All you needle
Windsor Castle and the one everyone had when I was a kid. It has bundles of thin branches covered in dainty dark green needles and comes with that gorgeous pine scent that, as far as I’m concerned, is the smell of Christmas.
Because it is a fast grower, the Norway spruce is cheaper than other varieties and is still a solid favourite across the UK.
Of course, anyone who has ever seen a Norway spruce has probably also seen a bald Norway spruce as this variety has a horrible habit of dropping its needles. If, like me, you have young children around, you might prefer to avoid this tree altogether to protect their little feet.
For some, however, the marvellous seasonal scent is worth the hassle.
If this is you, then a great way to reduce needle drop is to buy your spruce direct from a local grower. Locally grown trees have usually been harvested more recently than imported ones and will hold on to their needles more readily.
Popping your tree in sugary water and watering daily will also help with needle retention.
Christmas trees can drink as much as two pints a day in the first week they are indoors.
Another popular option is the Nordmann fir.
These are recognisable by their plump green needles with a silver underside that stand proudly off branches, giving them a puffy, cloud-like appearance.
Slower growing than the Norway spruce, these trees are often more expensive. The difference is roughly an extra £15 for a five or six-foot tree. But, kept watered, they are far better at holding on to those lovely needles all advent long.
However, these firs do not give off much Christmas scent.
If fallen needles are your bugbear then, smell or no smell, this may be the tree for you.
The blue spruce is another more recent addition to the line-up but it certainly earns its place at the Christmas table.
Don’t be fooled by the name, mind you. Unlike its cousin the Norway spruce, the blue spruce hangs on to those needles just as well as any Nordmann fir.
And like the Nordmann, it also has chunkier needles that stand proud like the bristles on a brush.
Price-wise it usually falls somewhere between the Norway spruce and the Nordmann fir, making it an affordable non-needle-dropping option.
Yet, by far the best thing about this tree is its incredible colour – its needles are an ice blue on muted yellow stems.
They look fantastic with a cool colour scheme of twinkling white lights, sparkling silver baubles and a Christmas angel on top.
Again, this may not be the one if you have small children around as its needles come to an especially sharp point at the end. The “pungens” part of its Latin name means sharply pointed.
And once more, good needle retention makes for a lack of fresh Christmas tree fragrance.
So there is my gift to you. You now know the pros and cons of each type of Christmas tree and can make the right choice for your family.
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