Search for the perfect tree

Christmas: They come in all shapes, sizes and species

Taking a look: Jeff Tarnowski scans branches as he looks for the perfect Christmas tree at Jespersen Solvang Tree Farm on Saturday

It’s an age-old tradition.

Each year, families gather their children, pile into their cars, and search for the perfect Christmas tree.

But what makes the perfect tree?

A Concolor fir, a Douglas fir, a Grand fir or even a fake fir, are popular holiday trees.

But it depends on who you ask.

Resident Luke Wocknitz was tree hunting with his family on a snowy Saturday afternoon at Jespersen Solvang Tree Farm, when his parents shared with the Observer that he makes the final decision on a tree.

His idea of a perfect tree is “dark green and really like bushy.”

Wocknitz described his living room as fairly large, which can fit a seven to eight-foot tree.

Tree hunting for Wocknitz is a family affair.

“We all decide which tree is best and we decide if it’s going to fit, to make sure it’s not too wide and too tall. (But) not a four-foot Charlie Brown tree,” said Wocknitz.

Last year was the first year Wocknitz’s family had a real tree, making the perfect tree a real one for the family.

“The idea of a real Christmas tree just sounded better. It just smells nicer and it’s funner to set up,” he said.

The process of picking a tree is standard for Wocknitz.

Wocknitz cuts it down himself, and the family places the tree in a stand before dusting off the lights and decorations from the shed.

They use crafts which Wocknitz and his sister created in elementary school to decorate the tree.

They also break a few bulbs every year.

At the tree farm in Salmon Arm, owner/operator Ed Jespersen described the perfect tree growing up, while offering hot chocolate and warming up by the fire.

Jespersen’s Christmas tree is “full and wide and tall, we like them to be about eight-feet tall.”

Douglas firs are the main trees Jespersen sells.

“For us when we started we decided to go with the Douglas because they’re natural to this climate and they are a fast-growing fir and the smell of them, to us, is the smell of Christmas. The real tree has the real thing, it has the smell.”

The tree farm offers three types of trees in different seasons: Douglas fir, Grand fir, and the Concolor fir.

It takes the Douglas fir seven years to grow, reaching about six feet, but it is a popular Christmas tree because it grows faster than a Grand fir, and it’s bushy, said Jespersen.

The Douglas is an evergreen conifer species which is native to western North America.

The Grand firs are a blue-green colour, like a spruce, but have soft needles, said Jespersen.

The Concolour fir is lighter in colour, and is native to the Western United States.

Jespersen’s wife Robyn prefers the Grand fir, saying it has a citrus smell.

They decorate their tree with a woodland theme.

The Christmas tree was originally a pagan ritual, using evergreen trees to liven the living room as the trees stay green year round, according to the History channel.

Germany was the first country to start the tradition in the 16th century, when Christians brought trees into their homes.

It wasn’t until 1846 that it became popular in America when Queen Victoria, who was popular with her subjects, was sketched in the London News with her family and a Christmas Tree.

It became popular with the fashionable East Coast Americans and, by 1890, ornaments arrived from Germany.

In Canada, Christmas became popular when Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, put a tree in Windsor Castle in 1848.

 

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