First things first, you need to decide what kind of tree you want. Each tree offers something a little bit different. Here are your main options.
Firs and spruces appear quite similar, but look to their needles to know what’s what. Fir trees have longer needles that are softer and flatter and can’t be easily rolled between your fingers. People tend to go for fir trees because they are long lasting and have a nice, fairly sweet fragrance.
The original Christmas tree, spruce’s needles are shorter and sharper than those of the fir and can be easily rolled between your fingers. They have a very traditional Christmas tree shape and the blue spruce has a lovely colour that reflects lights and decorations perfectly. The pine needles have a strong scent – similar to a minty/lemon concoction – but the needles tend to drop quickly, so don’t buy this one more than a week before Christmas Day.
Pine trees are a good Christmas choice, and white pines are great for people with sensitive noses as they are less pungent than the other options. Don’t go for this if you have a lot of heavy ornaments though, as the bouncy branches are best suited to smaller decorations.
The most cost effective choice, these trees keep for years, don’t drop needles, are flame retardant and require no maintenance. Avoid trees made out of PVC as this harsh plastic is hard on the environment and your health.
So you’ve decided what kind of tree you want, now comes the tricky part of finding the perfect one. Follow these tips when browsing for a tree.
1. Measure the height of the ceiling and remember you’ll also need to factor in a tree topper and tree stand.
2. A good tree should be full from top to bottom with no bare patches.
3. Look for sap – the freshest trees will still be producing it and will have some visible sticky patches.
4. The top branch should shoot straight into the air.
5. Choose a tree with a nice base colour – silver or blue will nicely reflect your lights and decorations.
6. Remember that longer branches can hold heavier decorations, whereas branches that are further apart can hold bigger ornaments.
Where to buy
Christmas tree stockists in the city have multiplied in the past few years and we’re now spoilt for choice. Most supermarkets, home stores and even some smaller grocery places stock plastic Christmas trees, while real trees can be found in plenty of spots.
They always have a great Christmas collection and their selection of trees doesn’t disappoint. Real or artificial, big or small, snow-topped or complete with coloured lights, they’ve got them all. Their real trees are shipped from environmentally sustainable plantations in the US, so it’s a good choice for limiting eco-damage.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Mina Road (02 673 1665). Other location: Yas Island, open daily 10am-11pm (02 565 1945).
This supermarket stocks a good selection of both real trees and artificial ones. Imported from the States, they are available in store throughout December.
Various locations including Khalidiyah (02 681 2897).
If it’s an artificial tree you’re after, then Carrefour, Lulu, Waitrose and Home Centre all have imitation trees of varying size, shape, colour and cost.
Caring for your tree
Now that you’ve tracked down your ideal tree and got it home, you need to give it the care it needs, especially if it’s a real one.
- When you bring your tree into the house for decorating, make a cut across the trunk one to two inches from the bottom. This allows the tree to take in water, keeping it hydrated.
- Keep in mind that these Christmas trees can by thirsty creatures, drinking up to four litres of water a day. Be sure to check the water level in the tree stand daily and keep it topped up.
- Position your tree away from fireplaces, heaters, televisions direct sunlight or any other source of heat, and turn off tree lights when you’re not at home.
- Safety first! Don’t use any flammable decorations, even if your imitation tree tells you it’s fire retardant. Turn off the lights before you go to sleep,
and never decorate it with lit candles.
Where to buy a Christmas tree in Abu Dhabi 2014
Real trees, artificial trees and Christmas Decorations in Dubai
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