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Leave early this Christmas: which tree is best for you?

Do you think Christmas decorations can be seen earlier every year? Well, in 2020 they sure are. It’s not even December, but they are already twinkling here and twinkling there.

As Joan Collins, pictured by her decorated tree, wrote on Instagram, ‘What else do you have to do during the November lockdown?’

Christmas in November: a John Lewis tree with 'post-impressionist' baubles

Christmas in November: a John Lewis tree with ‘post-impressionist’ baubles

Dame Joan is far from alone. Research by Dobbies Garden Centers has found that nearly a quarter (24 percent) of us will hang up our Christmas trees earlier than usual and John Lewis reports that festive sales are up 62 percent compared to last year, with sales of trees increasing doubled.

Choosing the tree is always a special moment, but with Covid it can be different. To help, John Lewis has launched an innovative tool – the Virtual Christmas Tree – on his app, allowing customers to view a real or artificial tree in their own home, whether decorated or undecorated, and move it around to find the perfect spot before buying . .

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Cassandra Bergland, a John Lewis director.

The real deal

Nothing beats the smell of the real thing. The beautiful 60ft Norway Spruce installed in Covent Garden earlier this month came from Woods Farm in Solihull, West Midlands, which also supplied a tree to the Queen (woodsfarm.co.uk).

‘We’ve seen early demand,’ says Geoff Gilbert, owner of the family business, whose trees range from £ 20 to £ 55.

“A lot of people, who usually spend Christmas away, may be home this year, so they might want to invest in their own tree and decorations.”

A trip to a Christmas tree farm or garden center is allowed under the restrictions. Or you can buy online from places like Dobbies, which stock a variety of shapes and sizes costing £ 45 to £ 75. The site also has a tree care podcast (dobbies.com).

Fantastic fakes

Artificial trees are getting in and out of fashion, but this year are the most realistic yet. John Lewis ‘4ft St Anton Potted Pre-lit Christmas Tree, lets you squint to see if it’s a fake (£ 129, john lewis.com), while Selfridges’ Dunhill tree has a metal stand and can be wiped clean (£ 275, selfridges .com).

For a splurge, see The White Company’s 9ft natural-looking spruce that is pre-lit (£ 595, thewhitecompany.com).

What your home really needs is … a filing cabinet

The Mitchum cabinet has been reduced from £ 1,089.99 to £ 899.99 (wayfair.co.uk)

The Mitchum cabinet has been reduced from £ 1,089.99 to £ 899.99 (wayfair.co.uk)

The Mitchum cabinet has been reduced from £ 1,089.99 to £ 899.99 (wayfair.co.uk)

There’s a fine line between working from home and life at work – and you cross it when your kitchen table is piled high with office obstructions.

That’s why your home really needs a filing cabinet that suits your style.

If your decor is neutral with a hint of rustic chic, Cotswold & Co has a three-drawer cabinet (£ 349, cotswoldco.com).

Ikea’s Idasen would suit those with sharper tastes (£ 150, ikea.com). Maisons du Monde’s eccentric cabinets are delightfully quirky (£ 464.50 to £ 648.50, maisonsdumonde.com).

Or try the Mitchum closet which has been reduced from £ 1,089.99 to £ 899.99 (wayfair.co.uk).

The Range’s Teknik Clifton Place Credenza is inspired by mid-century design (£ 408.49, therange.co.uk).

Credenza, Italian for cabinet, is derived from a custom of placing a nobleman’s food on a cupboard for a servant to taste, to check for poison.

Anne Ashworth

Kitsch delight

If you’re going for fake, some school of thought tells you to use total kitsch.

‘In more recent years, we’ve seen nontraditional trees rise in popularity as they add the wow factor,’ says Katy Higgins, senior seasonal buyer at Wilko, who points out that pre-lit trees also eliminate the hassle of untangling tree-light wires.

Wilko has a glitzy 6ft pre-lit gold artificial tree (£ 20, wilko.com), while Melody Maison has a large gray and silver tree that will add a slightly more subtle pizzazz (£ 162.95, melodymaison.co.uk).

Rent a tree

Eco concerns are driving people to rent trees: the take-up at London Christmas Tree Rental is already high.

“Seven million Christmas trees go to landfill every year and when they rot, they emit greenhouse gases,” said Catherine Loveless, the company’s co-founder. “This year I think people just want to try and do things differently where they can.”

Customers can order online, then choose delivery or pick up and book to have the tree returned in January (£ 48.95 for a 4ft, londonchristmastreerental.com).

Gloucestershire-based Rental Christmas Trees still has 1.25m and 1.5m trees (£ 48 for a 4ft tree; rentalchristmastree.com)

Growing at home

Fancy the eco option, but don’t want to give it back? Then a potted tree is for you. A potted Norway spruce – the traditional tree option – costs £ 49.99 for a 5ft-plus tree, (christmastreesdelivered.co.uk).

For those who live in a small space, online retailer Patch Plants has a Christmas range, including Bruce the Blue Spruce, a mini classic tree (from £ 30, patchplants.com).

“It has an unmistakable scent, one that immediately means Christmas,” says Patch’s Charlotte Craven.

“Plus, because he’s a rooted tree, he’ll be very happy to live outside, get a little bigger every year, and give you a bigger tree every Christmas.”

A tree for life.