The custom of a fresh cut Christmas tree can be traced back to early modern Germany's 15th or 16th century.  The first artificial tree dates back to Germany's 19th century.  Real or artificial, decorating a tree is a tradition of millions spanning the entire globe and all cultures.

I grew up with an artificial tree but today, I make cutting down my own tree a tradition I've enjoyed now for over 15 years. And to me it's worth every effort to do so.

Finding the perfect tree can be a challenge.  The truth is, most of the trees you find at the big box stores were cut down in the Summer months, so they can be processed and shipped to the big retailers in late Fall.

There are many places you can go to select a fresh tree.  If I don't have the time to cut my own, I usually try to stay with locally owned businesses like Agway, Dillenbeck's Florist or Hillside Garden Center.

If buying a pre-cut tree, the trick is finding the freshest tree possible for your money.  If you take a few extra minutes, you should find a tree that will last through the holidays.

Check out this short video for a few tree pointers.