House Beautiful (UK) - - Style Planner -

Fake or real – it’s the same dilemma every year. If you pre­fer real, find­ing the right one takes a bit of re­search. Ex­pert opin­ion varies as to when you should buy, but the later you leave it, the fresher it will be on 25 De­cem­ber and prices tend to come down as sell­ers don’t want to be sad­dled with stock after Christ­mas Day.

Bri­tish grower Needle­fresh has a handy guide to tree care in­clud­ing a timetable of when best to buy – they say around 8 or 9 De­cem­ber. If you choose an early date, go for a Nord­man fir, as the nee­dles won’t drop, un­like a Nor­way spruce, which costs less but nee­dle drop is more likely.

Look for a lo­cal grower if pos­si­ble

– the Bri­tish Christ­mas Tree Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion ( will point you to­wards your near­est one.

Be­fore you buy, mea­sure the room height and find a space away from ra­di­a­tors or open fires. A cor­ner near a light socket for fairy lights is best. Place it in a con­tainer of wa­ter and re­fill reg­u­larly. Pe­ru­vian 7ft fake pine tree, £195; star dec­o­ra­tions, £5 each; llama cush­ion, £30; rug, £330; all John Lewis

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