Choosing and caring for your perfect Christmas tree

For many of us, choosing a real Christmas tree is one of the best things about the festive season. But with so many trees to choose from, how do you make sure you pick one that will last throughout the festive season and will look perfect in your home?

Forestry England’s ultimate Christmas tree guide is here to help! Find out the pros and cons of 3 favourite tree types, how to care for your tree once it’s home to keep it looking fantastic throughout Christmas, and some lovely sustainable decoration ideas for the whole family to enjoy!

Christmas tree types – which is the best tree to choose

For trees that are grown in Britain, Forestry England recommends three species: Norway spruce, Nordmann fir and lodgepole pine.

Each of these tree species is a bit different in size, shape, and scent so to help you find your perfect match, here are Forestry England’s pros and cons for each tree.

Norway Spruce

  • Pros – A magnificent scent and a wonderful shape with an abundance of branches.
  • Cons – Can rapidly drop needles if you forget to water the base.

Forestry England say – If you appreciate the traditional look and smell of Christmas, then the Norway spruce is for you. Spruce has a magnificent scent that will make your home smell wonderfully Christmassy.

Lodgepole Pine

  • Pros – Big, soft needles that retain well and a wonderful Christmassy scent.
  • Cons – You need a big space and high ceilings.

Forestry England say – If you have high ceilings, the lodgepole pine may be for you. Though it is less common than other varieties, it’s a fantastic tree with lush green needles and a wonderful pine scent.

Nordmann fir

  • Pros – Even shape, beautiful glossy needles with a blue underside and great needle retention.
  • Cons – It has a faint citrus scent that isn’t immediately obvious.

Forestry England say – For keeping needles off the carpet, you can’t beat the Nordmann fir. Its soft foliage and even shape with extra strong branches make it a real joy to decorate.

Once you have decided which tree is your perfect match, the real fun begins.

Care for your tree

To keep your real Christmas tree looking and smelling fresh throughout Christmas it is important to look after it.

Here is Forestry England’s step-by-step guide to making your tree last longer.

1. Give your trunk a trim. Once you get your tree home, saw just over a centimetre (or half an inch) off the trunk to get rid of any hardened sap and then put straight into water. This will help the tree to absorb lots of water to stay fresh and green throughout your festivities.

2. Not too hot. Your tree’s natural habitat at this time of year is out in the cold air, minimize the shock of the relocation and keep your tree happy by giving your tree some good distance from the radiator.

3. Keep your tree watered. Make sure you choose a sturdy stand that can hold a good amount of liquid. Your Christmas tree needs to be kept in water all the time, so finding a base with a good well that you can easily top up is important.

Check your tree’s water every day, you’ll be surprised just how thirsty they can be! Make sure the trunk is nicely submerged for happy and healthy needles.

4. Leave out the gimmicks. You might have been told that cola or corn syrup in the base helps to keep your tree alive, or maybe the garden centre tried to send you home with special tree food?

Don’t fall for it! Your beautiful tree just wants a constant supply of fresh water, it’s that simple.


For many, unboxing and dusting off Christmas tree decorations marks the start of the holiday season. If you find you need extra decorations to spruce up your spruce, why not get crafty with your family? Here are some lovely ideas for sustainable Christmas tree decorations:

Decorative festive pine cones. Decorate pine cones to create a mini Christmas tree, or paint a pine cone robin to get in the festive spirit.

Create a twig star. Ditch your plastic tree topper in favour of a lovely handmade stick star. Start by placing five twigs in a star shape. Using twine or string, tie the sticks together at each point of the star. Wrap the twine around all the sticks at the point several times. Pull it tightly to make sure it holds securely. The perfect ornament for your family Christmas tree.

Scented orange tree slice decorations. Add a traditional feel to your tree with these easy to make decorations. Simply slice an orange, decorate with cloves and pop in the oven at the lowest setting for around an hour.

Salt dough decorations. Salt dough decorations are easy and fun to make. Simply make some salt dough, roll it out and use Christmas biscuit cutters to cut out some festive shapes. Remember to make a hole in the top of each shape for hanging on the tree. Once this is done, pop them in the oven on the lowest setting for 3 hours or until solid. When they are cool, paint and decorate as you like. Acrylic paint works well, but you could also colour them with felt-tip pens then leave to dry. To finish, loop the ribbon through the hole and tie at the top, ready to hang on the tree.

Support our forests

We know our climate is in crisis and that trees, woods and forests are vital for the on-going success of our environment and our overall health and wellbeing. Buying your real Christmas tree from Forestry England helps to look after the nation’s forests and also boosts your wellbeing with a magical day out.

Forestry England is opening 12 Christmas tree sales centres across the country, offering high-quality real Christmas trees from the heart of the forest. All trees are grown in the UK and certified by Grown in Britain, and all Norway spruce trees are certified by both Grown in Britain and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

There will also be a range of events from illuminated trails to Superworm adventures for the whole family to enjoy, offering the perfect location for a Christmassy day out.

To find your nearest sales centre and find more information on events across England visit