How to Keep a Christmas Tree Alive for the Holidays

If you put your tree up in November, there's always a chance your tree will dry out. Make sure that doesn't happen by following these tips.

How to Keep a Christmas Tree Alive at Home

First, cut an inch or so off the bottom of the trunk. The fresh wood can absorb more water, so the tree will stay fresher longer. Check the trunk diameter by test-fitting the stand. If the tree’s too big, you’ll need to either get a bigger tree stand, or start whittling. Use a tree lopper to trim any bottom branches that don’t clear the sides of the stand.

By the way, measure the height of the tree before you bring it into the house to make sure it’ll fit under the ceiling. Then if you have to shorten the trunk, the sawdust will stay outside.

How to Care for a Christmas Tree

Once you’ve trimmed the tree and set it up inside, use these Christmas tree care tips to keep a Christmas tree alive all season.

Keep the Christmas Tree Cold

Your pine tree is used to being in the cold, so it’s certainly not thankful that you have it in a warm and cozy home. Sure it does look beautiful in your living room, but that tree misses being in colder weather. Give your tree some time in the cold by placing it in the garage (but make sure to remove any breakable tree ornaments first). Let it sit there for at least a day or two before bringing it back indoors. Here are some adorable ways to decorate your outdoors for Christmas.

Limit the Weight of Christmas Tree Decorations

Young woman hanging ornament on Christmas treeMara Ohlsson/Getty Images

After bringing the tree back into the garage, try putting fewer ornaments or less heavy Christmas lights into the tree. Yes, a tree stuffed with ornaments looks beautiful, but if you want those branches to look lush by Christmas day, don’t put as much weight on them. Especially when it comes to the style of lights you choose. If you have larger light bulbs, the heat can actually burn the surfaces of the tree. The tiny light strands produce less heat. You might want to leave the vintage Christmas decorations to other areas of your home.

Make Sure It’s on the Right Size Stand

You want to make sure that your tree is in a traditional reservoir stand that can hold an adequate amount of water. If you want to avoid any water damage to your floors, you could always put a snow saucer underneath the stand and a rug underneath the saucer. This will catch any excess water without damaging your floors, and is easy to cover with your Christmas tree skirt.

How to Water a Christmas Tree

Make sure the tree is in water—and keep it that way! The National Christmas Tree Association says your tree should stand in 1 quart of water per inch of the stem diameter. You could also purchase a particular device (or install a funnel yourself) to make sure that you’re watering your Christmas tree with the correct measurements. Without water, your tree can get brittle and become a massive fire hazard.

How to Get Rid of a Christmas Tree

When it’s time to take the Christmas tree down, there are a few ways to get rid of the tree.

  • Contact your garbage collection company to see if they will pick up old Christmas trees.
  • Check with your local yard waste management department to see if they’ll take the tree.
  • Find a tree collecting organization.
  • Browse this list of more things you can do with an old Christmas tree.

Keep in mind that vacuuming is not always the best way to pick up Christmas tree needles. Instead, use a lint roller or broom.

Next, take a look at these ways to celebrate Christmas this year, or take advantage of Walmart’s Christmas tree delivery service. And if you’re looking for something smaller that shows off your Christmas spirit, check out this succulent Christmas tree.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman