We always get a live Christmas tree. My family did when I was growing up and now we do too. It would be cheaper in the long run to get a fake tree, but I can’t resist the beautiful pine smell. And while the needles can get a little messy, it’s so authentic that it’s worth it. Plus it’s not too expensive around here: we can get a pretty big tree for $40-50.
We usually get our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, so about a month before Christmas. That’s a lot of time for it to get dry and brittle if the tree isn’t cared for properly. I’ve learned a couple tips over the years that have helped us keep our Christmas trees alive and fresh.
I won’t add the obvious “pick out a fresh tree” to the list below as that should be a given. If you pick out the lonely Charlie Brown tree in the back of the lot, well… you get what you get. I really can’t say anything about that though – I am the sucker who feels bad for that tree and wants to get it. Luckily I have a logical husband who steers me in the other direction. But I digress…
3 Tips for Keeping Your Christmas Tree Alive
1. Make a fresh cut in the base of the trunk. You don’t have to drill holes in the base, just cut an inch or so off. This encourages the tree to suck up water. We learned this tip from the pros at our favorite Christmas tree farm.
2. Try to avoid putting the tree near a heat vent or in direct sun as this will dry the tree out faster. Sometimes it can’t be avoided if the only space you have in your living room is in a bright sunny window, but it’s something to consider if your tree is consistently dry and brittle by Christmas morning. If you can’t move the tree, you might want to wait an extra week before bringing your tree home.
3. Water the tree as soon as possible and never let it dry out. Check the water levels daily. Once the water dries up, it can start a downward spiral resulting in dry needles that fall off.
I’ve read stories about people adding crushed aspirin or even corn syrup or sugar to the water, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Lots of plain water with a little TLC when you bring it home is key to keeping your Christmas Tree alive.