How to pick a glorious Christmas tree

Whether you’re that person who wants the most humongous, swanky tree in your neighbourhood or you’ve been hauling down from the attic the same trusty fake, pre- decorated with 1991 tinsel, for decades – every Christmas tree out there will bring joy and cheer into your home.

If you are thinking of skipping it this year due to lack of funds keep in mind that size means nothing.

Because even the wee potted ones you can buy in the supermarket ; they punch well above their weight in the happiness giving stakes.


It’s hard to remain grumpy sitting there sipping your tea and drinking in all the sparkle.

Last year in Ireland there was an estimated 600,00 trees sold and so far, so good this year. Even with the price of everything shooting up, Christmas tree sellers are telling us they are as busy as ever.

It’s the first week of December and we are marching full steam into the festive season but do you ever wonder why we put up trees in the first place?

As Judith Flanders explains in her excellent 2017 book “Christmas: A History” the concept probably derived from the “paradise tree” which appeared in medieval plays, and was then adopted by 15th-century Germany – first by the elites, and then the hoi polloi got involved, and then German immigrants brought the tree tradition to America and the magic grew from there.

Maybe you are already enjoying the glow of your tree but if you are gearing up to get yours Karen Morton – who has run the Killakee Christmas Tree Farm in Rathfarnham in Dublin for nearly twenty years with her husband Justin – has solid advice for Christmas FM listeners on how to pick a winner. She told us how to spot a fresh one and who knew you could get trees that are not super shedders!

If you are hunting for a special tree buying experience, why not have a wander around her farm, and select the one you fancy? Killakee Christmas Tree also has lovely potted ones for sale if space is a factor.

You can book a timeslot here

Karen Morton’s top tips for buying the perfect tree

  1. Measure the space – Trees always look smaller until you bring them indoors! Bring a measuring tape with you. Remember to allow for the height of your stand.
  2. Decide what shape you would like.  Will you see all sides?
  3.  Do you want a shedding or non-shedding species? Are you putting the tree outdoors or indoors? If it’s going outdoors you can choose any variety. People prefer to choose non-shed varieties to avoid mess if indoors. Non shed varieties include Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir. 
  4. What colour branches do you like? Do you prefer a rich glossy green tree (Nordmann Fir) or do you prefer a bluey/silvery shade tree (Noble Fir)?
  5. Consider your decorations If you have valuable glass decorations for example a Noble Fir tree has the strongest branches and are ideal to keep precious decorations safe. If you have lots to display, a Nordmann Fir tree has lots of branches to accommodate all your favourite decorations.
  6. Do you have a stand for your Christmas tree from last year? Dig it out before visiting the farm to make sure you don’t need one and if it’s an unusual size you may want to bring your stand with you to have the tree cut to fit it.
  7. Check the freshness – the fresher the tree the longer it will last. If there is still sap on it, it’s freshly cut. Check the needles are not falling off.  

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