Tommy’s Tips: Christmas Trees

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There are some of you out there that dislike Christmas, and find the paraphernalia of the season drives you crazy! Personally I love Christmas, I’m not too keen on some of the elements around it, particularly how the festive season seems to grow in length year by year. I do however love the traditional basic elements of the season, like buying, erecting, and decorating the Christmas tree! I know it’s just under a month away, but I want to take the opportunity to pass on some knowledge and tips, before you buy! In our house we have tried all types, including good quality imitation trees for convenience, when we had young children. You can’t beat a real tree, in particular the smell it smells like Christmas, many years ago I used to deal in Christmas trees, selling to both the trade and the public, we reached a volume of 2500 trees, which we purchased from a Belgium importer then sold on, we did this for 6/7 years, and learnt a lot. Always buy a tree out of its netting, to ensure you are happy with it, bang it up and down on the ground a couple of times, to make sure it hasn’t dried out, and the needles are falling off, also shop around, because there are many unscrupulous charlatans who will shamelessly rip you off, especially on the price of a Christmas tree. If you live in East London or the Essex area, this might prove useful, I have been getting my trees for the last 5 years from a man named John Probert at Waylett’s Farm, Brentwood Road, Dunton, just past Brentwood on the A127, take the next turn off; the A129, and the farm is at the end of the slip road. A decent 4-5ft tree, starts at £12, up to £40 for a 9-10ft corker! To transport home, I used to put two heavy blankets, or a bit of carpet underlay on the car roof, with the trunk at the front, held down securely through the windows, with bungee cords or straps.

People often complain about all the pine needles falling off, so when you get the tree home, saw a thin slice off the base of the trunk, and stand it up in a bucket of water for a couple of days to soak. There are tree stands available, which have a water reservoir, for the base of the tree, which you can top up. I use a wood chisel to trim the trunk of the tree, to fit in my metal stand, and tap in some wooden wedges, to make secure, and sit the tree base in a plastic container of wet sand, which I regularly top up, with water over the holiday, with very little loss of pine needles, and our house can be very hot!

We have accumulated a great collection, of quality decorations over the years, which allows us to change the theme. If money is a bit tight this year, or you just like a bargain, pop into poundland who are offering a great range of decorations at budget prices. I have to admit I am blessed, as my wife Marie, and two daughters Charlotte and Natalie, are exceptional at dressing the tree, once me and my son Jonjo, have erected the tree, and added all the lights, the girls take over, and at the end I just have to put the angel, on the top. We get a great response from people walking by, as the tree is about 12ft tall, completely filling the large elevated bay window of our lounge, and it really tastefully shouts out, “Christmas is here”.


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