Sunday 3 December 2017

1st UK Real Christmas Tree with Pines and Needles, St Albans - Review

We have started a new UK Christmas tradition this year by introducing my children to the magic of real Christmas trees. We travelled this week on a cold and dark night to our local Pines and Needles Christmas tree store in St Albans, Hertfordshire. We were invited by the marketing team of Pines and Needles to visit store and pick out a tree.
My first real Christmas tree was given to me when I was only 2 days old. I have many happy childhood memories of travelling with my grandparents or parents to the local Christmas tree farm to pick out tree for my bedroom in Oregon, USA. We would always have beautiful main tree that my mother would cover with thousands of lights and delicate glass ornaments but my siblings and I would always have a Christmas tree also in our room with our personal collections of decorations.

Since living in England for over 10 years now with my husband, I have not been able to continued the tradition of a real Christmas tree. We have always had a main artificial tree in the sitting room and my children have their own personal artificial trees since they were little. Big Sister has 3 feet tree that she decorates each year with handmade felt ornaments and Little Brother has 1 foot tree.

I was very excited this year to share my love on real Christmas trees with my children when we were asked to visit the local Pines and Needles where apple pies and chocolates were immediately offered to the children. The St Albans is pop-up store has moved this year to across the Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre. The tree lot is lighted with bright lights and a wooden hut is filled with festive wreathes, decorations and lights.

The two options of cut trees that are available to purchase from Pines and Needles included the Nordmann fir and the Norway spruce. Both grown in Pines and Needles' family farm in Scotland. The Norway spruce is many recommend for outdoor use because it sheds it needles quicker than the Nordmann fir.

The Nordmann fir made the ideal first Christmas tree for our family because it is known to not lose its needles for at least 4 weeks in your home, and it has soft, waxy needles on strong branches that make decorating with small hands enjoyable. I really love our Nordmann tree with its even shape and nice space between layers of branches for ornaments (or babbles) of all sizes.
My family and I were only at the Pines and Needles for around 10 minutes because we quickly found a tree that a great shape and colour. This tree would have passed my father's inspection of no brown died needles at the bottom and straight trunk. The helpers at the store were very patient as we chose between two trees. As the "expert tree hunter", I made the final decision and the children seemed happy with our choice. We live outside the St Alban's store delivery area so the tree was netted and put in our car.  I think my children's favourite part of this new adventure was running between the trees and the apple pie that was offered for the car ride home. 

Next year, we will definitely be getting another real tree from Pines and Needles but probably visit during the daytime. I would have loved to spent more time looking at the wreaths and other items in the wooden hut. Please watch our short video of my children's "first tree hunting" experience and we will be sharing our decorated tree over on social media may times the next couple weeks.  Remember to check water often in your tree stand especially the first couple weeks. 

I would love to hear if you prefer an artificial tree or real tree?

I was gifted a tree and this review is honest in my own words. Thank you!

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