Where to buy a real Christmas tree
Understanding Christmas Tree Grades
- Christmas trees are categorised as either 1st grade also known as premium or standard quality trees and 2nd grade also known as standard value or budget trees.
- 1st grade trees are bushy and very symmetrical with medium to high density foliage. They can have up to one industry recognised cosmetic flaw which is not usually a concern to customers.
- 2nd grade trees should still be healthy but are less symmetrical with 2 or more industry recognised cosmetic flaws. 2nd grade trees typically sell at around 30% less than their premium counterparts. If you start seeing bigger discounts its probably because the health of the trees is questionable or stock is becoming end of line.
- The best place to shop depends on the grade of trees you're looking to buy and your price point. Nurseries and garden centres typically stock 1st grade trees, sometimes with budget options too. Market stalls can offer either depending on the location.
- Box stores and supermarkets generally offer cheap trees in both price and quality which may start to look a bit bedraggled by Christmas day.
Order your Christmas tree online
- If you're comfy in your armchair by the fire at home and don't fancy braving the freezing temperatures outdoors, ordering your Christmas tree online for delivery to anywhere in the UK on a date of your choosing is worth considering. At Jackson's Nurseries we have an excellent range of trees including the low needle drop Nordmann Fir, traditional Norway Spruce, Serbian Spruce and table-top Alberto White Spruce. Many of our trees are grown on site and cut or dug fresh throughout the Christmas season. We are more than happy for you to put specific requirements (e.g. bushy or broad base) in the notes to your order so we can pick the perfect tree for you. We've put together guides on different types of real Christmas trees and how to care for a real Christmas tree to help.
Buying from your local garden centre
- If you're based in Staffordshire and fancy a drive out to the countryside, our nursery in Bagnall in the Staffordshire Moorlands also has a Tea Room and Farm Shop. We pride ourselves on using a traditional style of homemade cooking and baking using only the finest locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. We have an exciting Festive Menu and Specials board, not to mention our welcoming staff and a heart-warming central open log fire. Our Farm Shop is stocked with a wide range of specialities including our very own homemade festive cakes, bakes and pies. We also have wonderful gift ideas, from jewellery to homeware and greeting cards for all occasions. The nursery has stunning views out over the Peak District with the added attraction of deer, a small aviary and children's play area.
- Wherever you are based, buying from a nursery or garden centre nearby will help support local businesses and if they grow their own trees allows farmland to be put to use by families that may otherwise lie fallow.
- Promising best prices, large chain stores typically sell 2nd grade Christmas trees and are only worth considering if you're on a very tight budget. Their mix of cut and potted trees spans Fraser Fir, Norway Spruce, Nordmann Fir and Blue Spruce but is a bit haphazard in terms of the sizes available.
- If convenience is more important than the family experience of selecting a Christmas tree, some supermarkets have started selling Christmas trees. The British Christmas Tree Growers Association has in the past said that the rising number of supermarkets selling trees meant that many were now being bought as part of a "boring shopping trip". Whilst the prices are cheap, don't expect a quality tree that will survive the festive season.
- With London's population at nearly 9 million people, it's not surprisingly that it makes good hunting grounds for Christmas tree retailers who often charge a sizeable premium compared to online and other retailers. Greenwich market is one of many examples where pop-up shops spring up.
- There are some long-standing operators delivering high quality trees if you don't mind paying a very premium price - often much higher than Christmas trees for London delivery from Jackson's Nurseries. The logistics of getting your tree home can also be a bit of a challenge to say the least.
- Traffic is naturally busier than usual during the Christmas shopping season and we can only imagine that cramming a 6Ft Nordmann Fir into the tube to looks of annoyance from fellow passengers is about as awkward as it sounds!
- Manchester city centre Christmas markets give you the opportunity to pick a tree after a day of retail therapy and mulled wine. There's usually a stall selling them in Exchange Square or Albert Square, with prices ranging from around £10 to £30 depending on the size. There is also an ice rink which normally opens in Cathedral Gardens. If you go for this option best to wait until you've finished the rest of your shopping before buying, otherwise you'll end up carrying it around with you all day.
For more information on Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market visit their website - https://www.visitmanchester.com
- Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market brings the city to life, attracting visitors from across the city and UK. Signalling is just around the corner, the market has run for over 15 years and is the centrepiece of the city's Christmas events. There has been a Christmas tree stall at the market in recent years offering Nordmann Fir trees in a range of sizes, alongside delicious German food and drink to tickle your taste buds, including pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts and roasted almonds washed down with glühwein, weissbeer, or a hot chocolate.
For more information on Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market visit their website - https://www.germanchristmasmarketbirmingham.com
Christmas Tree Buying Advice
- It's vital cut trees are fresh when bought. Pay special attention to make sure the needles are not dry and dull or branches brittle, particularly if buying in mid to late December. At Jackson's Nurseries we grown many of our own trees on site which are cut regularly throughout December, so you can rest assured that you're getting a freshly cut tree whenever you choose to buy.
- Needles on the outer part of the tree should not fall off when the tree is gently shaken. Some loss of internal needles is normal as these are naturally shed over the life of the tree.
- To check a tree's freshness, pull your hand along a couple of the branches to the ends or drop the tree onto its base from 1 foot (30cm) above the ground. Needles on a healthy tree should not fall off.
- If choosing your own tree from a nursery, bend a needle between your thumb and forefinger. It should form a "U" shape without breaking, unless the needles are frozen.
- If you're buying from a local nursery, compare the weights of different trees. The best trees will be heavier (not as dried out), bushier and have a straight central stem or "leader".