We have had many types of Christmas trees over the years including Hazel and Birch twigs cut from the garden and decorated with a few cherished baubles. One year we had a massive Norway spruce, so large that they would hardly fit into the corner of the sitting room in the small cottage that we owned in Kent!
My husband and I both enjoy Christmas although we don’t start to do any shopping or write cards until the beginning of December. One of our first seasonal purchases is often the tree which sits in the garden shed in a bucket of water until it is time to bring it into the house for decoration. Buying the tree means that the Christmas build up has officially begun in our household!
Having thought about where it will go in the lounge – one of two positions – we visit Notcutts to begin the search. If we are at home for Christmas, we will often buy two trees – a small Norway spruce to sit on a table and a larger Nordmann spruce as the main attraction. I like the smell of a real Christmas tree and think that the Norway Spruce have the best pine scent but their deep green needles are more prickly than the silver-grey Nordmanns.
Nowadays there are also ‘Serbian spruce’ to choose from which have grey-green needles on narrow, ‘slim line’ shapes – one of these would have been ideal for the Kent cottage!
Notcutt’s Christmas trees are the best quality and it doesn’t take long to select several ‘possibilities’ which we hold up and turn around to find the ‘front’ and the ‘back’. Choosing a small Norway spruce is easy as they tend to be very bushy and a lovely deep green colour. I always gently rub some of the needles the wrong way to make sure that they don’t fall off – holding on to the needles is a good sign of a fresh tree.
The quality of Nordmann Spruce has increased greatly since they were first introduced a couple of decades ago. Early trees tended to be very wide at the base and thinly branched at the top but the shapes have improved enormously. The main attraction of a Nordmann over a Norway Spruce is the superior need holding properties. When the trees are unwrapped from their nets at the garden centre they will drop a few needles but that is about it. These trees are more expensive but ideal for very warm houses where the traditional daily vacuuming of dropped needles is the last thing that a busy family needs!
Once we have chosen our tree and had it wrapped in a net to take it home, I can never resist looking at the beautiful displays of Christmas decorations to add just a few to our huge collection! Colour schemes come and go but we tend to be very traditional and stick to white lights and green, red, silver and gold decorations along with a few artificial robins.
Hopefully this year the cat will not remove a robin from the tree, rough it up and leave it on the stairs as an early Christmas present!