Lovely Christmas trees prepare to sacrifice their lives to provide us temporary enjoyment. Thanks, trees! You guys rock. Photo by Sonnet.

If you have kids, there's no escaping it. You're going to shell out $50, $75, or even $100 for a Christmas tree this year. How do you get the most for those hard-earned bucks that you'd rather spend on beer? As usual, Grumpy has the answers.

Tip #1. Never let your kid pick out the tree! Little kids have no taste or judgment. That's why they don't read Grumpy. A kid will examine maybe three trees at most and invariably pick out the scrawniest, yellowest, most lopsided, and desiccated tree on the lot. And you'll have to pay for it. Just say no!

Tip #2. If you want a tree with long-lasting needles, pick a fir. Fir trees hold their needles longest by far. The needles are soft to the touch and fill the house with that delightful Christmas tree fragrance. Plus, a fir's tiered branches and pyramidal shape make it easy to decorate. Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is America's most popular Christmas tree, but noble fir (Abies procera) and white fir (Abies concolor) are great too. Let's have a look at their foliage.

This is Fraser fir. The needles are about 1/2 to 3/4-inch long and arranged in V-shaped rows. They're dark green above and silvery underneath. (Photo by Steve Bender.)
This is noble fir. About twice as long as those of Fraser fir, the deep-green needles whorl all around the stems. (Photo by tasiapix.)
And this here is white fir. Its silvery-blue needles are up to 2 inches long and emit a lemony scent when crushed. It's also one of the easier firs to grow outdoors in the South, but is still limited to the Upper and Middle South (USDA Zones 6-7)...

Tip #3. Make sure the tree is fresh when you buy. Run your hand over the needles of a branch. They should feel soft and supple, not brittle. If a lot fall off, find another tree. If the needles are even slightly yellow, find another tree. One garden center near Grumpy ensures freshness by making a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk and then mounting each tree on a spike in a shallow tub of water. His trees cost more, but they're worth it.

More Great Tips from the Grump! Click here to watch a spell-binding and informative video about picking the perfect tree. You head will swell with knowledge! And Dad will at last earn respect.