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How to deck the halls right

This holiday season, skip the mall parking lot. There are plenty of more festive places to buy your Christmas tree, or even cut it down yourself. 

This holiday season, skip the mall parking lot. There are plenty of more
festive places to buy your Christmas tree, or even cut it down
yourself.

City Planter

Short on space? This NoLibs gardening center is putting together window planters that boast two or three little evergreens with a red ribbon for about $29. If you’re really itching to keep the tradition alive, they’re also selling potted Norfolk pines, a tropical evergreen that won’t survive outside through the winter. Lug that bad boy inside, slap on some garland and a star and your one-bedroom is set for the season. 814 N. Fourth St., 215-627-6169, www.cityplanter.com

Linvilla Orchards

Linvilla Orchards takes you on a hayride into their orchard, where you’re given a saw and sent out to cut down your own tree. (Just don’t let the thrill go to your head and take home a mammoth, Griswold-style evergreen.) After you find your tannenbaum, Linvilla will haul it back while you enjoy the hayride. All trees are $60; and with more than 40,000 to pick from, you’d better choose wisely.

137 W. Knowlton Rd., Media, 610-876-7116 www.linvilla.com

Maple Acres Farm

They don’t grow the trees themselves at Maple Acres, but this year the semi-local supply comes from Schuylkill County — rather than North Carolina or Georgia like in past years — and they’re grown using minimal chemicals and pesticides. Fraser firs range from $56 to $140 depending on height, and Douglas firs start at $48.2656 Narcissa Rd., Plymouth Meeting 610-828-7395 www.mapleacresfarm

market.com

Tree tips

Dave Prendergast of Greensgrow Farm offers some shopping tips:

1. Make sure that you get the right tree for your house. You don’t want to get home and have a tree that is two feet taller than the room. You just paid for two feet that you are going to have to throw away.”

2. “Trees with shorter needles such as Fraser or Noble fir are often easier to decorate than others, as they offer some space between branches for decorations as well as some stronger stems to hold heavier ornaments.”

3. “The tree should look shiny, green and fresh — not dry or brown. The needles should not fall off in the palm of your hand when you pull on a branch.”

4. “Have the seller make a fresh cut to the trunk of the tree, so that it will be able to drink up water. Place the tree in a bucket of water for at least one day. This will keep it fresh until you place it into your stand. Keep the stand filled with water and check it daily.”

Greensgrow sells tabletop trees starting at $20 — as well as Fraser, Douglas and balsam firs from $25-$60. 2501 E. Cumberland St., 215-427-2702, www.greensgrow.org