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Today was the day our family chose to make the annual pilgrimage out to the Christmas tree farm to make the perfect selection for the season. With that being said, here are my “Top Ten” tips in choosing your Christmas Tree.

10. Even though it is billed as a “family” outing … take as few members of the family as possible (easier to reach agreement).

9. It is definitely worth it to invest a vacation day so that you can go on a week day when the lot is not packed out – makes for a much more relaxing outing. Also you can choose a day when the weather is favorable so you don’t end up freezing to death.

8. Do not be quick to respond to the multitude of requests for input: “What do you think about this one?” If you pay attention to your wife’s facial expressions you should be able to figure out which tree to support.

7. Inspect the tree thoroughly for dead branches or any hidden varmints that you don’t want unleashed in your living room.

6. Try to go late in the day so that you can use approaching darkness as an impetus to speed up the decision making.

5. Don’t drag the tree through the mud to get it back to your vehicle. They might put it through the shaker and bale it for you … but they are not going to hose it down.

4. Put up a stiff fight if the suggestion comes up to check out other tree farms before finalizing the decision. Fall back on the argument that the drought of several years ago has depleted the quality across the board.

3. Watch out for those gaping holes that cannot be hidden or covered with bulky ornaments. Be sure to check out the appearance from every angle. You also want to make sure the branches are strong enough to hold your precious ornaments.

2. Avoid the “too bushy” look. We are picking a tree … not shrubbery. If your lot doesn’t take the time to trim the trees to the appropriate shape you should not waste your time there. In gauging the height … take into account what branches will need to be trimmed off the bottom so that the trunk will fit into your stand.

1. Avoid at all costs having your selection made fun of as a “Charlie Brown tree.” This should be a fun activity … not an occasion to suffer abuse.