If you're getting a real tree this year, make it last with our top tips for ultimate Christmas tree care.

Before you buy

Cut trees should be fresh when purchased.

The needles should not be dull and dried up.

The branches should not be brittle.

The outer needles should not fall off if the tree is gently shaken.

Once it's home

If you're not bringing the tree in straightaway, keep it outside in a cool shaded place, preferably standing in water.

Cut off about half an inch from the end of the trunk.

Mount it in a water-holding stand or wedge it in a bucket with pebbles, small stones or screwed up newspaper.

Place it away from direct heat.

Keep the container topped up with water every day - it will probably need more than you'd think.

Real Christmas trees and stands are now on sale at our Tavistock store.