Are you a fan of real or fake? Christmas trees, that is!
Normally we tend to opt for an artificial tree, not least as it can be a hassle going out to buy a real Christmas tree.
Not only do you have to lug it to your car, then load it in (perhaps finding it doesn’t fit too well….), but you’ve also got the task of unloading it and squeezing it through your front door when you get home. And all that before you even start thinking about putting it up and decorating it.
That’s why the idea of having a fresh Christmas tree delivered right to your home was something that appealed to us.
Pines and Needles are a specialist Christmas tree company who do just that. They have nearly 20 years of experience and provide premium quality trees grown on their own sustainable plantations.
As members of the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association they adhere to strict standards regarding sustainability. For example, for every tree that’s cut down, three more are replanted.
The Pines and Needles trees
Pines and Needles sell a range of popular Christmas trees:
* The Nordmann Fir – ideal for indoor use, as its needles aren’t too pointy and it’s relatively non-drop
* The Fraser Fir – these are grown in their pots to help them have a longer survival rate. You also gain the benefit of being able to keep them growing outside after Christmas.
* The Norway Spruce – a traditional Victorian style Christmas tree, which does drop its needles. This is good for outdoor use, or if you’re only having a tree up indoors for a short time.
The Pines and Needles service
If you live in London then you’ll gain the benefit of having your tree delivered directly from the Pines and Needles team. This involves a Santa hat and kilt clad delivery driver (reflecting the Scottish heritage of the company), who’ll carry your tree into your home and even set it up. If you’re short on time, you can even get help with decorating your tree.
Sadly if you’re not in London, you don’t get the hats and kilts (unless you have a good imagination…) as they use an external courier service, and they are not able to install your tree. You’ll be given a day for delivery, but not a specific time, but you will be kept in the loop with a text message confirmation that your tree is on its way.
The tree set up
The tree arrived nicely contained in secure netting and wrapped in festive red packaging. It also came with a self-watering stand – an important aspect to keep the tree fresh, watered and reduce the risk of the needles dropping.
The instructions on the stand recommended cutting off 1cm of trunk before putting it in the stand, to help the tree access the water better. It wasn’t what we were expecting to do and proved easier said than done (especially as we ended up having to do it on the kitchen floor), but as the trunk base was a tad wonky, we did persevere and do this.
Once chopped, it was time to get it into the stand. Again, there were instructions provided about how to secure the tree and it sounded easy, but in all honesty it didn’t seem to be for us.
You definitely needed at least two people – one to hold the tree in place and the other to screw and tighten the bolts in the base around the trunk. Two of ours seemed to tighten fine, but one kept coming loose, causing the tree to lurch. During the process of doing this, we did find some needles dropped, but with all the tree man-handling, it’s not entirely surprising.
For a (long) while, we perfected the art of having a leaning Christmas tree, fully suited to Pisa. But eventually we got it secured enough to step away from the tree without fear of it falling over. Hurrah!
It was time to get the netting off…..
And, wow, the tree fell into shape effortlessly (way less effort than trying to get an artificial tree branches to fall into a realistic shape). Phew, it was worth the battle with the stand!
Then it was the fun bit – the decorating!
This year we chose a colour scheme of red, gold and silver and used a selection of our favourite tree decorations. Christmas is definitely a time for family, so it only seems right to use decorations handed down from family members, as well as some of our favourites collected over the years and one or two new ones (who can resist a new bauble or two each year?!).
The Fresh Design verdict
The tree – We were really impressed with the quality and shape of the tree – it’s the perfect looking Christmas tree. The pine scent is gorgeous.
The stand – The stand sounded great, but in reality we found it tricky to manage and hard to get the tree fully secure. Maybe we just didn’t have the right knack?!
The service – Having a tree delivered directly to your door is great and definitely much easier than having to lug it home yourself, so full marks for this.
We think the delivery service in London, and especially having people to set the tree up for you, sounds excellent and it would certainly help solve the problems we had with getting the tree up straight and secure in the stand.
We also like the fact that when Christmas is over and done with, you can book Pines and Needles to come and collect the tree and recycle it for you – perfect!
Special Pines and Needles offer – and free gifts!
If you love the sound of Pines and Needles and are keen to try the service yourself, then we’ve got a special code you can use to get even better value for money!
Quote the code, “FRSH14” when you place an order and you’ll receive a free mini Christmas tree, holly and mistletoe – perfect for getting your home fully into the festive mode!
And if you solve the knack of how to get the tree to stand upright super quickly in the stand, please tell us your secret!