One of my favourite childhood memories of Christmas, is going into the pine plantations near our home and finding a small enough, wispy pine tree to take back with us. Yes, a real Christmas tree!
As a kid, the whole experience was EXCITING! If we were lucky we would find pine nuts to eat from the fallen pine cones. It didn’t occur to me that Christmas trees are normally big and covered in plastic baubles, and that they need “fluffing”!
So after deciding that I want to be more intentional about what Christmas memories my kids will have, last year we went and got our own real Christmas tree. I wanted my kids to know that Christmas has a fragrance, of fresh pine leaves and cinnamon cookies, and how to enjoy trees that aren’t perfect!
So if you are considering starting this fun Christmas tradition of your own, here’s all you need to know about having…
A Real Christmas Tree
1. Christmas Tree Farms
Where do you get a real Christmas tree from?
Now days you don’t go bush looking for a stray pine tree to take home. You can get your own real Christmas tree from a Christmas Tree Farms. They grow the trees to a certain height and shape, ready for you to take home and decorate.
Visiting a Christmas tree farm is all part of the experience! (Forget that it was a super hot Perth day when we went Christmas tree shopping last year and most of us were grumpy and irritable rather than feeling cheery and Christmasy)
You can choose to pick out the tree you want or have one chosen for you while they are still growing. Your tree will be cut down for you, then netted and wrapped so it’s easy to transport home. Often delivery is available for an additional cost if you are concerned about fitting it in the car.
How much does a real Christmas tree cost? You pay for it according to the height, starting from around $100 for the smaller trees.
Most Christmas Tree Farms will open from the 1st December and your tree should last until Christmas Day. We still had ours up a week after Christmas Day, without much drying out. (Though our house is cooled with evaporative air conditioning which does put moisture into the air.)
You may also find real Christmas trees available as small potted plants in your local Garden Nursery or hardware store, like Bunnings.
Christmas Tree Farms Around Australia:
- Christmas Tree Farm Chandlers Hill
- Santa Trees Christmas Tree Farm
- Christmas Tree Plantation Clarendon
- Killiecrankie Farm Christmas Trees
- Richmond Christmas Tree Farm
- Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm
- Moorooduc Christmas Tree Farm
- Dandenong Christmas Tree Farm
- Daylesford Christmas Tree Farm
- Sunbury Christmas Tree Farm
- Ports Christmas Tree Farm
- Somerville Christmas Tree Farm
- Keysborough Christmas Tree Farm
- North Pole Christmas Tree Farm
- Montrose Christmas Tree Farm
- Fairfield Farm Fresh Christmas Trees
- Cobrahdah Christmas Tree Farm
- Colac Christmas Tree Farm
New South Wales & ACT
- Dural Christmas Tree Farm
- Willy’s Christmas Tree Farm
- Seelands Christmas Tree Farm
- Coramba Farms
- Taree Christmas Tree Farm
- Christmas World at Alexandria
- Top Shape Live Christmas Trees
- Santa’s Farm
- Xmas Tree Bob
- Christmas Tree Keng
- Santa’s Shaped Christmas Trees
- Tomalong Christmas Tree Farm
- Merlino’s Christmas Trees
- Atherton Christmas Tree Farm
- Real Christmas Trees
- Merry Christmas Trees
- Gold Coast Christmas Trees
- Logan River Tree Farm
- Granite Belt Christmas Tree Farm
- Toowoomba Christmas Tree Farm
2. Caring For Your Real Christmas Tree
Do I need to keep a real Christmas tree in water?
Yes, real Christmas trees need to be kept in water just like a bunch of fresh flowers for them to last well and not dry out.
Christmas Tree Tips:
- When you get your Christmas tree home, make sure to cut off about 2.5cm off the bottom of the trunk. This will get get rid of any dried resin that could stop the tree from absorbing water.
- Fill your stand or bucket with at least a litre of water for every 2.5cm of the trunk’s diameter.
- Keep the water level topped up so that the base of the tree stays submerged.
- Make sure your tree is not in direct sunlight or near heat as it will dry out more quickly.
I was surprised how little water our Christmas tree used over the 4-5 weeks we had it up. I think I only needed to add water 2 to 3 times. But then it was kept in a cool spot and was not a large tree.
3. Christmas Tree Stand
What do you keep your real Christmas tree in?
You can purchase a specially made Christmas Tree Stand which can hold your live tree. It also stores the water in a tray and is meant to make it easier to refill. Try your local hardware store, including Bunnings, during the Christmas season for one. Or you can order a Christmas tree stand like the one below online anytime of the year through Ebay.
DIY Christmas Tree Stand
If you don’t want to buy a Christmas tree stand, you can use any bucket or container that can hold water and a few rocks or bricks to keep the tree upright and stable.
We used a 10L plastic bucket with rocks, for our real Christmas tree. Then ended up covering the bucket in Christmas wrapping paper.
4. Christmas Tree Skirt
How can I make the area under the tree a lot prettier (and make sure we don’t spill water on the Christmas presents)?
You will want to get a Christmas tree skirt!
5. Decorating A Real Christmas Tree
The branches of a real Christmas tree are not like the branches of your artificial Christmas tree. REAL tree branches sag when they have weight hanging off them.
Something I only realised after getting the kids to make these cute but heavy clay Christmas ornaments. So you will need to choose Christmas decorations that are light weight to decorate with.
This Christmas tree garland below made of felt wool balls was light and worked well on our real Christmas tree.
And if you are wondering…
Does a real Christmas tree drop a lot of pine needles?
Well that’s what I had heard too but I found ours dropped almost no pine needles. If your real Christmas tree is kept happy, away from direct heat or light and has water, then it shouldn’t shed.
Whether this becomes a life long family Christmas tradition or just something you do once or twice, I encourage you to enjoy the experience of it!