8 tips for buying, maintaining the perfect Christmas tree

Avoid turning into a Grinch (or Griswold) this holiday season!

Buying and decorating the Christmas tree is one of the most fun parts of the holiday season, but make sure to play your cards right to avoid a festive failure.

To help find the best symbol of Christmas cheer, Amy Brightfield from "Better Homes and Garden" met with the Good Morning America team to share these dos and don'ts:

1.) Research type of trees
Before buying your Christmas tree, make sure you know what kind of tree you want. Pines and firs have softer needles than other trees, for example, and may be better for a family with young children.

Brightfield said you should look for a tree with a rich green color.

2.) Buy your tree after Cyber Monday
Research says that prices for live trees start to decrease after Cyber Monday.

Buying during the week instead of on a busy weekend is also cheaper. Fewer people are out buying, and sellers might be more willing to negotiate or mark down prices to draw a crowd.

If you can hold out until the week before Christmas, you can save about 22%, according to data from Square.

3.) Look for even color
A Christmas tree's colors should be uniform -- watch out for dull gray spots.

4.) Check for falling needles
Run your hand along the branches to make sure needles don't come off.

5.) Make sure the tree is fresh
Shoppers can make sure a tree is fresh by feeling its trunk - if it's sticky, it's fresh. Also, make sure the tree farm trims the bottom of the tree to help it absorb water.

6.) Measure, measure, measure!
... so you can avoid having to jump to reach the top like Buddy the Elf. Bring a tape measure along, or use your own height for size.

7.) Keep it watered
Brightfield said the stand should always be fully hydrated using warm water. The frequency of watering all depends, so make sure to check the tree often.

8.) Watch out for direct heat
Keep your tree away from the fireplace or other heat sources that could dry it out. This is also a matter of safety, since dry Christmas trees are big fire hazards.
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