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Take Measure Before Buying the Christmas Tree

It's peak Christmas tree-buying season. Have you bought yours yet? Here are some tips from Bill Allen, Stew Leonard's Norwalk Christmas Shop manager, to help you pick the right tree for your family.

"Customers should ask themselves three questions before they shop," he says.

1. How high is the ceiling in the room where the tree will be displayed?

2. Do you hang heavy ornaments?

3. Do you want a fragrant tree?

Stew's sells four varieties of Christmas tree so finding the right one should be easy.

• Fraser firs , Stew's best sellers, have sturdy branches for heavy ornaments and a light fragrance. Needles last a long time. They range from five to 10 feet high.

• Balsams are the most fragrant with strong branches. Four to eight feet high.

• Douglas firs hold their soft needles the longest, the body of the tree is wider and the branches weaker. Six to 10 feet high.

• Noble firs are best for heavy ornaments. They have strong branches. Seven to eight feet high.

Stew Leonard's Christmas trees are grown on family-owned plantations in Eastern Canada. Growers commit to planting two new saplings for every tree harvested.

Allen recommends buying a tree that is one foot shorter than the ceiling to allow room for a tree-top ornament. So measure your ceiling and remember to take the tape measure to the store. There are few more annoying moments than bringing home a tree only to discover it is too big for its intended room.

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