We’ve spent the past week being bombarded by Christmas ads and the streets are suddenly glistening with fairy lights. So surely it’s almost time to put our trees up?
The matter of when is acceptable to decorate your home for Christmas proves pretty divisive. While some people have already done it, there are still those who wait until the weekend before Christmas before dusting off their decorations.
It turns out there’s no set rule for when you should officially put the tree up, however doing it sooner does have its benefits.
Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown says putting your tree up earlier can help boost happiness levels. He told UniLad: “In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood.
“Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early [can] extend the excitement!”
If you have a plastic tree, you’re good to go as of now. However if you’re a real tree devotee, there are a few more considerations to factor in such as when is best to buy them - which there’s conflicting advice around.
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) say it’s best to purchase real trees after 1st December. “Provided care is taken in looking after the tree, the tree should survive over four weeks,” Harry Brightwell, secretary of BCTGA, told HuffPost UK.
But Wyevale Garden Centres’ real Christmas tree buyer disagrees, saying the earlier you buy them the better. “Christmas trees tend to be cut at around mid-November and so after settling in the field, the sooner customers can get them into water the better,” they told HuffPost UK.
“This is the best thing a customer can do to ensure the tree stays nice and fresh and is in the best condition throughout the festive period.
“Similarly to buying flowers – the sooner you can get them into water, the longer they will live and stay fresh, rather than leaving it too late, say until mid-December.”
So how do you know which tree is best to buy? According to the BCTGA, a fresh tree will have a healthy green appearance with few browning needles. The needles should be flexible and not fall off if you touch the branch.
A good way to test how fresh a tree is is to raise the tree a few inches off the ground and drop it on the butt end (where the trunk is thickest).
“Very few green needles should drop off the tree but it is normal for a few inner brown needles to drop off,” the BCTGA advises.
Wyevale’s tree buyer recommends buying trees as close to mid-November as possible, trimming the base by 1cm and popping the tree straight into water to “seal the base” and keep it healthy.
“If mid-November is too early for your household, a bucket of water outside will do the job until it’s time to bring it indoors,” they said.
“Once inside, make sure you fill the water reservoir in your stand and keep this topped up. Ideally, if it can be set up in a cool room where it’s away from direct heat and hot draughty conditions this will reduced transpiration from the needles which will ensure you get the best out of your tree.”
If you’re still not sure when is best to put your tree up, a good marker is the beginning of Advent [a religious celebration of the ‘coming’ of Christ] which this year falls on Sunday 3rd December.