When to Put Up a Christmas Tree, According to Tree Experts

Christmas tree decorating

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It seems like everywhere you look there are Christmas trees springing up. Everyone gets in the festive season at different times and while it seems as if Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year, it really is a personal preference as to when you put your tree up. Of course there are things to consider like if you want a real tree or not, but at the end of the day if you want to put your tree up in October, go for it. If you want to wait until the day after Thanksgiving, do it. And if you want to wait until December, that’s fine too!

Still, we wanted to see what the pros thought. We spoke with a couple of Christmas tree experts to find out when they think the best time to put up a Christmas tree is and here’s what they had to say.

Meet the Expert

When Is the Ideal Time to Put Up A Tree?

“The ideal time to put up a Christmas tree really depends on preference," says Mike Lyons, owner of Christmas Trees in the Mail. "Some people love to have it up before Thanksgiving for their celebrations. Others don’t even want to think about Christmas until Thanksgiving is over." In his business, Lyons sees it all. "We always have all types of customers. Some even order it to arrive a few days before Christmas, keep it up for a few days, then throw it away the day after.” 

It really comes down to personal preference, and even tradition. “I think the perfect day to put up a tree is Black Friday,” says Jarann Peoples, a Christmas tree stylist. “That’s the day I would always decorate my mother’s tree while visiting for Thanksgiving.” But, other things that are huge factors are whether you go with real or artificial tree. Your real tree only lasts so long so you need to keep that in mind. “One week before or after Thanksgiving are ideal times if you are using an artificial tree. If you’re using a real tree, then three weeks before Christmas is when I believe the tree should be put up,” says Peoples.

Is Christmas Coming Earlier?

It seems like Christmas started the day after Halloween this year. Social media channels exploded with content showing Halloween decorations going down and Christmas decorations going up. “Overall, I have noticed that more people are buying earlier,” says Lyons. “Recently we’ve received a lot of requests for trees to be delivered in the first week of November. Our trees aren’t even cut then. I’ve had to explain to many people that even if we cut them earlier, if you put a tree up that early it probably won’t survive until Christmas.”

Peoples started decorating artificial trees for her clients as early as October this year. “Of course everyone would prefer right before Thanksgiving or a few days after Thanksgiving but those spots are taken quickly,” says Peoples. “I have noticed since the pandemic more Christmas trees are being put up in homes as soon as Halloween ends. People are doing what makes them happy.”

Christmas tree decor

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Once Your (Real) Tree Is Up, Keep it Looking Fresh

Christmas Trees in the Mail sells two types of trees, balsam fir and fraser fir. Most trees have a life cycle of 4 to 6 weeks if you care for them properly. “Maintain water. Especially week one when it drinks the most," advises Lyons. "If the stand has no water the sap from the tree could create a seal on the base of the trunk." Make sure you’re continuously topping up the water in your Christmas tree stand and of course keep it away from heating vents to avoid the trees getting crispy and needles dropping.

And if you go to buy your tree in person, give it a really good look.  “I suggest making sure you are actually selecting a fresh tree," suggests Peoples. "During the selection process, if it’s a pine tree, bend the needles. Make sure the needles bend and not break. Once the tree is home, trim the bottom of the tree by cutting a half inch off the base before placing it in water. This will help with water absorption.”