I have the perfect Christmas tree. I’m not kidding, our tree this year is perfect, and I’ll tell you where to get the perfect tree for your home too. You know how you schelp to the garden centre every year and uhm, and erm your way around? You know how you argue about which tree is best, and then compromise on a tree that’s not quite right, but will probably fit on the roof of the car? Well I’m the smug person who doesn’t do any of that. Because I go to Pines and Needles.
I’ve talked about Pines and Needles previously, because they’ve gifted me trees a couple of times now. They deliver, I tell you, and urge you to order your own, and avoid the tree burnout of that leaves you fit for nothing but a whole bottle of mulled wine. But this year they’ve gone one better: they’ve installed pop-up Christmas tree shops all over London (and in Bournemouth and St Albans, you lucky devils!), where you can see your tree before you pay for it, and then have it delivered. What’s more, if you show up in person, you’ll be given a treetorial by the excellent staff. So there’s no need to argue about who picked last year’s tree, and who’s fault it is that it was a bare twig by Christmas day!
Essentially, if you’re getting your tree early (like me, like right now!) you’re probably going to want a Nordmann. These guys don’t drop their needles so quickly, and are likely to last till well after Christmas. If you’re last minute, and love a scent of pine when you come down on Christmas morning, you’ll want a spruce. Either way, you’ll be given as much or as little advice as you want, and you’ll find trees of all heights. We picked ours (isn’t it the perfect shape?!) last Thursday evening at around 5pm, and it was delivered that same night, ready to decorate with the kids the next day.
Decorating the perfect tree
Give me full control, and I’ll have our tree meticulously decorated in my favourite pink and gold. But over the years the children have quietly crept into my colour coordinated scene and taken over with their own ideas. This year this rather lovely but not very pink Christmas pudding came home with us in a paper bag from a craft fair. It has pride of place, in amongst the pink.
Decorating the tree is a huge Christmas tradition for us, and we have to do it exactly right. That’s easier said than done, now that our eldest has so many commitments at the weekend, but we managed to squeeze everything in. Basically, our Christmas tree decoration has to happen when we’re all at home. Bing Crosby and Slade go onto the Sonos and stay there for the next 25 days, and there is much consumption of mulled wine and mince pies. The kids get their own version of the ‘wine,’ with Glitterberry J2O – if you don’t know this particular treat, google it, you’ll thank me when you find it.
The tree is laden first with the standard baubles, and then comes the finessing – the placement of all the special ornaments we’ve collected over the years. There’s the Tinkerbell in a glass sphere chosen by the teen girl, when she was very, very small; the tiny crystal penguin my then 3 year old fell in love with and wouldn’t leave the store without; and some sparkly musical instruments purchased by me, when I was single and thought myself super classy! The french horn was claimed by my son though this year. “I think it’s most appropriate that I place this one mum, as I’m learning a brass instrument now!” I’m rather hoping he’ll entertain the grandmas while I’m knocking up a bread sauce on Christmas day!
Then there are the new decorations, the ones we choose each year to top up our collection. This was my 10 year old’s choice, and although it doesn’t fit my colour scheme (I know, I’m a control freak!) I love it so much it has pride of place. In fact, now I look more closely, my elegant colour blending has gone totally out of the window over the last few years, as the kids have taken more control. I always wondered why my parents had such a mish mash of decorations – now I know! I think I’ll take to sitting back with my mulled wine, and not caring too much about the layout in future. Until they leave home, when I’ll just get Pines and Needles to come and decorate a tree for me!
Disclosure: We have been gifted a Christmas tree by Pines and Needles for the purposes of this review. All opinion, and editorial is my own.