Last year, we shared some tips to help make your Christmas tree hunt less stressful. As one of the central symbols of the holiday, finding the right tree can become less fun than it should be. Instead of creating memories that you’ll want to revisit, it becomes a hassle you’d rather forget. Instead, there are other ways you can cut a little stress from your Christmas tree hunt and make your holidays a bit more joyous.

Research the Lot a Lot

When it comes to picking out where you’re getting a tree, it pays to really dig into the lot or farm where you’ll be buying it. These days, you can read reviews about most known tree distributors so you’re not caught unawares by the quality or price of the trees you’ll find. You’ll want to make sure that when you arrive, you’ll have good options to choose from instead of half-dead trees that you’ll either need to deal with or scramble to find another place to buy one. Even a quick search of reviews can potentially steer you away from bad deals or less-than-reputable sellers.

While you’re researching where you’ll buy the trees, you should also look into what services they offer. On the day, these can relieve a lot of stress in the picking and retrieving of the tree. You should see if they offer tools like saws or even sleds to help you get the tree back to your car. Some farms may even offer to help you carry the tree or get it ready to go home. Others may offer warm-up areas on especially cold days. Not everywhere has these offerings, so do a little searching if those sound appealing to you.

Get Your Tree in Advance

You can make the tree-getting process even easier by getting your tree before you actually go to pick it up. Some tree lots or farms will allow you to either pick out a tree earlier in the year, which guarantees you a tree before the holiday rush begins. Others allow you to reserve a time slot on their farm. This can prevent a lot or farm from getting overcrowded as you search for a tree. Without the long lines or competition for trees, your day may go a lot smoother. Some farms even allow you to make a reservation, where you set a time and pick up a pre-cut tree that’s ready for your time slot. Maybe the easiest, least stressful way to get a tree is by ordering online. There are now tree farms that will ship Christmas trees directly to your home. The main downside of this is that you’re not able to inspect the tree before buying it. If that doesn’t bother you or the convenience outweighs the risk, it may cut out a lot of the stress involved with finding and bringing home your tree.

Get a Smaller Tree

A giant Christmas tree may be that iconic image of the holiday, but there are definitely situations where a smaller tree makes more sense. If you have less living space or you spend less time at home, you may not feel the need to get a large tree. If you still prefer a real tree over an artificial one, a small tree may be perfect for you.

There are many benefits to a smaller tree. They are often easier to cut down and move, since they’ll weigh less and not be as bulky. By the same logic, a smaller tree will be easier to transport home. Some lots will charge less for smaller trees, though this isn’t everywhere. The smaller surface area of the tree also means there’s less space to decorate.

Tips for Getting Rid of the Tree

Ironically, one of the most stressful parts of getting a Christmas tree is getting rid of it. Depending on where you live, you may have more freedom in how you dispose of your Christmas tree. In a city or town, you may be able to have it taken with the trash curbside or drop it off at a community site or collection event. Some tree lots or farms will also accept old Christmas trees back after the season. You likely won’t get any money back for them, but it can be a convenient way to dispose of them. If you have a fireplace or live in a more rural area, you could also cut up your tree for firewood once it has dried. Just make sure you’re being safe whenever you have a fire.

Then there is the hassle of removing and cleaning up after the tree. Maybe the easiest way to do this is with a tree disposal bag. These are large, generally plastic bags that go over or under the tree. Most bags come in different sizes so you can get one that fits all your tree, completely surrounding it. This prevents needles from making a mess as you get rid of the tree and keeps you from getting poked. If you don’t have a bag, a large sheet or towel can have a similar effect. Don’t try to remove the tree by yourself. It’ll be much easier and safer to get help, with at least one person on the front and one on the back of the tree.

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Don’t turn into a grinch this year when you’re trying to find your decoration’s centerpiece. Whether you’re reserving your tree in advance or picking out a smaller, more manageable tree, finding your Christmas tree can be more fun and less frustrating. Good luck, and happy holidays!