All you nee­dle

Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL -

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.

MEM­O­RIES Fam­ily fun find­ing a tree 0843 922 5000 SM38007

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