Summer is not far behind us but people have started thinking about Christmas already. This is the perfect time to begin getting organised as we still have three months to get everything just right and hopefully, spread the cost a little! One of the main centrepieces of a festive atmosphere in your home is the Christmas tree. Perhaps you have an old faithful artificial tree that pays the family a visit once a year from the loft or garage but if you fancy going fresh this year then how do you pick the perfect tree and where is the ideal spot to put it?

Not all real trees are easy to decorate so your first thought should be about needles. Trees with shorter needles, like the Noble or Fraser Fir, have strong branches and good space for hanging baubles and lights. Not all branches hang straight on real trees as they are ‘au naturel’ and come at all angles. If you think this might annoy your obsessive compulsions with balance and order then spend time looking for a tree with nicely positioned branches. You can always take a bauble with you to test before buying. For Wellingborough Real Christmas Trees, visit www.welfordchristmastreefarm.co.uk/

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Freshness is also important, especially if you’re buying your tree a few weeks before Christmas Day. Avoid any tree that is showing brown needles or looks dry. Needles should be a deep green colour, be shiny and smell amazing. Pulling gently on a branch should not dislodge a shower of needles. If it does, then the tree has past its prime.

Take a tape measure with you as it’s no good transporting the tree all the way home only to realise it’s too tall to get through the front door. Measure the space at home where you want the tree to sit. It’s very difficult to judge these things by sight alone. Be sure to include some extra for a tree stand which could bump up the height of the tree by as much as 15cm.

Once you have your beautiful, fresh tree proudly inside, there are a few tips you should consider for keeping it at its best for the whole of the festivities. Don’t hide it away in a corner, put it in a spot where it will shine in all its glory and be the star attraction. Having said that, if you have small children and excitable pets (or vice versa) you might want to make sure it’s not in a position where it can be pulled over.

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Radiators and fires will dry out the tree and also cause a bigger fire risk so keep your tree away from sources of heat. You might be surprised to learn that a real tree can drink up to 2 litres of water a day so don’t forget to keep it hydrated. Big baubles and decorations should be placed on the tree starting at the bottom and working up. Keeping them evenly spaced, working upwards and with smaller baubles towards the top of the tree will give it a beautiful balanced look.