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The secret to keeping your Christmas tree fresh

choose the right Christmas tree

Choose a tree that looks and smells fresh. If you want to cut your own Christmas tree, this will be easy.

A woman wearing a plaid shirt and santa hat looks at a balsam fir Christmas tree with her chocolate labrador dog.

There are some important size considerations for Christmas trees. It can be helpful to measure the space (height and width), then measure the tree you want. Trees always look smaller outside than they do inside your room.

For pre-cut trees, most species should be bright to dark green. When you run your hand over a branch, it is okay if a few needles fall off (all conifers drop some needles in fall). Signs of a dry Christmas tree include: a significant number of needles fall off; branches are stiff and snap when you gently bend them; the bark is wrinkled.

People  choosing a balsam fir Christmas tree in a snowy tree lot

A properly cared for tree can last 4-5 weeks inside your home. Some people are able to keep them fresh much longer than that. A tree will last longest in a cool room out of direct sunlight.

keeping your tree fresh

Once your tree is in its stand, never let it run out of water. That's it, that's the secret. Sorry if you were hoping for something more exciting.

When a tree is cut, half of its weight is water. Your goal is to keep that water weight from dropping. The single most important thing you can do is never let your tree run out of water. A stand that holds at least a quart of water per inch of stem diameter will make it easier to keep on top of watering.

If your tree has been cut for more than six hours before you put it up in your house, you'll need to cut ½" off the bottom of the trunk so the tree can drink water. If needed, Christmas trees can be temporarily stored in a cool location- either placed in a bucket of water, or stood up on damp ground. Cut the ½" off the trunk bottom before putting the tree in your stand.

Give your Christmas tree plain water. The National Christmas Tree Association has trialed several additives, and none of them out-performed regular water.

safety tips for tree lights

A Christmas tree decorated with small colored lights, gold ornaments and orange slices

Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Colder rooms slow down the drying process.

Use modern LED lights, and always check your lights for damage before putting them on the tree. Vintage bulbs produce heat that will damage your Christmas tree. Turn off Christmas lights

when leaving the house or going to bed for the night.

If your tree starts to feel very dry, it is time to take it down. If you forgot to water your Christmas tree in early December, and you are trying to make it last through Christmas, stop turning the lights on.


Keep things green - recycle your tree.

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