Our Grumpy Gardener gives his official endorsement for the best Christmas tree ever, plus the stand that you need this season.


There can be no argument. The best Christmas tree for decorating indoors is the Fraser fir (Abies fraseri). Why? For starters, it's native to the South, growing high in the Appalachian Mountains. Plus, its deep green, soft needles hang on longer than those of pines and spruces and also exude that legendary Christmas tree fragrance. Finally, nicely spaced, layered branches make it easy to decorate. Now that you know what kind of tree to buy, you need to know how to buy. First, get the freshest you can find. The needles must be dark green, not yellowish, and should not drop when you brush your hand over them. As soon as you get the tree home, cut an inch off the bottom of the trunk to help it absorb water. Place the end of the trunk in a bucket of water, and store it in the shade until you take it inside. Once it's indoors, place it away from a drying heating vent or fireplace, and keep the tree stand filled with water.

Grumpy takes a stand: Krinner Christmas Tree Genie XXL ($83.15; amazon.com) is pricey but so steady and easy to use.

Once you have found the perfect tree, find inspiration for your decorating here. We hope you have a wonderful Holiday season!