Angie's List: Picking a Christmas tree

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and you're likely already thinking about Christmas and how you'll be decking the halls this year.

Before you head out to a lot or farm, the consumer review website, Angie's List, has some tips to help you make sure you're getting the most for your money when picking out a tree this holiday season.

  • Plan ahead: Before you hop in the car to go tree shopping, measure the ceiling height where you are planning to put the tree, and be sure to leave room for the topper. It's also smart to measure the width, too. You should bring both measurements and a tape measure to the lot with you.

  • Know your options: Consumers have many options regarding where they can buy their Christmas tree. You can find pre-cut trees at retail stores, garden nurseries and tree farms. Most tree farms also allow consumers to cut their own trees. When buying from retailers, you should ask where the trees came from and when the most recent shipment arrived.

  • Ask questions: The vendor should answer any questions you have about the tree, in addition to being able to explain how to care for your tree. If the vendor cannot do that, you should consider another vendor.

  • Understand pricing: Angie's List creator Angie Hicks says, "When you're out shopping for trees, be sure you understand how pricing is going to work. Some tree farms, for example, price by the individual tree, while others price by the foot."

  • Determine species: Consumers should be well-informed about which tree species are popular in their area. If you or a loved one has an allergy or sensitivity to a specific tree, do your research before heading out to a lot.

  • Is it fresh? Freshness is key. The branches of a Christmas tree should be flexible and should not snap when bent. You can test this by running your hand along the branches. The needles should not fall off easily. A fresh tree should also be green in color, and consumers should avoid trees with a yellowish tint.

Although doing your research before buying a tree is important, it's also extremely important to take proper care of your tree after you bring it home. To insure a longer life and a greener tree come Christmas, be sure the tree stand never goes dry.