Where to buy and what to look out for when choosing a festive fir
Time Out Dubai staff
Choosing your Christmas tree is one of the most crucial tasks in the festive season. We give you some pointers with our handy guide on where to get your hands on one and what type you should go for
Where to buy
Christmas tree stockists in the city have multiplied in the past few years and we’re now spoilt for choice. Most supermarkets, home stores and even some smaller grocery places stock plastic Christmas trees while real trees can be found in plenty of spots.
Satwa Hubaida Road in Satwa turns into a bit of a mini-forest for the festive season with plenty of the stores and nurseries here having Christmas trees for sale. And you can definitely indulge in a little bit of Christmas haggling.
Ace Hardware They always have a great Christmas collection and their selection of trees doesn’t disappoint. Real or artificial, big or small, snow topped or complete with coloured lights, they’ve got them all. Their real trees are shipped from environmentally sustainable plantations in the US, so it’s a good choice for limiting eco-damage. Dubai Festival City (800 275 223) and Sheikh Zayed Road (04 341 1906).
Dubai Garden Centre This store has had expats flocking to it for years in search of their perfect Christmas tree. It stocks Nordman Spruce trees flown in from Denmark and also sells poinsettias and other festive offerings. Open 8am-10pm. Al Quoz Industrial Area 3 (04 340 0006).
Plant Souk Trek over to the area behind Dragonmart for a visit to Dubai’s plant souk where you can pick up a real Christmas tree and get a bit of a bargain in the process. Don’t be afraid to haggle, especially the closer to Christmas it is. Follow the signs for Academic City and Warsan. Academic City Road, Al Aweer.
Oleander Flowers Having been around since the 1970s, this well-established florist always has lots of Christmas trees, poinsettia plants and other festive offerings. Their trees are Canadian balsam fir trees and are available in store from early December. Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, www.oleanderonline.com (04 344 0560).
Spinneys This supermarket stocks a good selection of both real trees and artificial ones. Imported from the States, they are available in store throughout December (while stocks last, of course). Various locations including Mercato Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 6900).
Artificial Trees Lulu, Carrefour, Waitrose, Park’N’Shop, Dragonmart and Home Centre all have imitation trees of varying size, shape, colour and cost.
Think all Christmas trees are made equal? Think again.
Fir trees Firs and spruces appear quite similar, but look to their needles to know what’s what. Fir trees have longer needles that are softer and flatter and can’t be easily rolled between your fingers. People go for fir trees because they are long lasting, and have a nice, sweet fragrance.
Spruce trees The original Christmas tree, spruce’s needles are shorter and sharper than the fir tree’s and can be easily rolled between your fingers. They have a very traditional Christmas tree shape and the blue spruce has a lovely colour that reflects lights and decorations perfectly. The pine needles have a strong scent – similar to a minty/lemon concoction – but the needles tend to drop quite quickly, so don’t buy this one more than a week before Christmas. Pine trees Pine trees are another good Christmas choice, and white pines are great for people with sensitive noses or allergies as they are less pungent than all the other options. Don’t go for this if you have a lot of heavy ornaments though, as the bouncy branches are best suited to smaller, lighter decorations.
Imitation trees The most cost effective choice, these trees can be kept for years and years, don’t drop needles on the floor, are flame retardant and require no maintenance. But avoid trees made out of PVC as this harsh plastic is not only hard on the environment, it can also be bad for your health.
Caring for your tree
Now that you’ve tracked down your ideal Christmas tree and got it home, you need to give it the care it needs, especially if it’s a real one!
When you bring your tree into the house for decorating, make a cut across the trunk one to two inches from the bottom. This allows the tree to take in water, keeping it hydrated. Keep in mind that these
Christmas trees can by thirsty creatures, drinking up to four litres of water a day. Be sure to check the water level in the tree stand daily and keep it topped up.
Position your tree away from fireplaces, heaters, televisions, direct sunlight or any other sources of heat and turn off the tree lights when you’re not at home.
Safety first! Don’t use any flammable decorations, even if your imitation tree tells you it’s fire retardant. Turn off the tree lights before you go to sleep, and never use lit candles as decorations on the tree.
Follow this handy guide to selecting your best Christmas tree to date
1 Measure the height of the ceiling and remember you’ll also need to factor in a tree topper and tree stand.
2 A good tree will be full from top to bottom with no bare patches.
3 Look for sap – the freshest trees will still be producing it and will have some visible sticky patches.
4 The top branch should shoot straight into the air.
5 Choose a tree with a nice base colour – silver or blue will nicely reflect your lights and decorations.
6 Remember that longer branches can hold heavier decorations, whereas branches that are further apart can hold bigger ornaments.