Don’t set your house on fire for Christmas! Tips for keeping your real tree ALIVE instead of AFLAME this year.

Don’t set your house on fire this Christmas! It’s a dry heat, and guess what, it’s a dry cold too. Here in Arizona our dry weather means it is tough to keep a Christmas tree alive and well for the holiday season. Like many of my friends in beautiful, sunny AZ, I made the switch from the real to the fake tree, because like the plants in my front yard, I couldn’t manage to keep that sucker alive! My fake tree is lovely and prelit with big fluffy branches and it smells like…well…nothing. Over the years I have tried to compensate for the lack of wonderful scent with candles, live wreaths, even these weird little smell sticks that you put inside the tree. Problem is, nothing smells quite like a real tree and that’s the scent I crave. This year, I’ve decided I am getting a real tree. My house is going to smell like Christmas if it kills me. Luckily, thanks to the City of Scottsdale’s residential fire sprinkler requirements, I should be safe from my ultimate demise, barring a freak tree accident. In reality, what’s really got me concerned is the general madness I will experience by a constant dusting of tree needles all over my floor. So, in an effort to save my sanity and perhaps personal possessions, here’s what I have learned about the art of capturing and keeping your very own Christmas tree…

Local Lot, Tim Mitchell’s, sells a custom stand to keep your tree freshChristmas Tree on Stand
 

1.  Before you buy a tree make sure the tree needles are pliable and soft and the tree looks fresh. I believe this simple act could prevent you from the Charlie Brown tree we are all trying to avoid. If you run your fingers over the needles, and it is shedding at all in your hand, that is not your tree. No matter how pretty she looks under the beautiful glow of the tree lot lights, she’s no spring chicken. You’re going to regret that in the morning.  Of course there is always the option of getting a permit for $15 and cutting down your own tree, but lets face it, that’s pretty unlikely unless you are a Hensley. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not.

2. Assuming you are the less farmy sort, like me, you’ll buy your tree pre cut. When you get the tree, make sure you get  a fresh cut on the trunk of the tree. Any tree that has been out of water for more than a few hours, will no longer be able to soak up the needed water without being recut. Once cut, the tree needs to be put back into water ASAP. That means, don’t go caroling and light seeing and hot chocolate drinking before getting that freshly bought/cut tree in water.

3.When a Christmas tree is cut, over half it’s weight is water. They are thirsty little buggers and have to stay hydrated to last. Some trees will drink up to a gallon a day.  Make sure the stand is always full of water. One common question seems to be, add something to the water or don’t? In everything I’ve read, you can try whatever voo doo you like in your tree water, but old fashioned tap water works great.

4. Give common sense a try. Don’t use old light strings on a tree. In fact, if you’ve actually got old strings of lights that still work completely, send those things to the Smithsonian because they are indeed a rarity. Use the mini lights, they are the least likely to heat up, causing issues.  If you’ve got a fireplace, no matter how many Christmas movies make it seem like a good choice, DO NOT put your tree near it. This will extend not only the life of your tree but perhaps your own as well.

That caps off what I’ve learned about fresh cut Christmas trees. Remember, if you burn your house down this year, we’ll be shopping together for a new one by the new year. Not that I mind, but you might. Take the advice of your friendly neighborhood Realtor.  What tips and tricks do you use?

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