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Quick Tips: Caring for a Real Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Tips
source: Nina Matthews

Although it might seem counterintuitive, using a real Christmas tree is much better for the environment than an artificial tree. Most cut Christmas trees come from local tree farms, and new trees are planted every year to replace those that have been cut. Buying one of these is a great way to support a local business. Artificial Christmas trees are made from PVC and are often manufactured in China, and they may expose you and your children to unhealthy levels of lead.

If you do decide to go with a real tree, it’s important to take special safety precautions because they can become fire hazards if they become dry. Here are some tips for choosing and caring for your tree this Christmas:

1. Choose a tree that looks healthy. Avoid ones with dry or brittle branches or that have already lost a lot of needles.

2. Use a traditional reservoir stand, but make sure it’s big enough for your tree trunk and holds at least a gallon of water. Whittling the trunk to fit will make it harder for the tree to take up the water it needs to stay healthy since the outer layers are the most effective at doing this.

3. Slice off a 1/2″ disk from the bottom of the trunk when you get home to improve water uptake.

4. Keep tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces and heat ducts. Use smaller lights that put off less heat instead of larger bulbs. Keeping your tree cool will slow the drying process, which will help your tree last longer and reduce the amount of water it needs each day. And keeping it away from heat sources obviously lessens the fire hazard as well.

5. Water the tree every day to ensure an adequate water level. Be sure to check the water in relation to the bottom of the tree since the trunk may not reach to the bottom of the reservoir.

6. Always turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

7. After Christmas, be sure to dispose of your tree properly. Avoid burning it in your fireplace, as the sap can create a flash fire. Call your local waste management or recycling company for information on Christmas tree pickup or recycling dates.

Another alternative is to buy a live Christmas tree that you can plant after the holidays. My husband grew up in the house across the street from mine and my parents still live in their home. Whenever we go to visit, we take note of the size of the two huge blue spruce Christmas trees that Sean’s dad planted at the entrance of their driveway when Sean was in elementary school.

Do you put up a real or artificial Christmas tree?