Review: Christmas Tree from Pines and Needles

Mass national consumption of American movies and TV shows has created an image of the perfect Christmas tree purchase in our national psyche.  In this festive utopia, we pile our excited, rosy-cheeked brood into some enormous station wagon, snow gently falling, and head off to some kind of urban forest of perfectly-shaped trees, all yearning to be bedecked with yards of tinsel and boxes of decorations.  The reality can sadly more often be a slightly panicked trip to the local garden centre, children squabbling, parents stressing about the never-ending lists, and the only trees on offer some rather lopsided, limp offerings, resembling the dashed hopes of Christmas past.  But families of Britain, no more!  We have a solution.

Having been laid up most of the week with yet another ghastly chest infection and cold, it was such a relief that our Christmas tree was already ordered and being delivered on Wednesday.  Last year I refused to entertain the idea of getting a Christmas tree until after Tatiana had arrived, so her being a week 'late' meant we didn't have a tree until just a few days before Christmas, not nearly long enough to enjoy it in the build up to Christmas.  So when online Christmas tree seller Pines and Needles (see what they did there?) offered to send us a tree early in December, we jumped at the chance.  A whole month to enjoy our tree - yay!

Having only a small car and never enough time to do everything, ordering a Christmas tree online is perfect for us.  My only niggling doubt was whether the tree would be as good as one we might choose ourselves.  We were kindly sent a 6ft Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree, delivered by courier in amazing but slightly thirsty condition, and it's just gorgeous!  I need not have worried at all.  The only difference to our normal supplier was that the trunk was cut slightly shorter, but luckily we were also sent a new Water-Holding 'Cinco' Stand, which we put to immediate use.  Our thirsty tree is being kept fully topped up with water and should last 4-5 weeks.  Did you know they can drink a litre or more of water a day?

Pines and Needles can deliver one of their perfect trees straight to your door, via one of their named and festively-attired drivers in London, and via courier to the rest of the UK.  If you are in London they can even put the lights and decorations on for you in situ, your own or new ones ordered from the site.  How amazing would that be?!  If you are absolutely determined to choose your own tree, Pines and Needles have Christmas tree stores throughout London and also in St Albans and Bournemouth.  Pines and Needles grow all of their own trees on plantations in Scotland and handpick only the very best.  Having been selling trees for almost 20 years, they certainly know what they're doing and we are delighted with ours.  If you are still in any doubt about the environmental issues of artificial vs real, read this article and Pines and Needles sustainability page.  I am certainly in the real camp.

The Nordmann Fir is renowned for its needle retention and ours looks magnificent with its bushy, dark green foliage.  We just have to persuade the cats and the baby to stop eating it (very high in vitamin C I hear), and stop the girls picking pine needles to make soups for dollies!

And on to the decorating.  It's always lovely to see the old decorations re-appear, evoking memories and questions from the girls.  they all have their 'First Christmas' baubles, and other special ones they have chosen.  Then there's the salt dough taxi cab from the Christmas I stayed with friends in New York, the treasured buys from Moscow and St Petersburg, and some beautiful baubles and ornaments received as gifts over the years.  Tatiana is the only to have added to our collection this year so far, choosing some lovely sleigh bells in Wilko the other day, it's amazing how far she can reach from the sling now!  Here she is putting her decorations on the tree:

I managed to suppress my inner perfectionist for an hour while the girls hurled every decoration they could find at the lower branches of the tree, and then quietly had a bit of a re-arrange after they went to bed.  I even let Steve put the lights on without too much, ahem, direction.  In the end I think we all did very well.  Merry Christmas everyone!

If you are looking for inspiration for your tree decorations, have a look at our Christmas decorations posts, they can be found under the Christmas tab at the top there.