WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- It may hold the distinction of being the one guest you actively seek out to spend time in your home each year.
The search for the perfect real tree can take you to the retail lot, to the nursery, and everywhere in between. But before you take home that live pine, tree specialists offer these tips.
"Take the branches, some of the smaller branches like this and bend them," says Mark Jenkins, of Johnson's Florist and Garden Center.
If the branches are flexible, they're good. If they break, don't buy the tree.
"Fraser firs are great because they've got strong branches, because they can hold ornaments," says Jenkins.
Jenkins says Frasers hold their needles well too. He says all trees lose some needles, but some lose more than others.
"Balsams and White Pines and things like that, they are faster growing. They dry out just a little bit, all the needles fall off them. White Pine doesn't have branches that can hold hardly any ornaments," says Jenkins.
You'll pay 20 to 30% more for a Noble fir, since they are only grown in the West. But, they have a great look, and strong branches.
There is a tree for every space, no matter how big or small. A great tree needs to have the right cut, and a stand that can hold it's weight.
Jenkins tells people to go one size up. If you buy and 8 foot tree, buy a 10 foot stand, it will hold more water and be more stable.
And, remember to check your water levels every few days to carry your green glory into the new year.