is the fit for you. You like convenience and investments that last. 

Getty

If you're the type to mix souvenir and baby picture ornaments with the more classic decor, you're a sentimentalist and want your tree to reflect your memories. 

Getty

A meticulously matching tree suggests someone who prioritizes order, organization and good taste. It's okay if you need the tinsel to pine needle ratio to be balanced, let your type A side shine. 

Getty

For those that can't get enough of 'It's A Wonderful Life' and are convinced they were born in the wrong era, they probably pack on that tinsel. 

Getty

Finally, nothing says glamorous and elegant like white lights, while rainbow lights suggest a fun-loving side likely to rock around that Christmas tree.

Getty

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.