Picking the perfect Christmas tree

6:46 PM, Dec 7, 2013   |    comments
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When it comes to Christmas trees, here's a quick way to measure for freshness:

Grab a fist-full of branches near the middle of the tree and slide your hand out. If you come up with a handful of needles, you have a dry tree.

A few needles means it's well-watered and fresh.

"You always want to make sure your tree has plenty of water," said Greg Holzer, who works for the Almond, Wisc.-based Rosenthal Trees and has made the trek from the Badger State to Brevard County for more than 20 years to sell live Christmas trees.

The Rosenthal Trees tents, in Suntree and on Merritt Island, are among numerous places around the Space Coast to purchase live Christmas trees. The businesses typically open right around Thanksgiving and remain open until Christmas Eve.

Retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Publix and Walmart also sell live trees, which come from as close as Georgia to as far away as Oregon.

Prices vary, of course, but a typical five-foot tree runs about $40.

And when it comes to Christmas trees, there's always that debate: Which is better, a real tree or an artificial one?

Some of the arguments favoring artificial trees are that they're cheaper in the long run, don't shed needles or drip sap and don't need watering.

"We used to get live trees but they are expensive, make a mess and you have to water them," said Melissa Flammio-Clark of Melbourne who last year purchased a seven-foot artificial tree, with lights attached. "And I had to replace some of my hardwood flooring because of a leaky base. Now I just take it out of the box, plug it in, put the ornaments on. Done."

Madge Wilson of Melbourne, who last week purchased a six-foot tree at Windy Ridge Tree Farm lot on Wickham Road, favors a real tree for many reasons.

There's the tradition as well as the scent of pine that wafts around the house through the holidays, and even lingers after she and her husband dispose of the tree.

"And for me," Wilson said, "having a real tree reminds me of when my brother and I use to go out each holiday and cut down our tree for Christmas. You know you have to enjoy these things that God gives us."

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