Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Trees

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. 
~Roy L. Smith
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum
Wie true sind deine Blätter
- German lyrics to O Christmas Tree, your leaves are so reliable.
Welcome to December and Merry Christmas! Locally we have a radio station that plays Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. And I noticed the malls are playing Christmas songs and decorated for the holiday. So perhaps you're ready to buy a Christmas Tree? Here's some advice from

Buying a cut Christmas tree

  1. Choose the place you’re putting the tree and take some measurements: Height is obvious, but don’t forget the width of the doors you’ll be going through or the area of the room you’ll be putting your tree in. You’ll want to keep your tree as far away as possible from heat sources like vents, fireplaces, or radiators.
  2. The sooner you buy one, the better: Ask the dealer when their trees were cut: the fresher the better. Many people assume that getting a tree early is a bad idea, because it might wither and start shedding needles before New Year’s. While this seems logical, a cut Christmas tree is only going to last so long – it doesn’t care whether it’s sitting in a lot down the street or in your living room. In other words, once it’s cut, it’s cut, so put it in your home as soon as possible. Buying early also means a better selection.
  3. Do your own freshness test: There are several things you can do to test the freshness of a Christmas tree: First, grab a branch by the needles and pull it – the needles should stay on. Next, bend a branch and see if it’s supple: Ideally, it should bend without snapping. Finally, pick up the tree and drop it to see how many needles shake loose: the fewer the better.
  4. Inspect the base: Ever brought home that perfect tree, only to find that the base isn’t straight and the tree leans to one side? Me too. That’s why now I make sure the last foot of the trunk is totally straight.
  5. Look at it again before you bring it inside: Make sure there’s no insects or other unpleasantness hiding in the branches. Pick it up and drop it again.

Making your tree last

Properly cared for, your cut Christmas tree should last well over a month. Here’s what to do …
  1. When you buy your tree from the lot, they’ll cut an inch or so off the bottom – get the tree into water as soon as possible.
  2. When it comes to making a Christmas tree last, water isn’t the main thing: It’s the only thing. Use a stand that holds as much water as possible, then keep it filled at all times. If the bottom of the trunk is exposed to air, resin will form over it and it will no longer be able to absorb water: game over. Check the water supply every day without fail. To make your life easier, get a funnel, connect it to a short length of tubing that empties into the stand, and then hide it all in the branches when you’re not using it.
  3. You don’t need distilled or other specialty water, nor do you need chemical preservatives. Tap water is fine – just make sure the supply is sufficient.
  4. Remember that heat is not your friend – if your Christmas lights generate heat, use them sparingly and always turn them off at night. Miniature lights produce less heat than bigger ones.
Bottom Line

Keep your tree well watered and alive. A dry or dead tree is a fire hazard as discussed in my post, Christmas Trees = Fire Trap?  Don't miss the burning tree video at

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