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Gardens in the North: Decide on a type of Christmas tree before going shopping

I went shopping the other day, and it wasn't for a box of chocolates, or a new dress for my wife, or toys for my boys. It was for a Christmas tree. Shopping for a natural Christmas tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I have been known ...

I went shopping the other day, and it wasn't for a box of chocolates, or a new dress for my wife, or toys for my boys. It was for a Christmas tree.
Shopping for a natural Christmas tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I have been known to pull over at Christmas tree stands and just wander through the trees. The trees all look so nice, and we all know nothing can beat the wonderful smells that natural Christmas trees have.
There are many types of Christmas trees available in our area. And it is important to know what type of tree you want when you go out shopping for your tree. Locally, you can find spruce, pine and fir trees in just about any size you can imagine.
Spruce trees make a wonderful Christmas tree. They have ridged branches for hanging those heavy ornaments, smell great and are more economically priced than many trees. Keep in mind though, spruce dry out faster than other types of trees, so don't put yours up too early.
Several types of pine Christmas trees are available in our area. From the wonderfully soft-needled white pine to the ridged-needled Scotch pine, you can also still find Norway pines at several local Christmas tree lots. White pine is great if you are looking for a tree that will retain its needles for a long time. Also, if you have young children, white pine Christmas trees area a good choice because the tree's soft foliage won't hurt them as they approach the tree to scout for presents.
Scotch pine Christmas trees are a local favorite and, until recently, were the most popular Christmas tree sold nationwide. It has ridged needles, is slightly fragrant and retains its needles well. Keep in mind, if you have young children Scotch pine is not a good choice. Its sharp needles can cause injury to your children.
Norway pine Christmas trees have been around a long time. They have long needles and are often sheared to create a flat surface that makes it difficult to hang ornaments on. However, if you like old fashioned trees, the Norway pine is a perfect fit.
Balsam fir Christmas trees are locally grown and have become the most popular Christmas tree nationally. They have wonderful fragrance, firm branches and long needle retention. Their soft needles are perfect for hanging ornaments and tinsel on.
Fraser fir is the newest tree available for Christmas tree hunters. It has many of the characteristics of balsam trees except its needles are darker green and its branches are very strong. Frasers are the most expensive Christmas trees available in our area and are quite attractive.
This year my family decided we were going to cut our own Christmas tree. There are several cut-your-own tree farms within driving distance of the area. Most of them offer an abundant selection of trees as well as roping and wreaths.
We chose a tree farm just southeast of Cloquet to select our tree. It has thousands of trees in all shapes and sizes, and I am sure we looked at most of them searching for our perfect tree. I saw a tree that was very nice just minutes from the entry, but my wife, of course, wanted one about a mile and a half from our vehicle.
After measuring the tree to see if it would fit, we cut it down. Have you ever tried cutting a small Christmas tree down with two boys and too many saws? I had to count my fingers and my blessings by the time we finished cutting. But we got it done.
We chose a beautiful balsam fir Christmas tree to fill our home with the sights and smells of Christmas. Happy holidays everyone!

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