Bargain Christmas Trees
For many Canadians, a home at Christmas needs a real tree, redolent with the smell of freshly cut fir, but an expensive natural tree is not the only choice available.
Tree farms for value
If you want a fresh tree, your best bet is a tree farm. The prices are good, and the tree is fresh, so it will last longer and look better. Selecting and chopping your tree can be fun for the whole family. Many tree farms offer hot chocolate or mulled wine to warm you up while you shop and chop. The Canada Christmas Tree Farms (CTFN) can help you find a farm near you.
Choose a cheaper variety
It depends what region of the country you live in, but generally balsam and pine trees are the least expensive. The U.S. based National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) has a listing to the various types of trees available. Limit needle drop by slicing off the bottom of the trunk when you bring it indoors and watering the tree well—a 1.8 m (6 ft) tree drinks 600 ml (1 pint) of water a day. And, contrary to popular belief, don’t add anything like sugar or syrup to the water.
Contrary to belief artificial tress don’t pay for themselves within a few years. You would have to keep yours for at least 10 years to make your money back. The average family keeps their artificial tree for just under six years. There is also the environmental-cost to consider since most trees are made from non-renewable plastic and shipped long distances. If you do want to opt for the artificial variety, buy them during post-Christmas sales and get one with lights already included.
If you live in an apartment, or if putting up a full-sized tree is more trouble than it is worth, consider a miniature tree, either artificial or real. Prices rise according to height, so small trees are a bargain.
The most expensive but environmentally friendly option is to buy a container-grown, rooted tree from a nursery and plant it in the garden after Christmas or in spring when the ground thaws. If you have the space, you can do this every year, enhancing your property and preserving memories of Christmas for a generation or more.
If you live near an area currently being logged, you can pick your tree for free. Before being stripped of its branches, the tops of large felled trees are cut off, and these simply look like small trees. You can haul these away, at no charge, along with any stripped branches to decorate your home.
Decorate late and save
Start a family tradition of buying and decorating a tree on Christmas Eve and you will be surprised at the bargain-basement prices you can get. Visit your local nursery or garden centre on the weekend immediately before Christmas and prices will be reduced if there is too much stock.
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