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How To Care for a Fresh Christmas Tree

Christmas is a time for family, friends, and fun. It's also a time for fresh cut Christmas trees! If you're like most people, you'll want to keep your fresh cut tree looking beautiful for as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to care for your tree.

Beautiful real Christmas tree decorated for Christmas with white ornaments and white lights

This year our family had a chance to enjoy a Real, Fresh Cut Christmas Tree for the first time but before my tree arrived I did some research to find out how to care for a fresh Christmas tree.

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How to Care for a Fresh Christmas Tree from Home with Cupcakes and Crinoline

First - Prepping the Tree

tree-trunk

Once you bring your tree home cut at least an inch off the bottom of the tree.  Make it a clean cut, straight across so that your tree will sit properly in the tree stand.  

If you are ordering a tree online once you get the bottom of the box cut off (see video below), before completing the unboxing do the above, cutting off an inch from the bottom of your tree.  

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If you aren't sure when your tree was cut, you may want to cut several inches off.  When my tree was ordered I received an email to let me know the date it was cut and I received the tree 2 days later so I knew it was very fresh and I didn't need to cut off that much.

A Good Tree Stand

tree-ready-to-unwrap

Make sure you get a tree stand for a real tree, not an artificial tree.  Also, make sure the stand will hold the size of tree you have.  

I bought a stand for a real tree but it was a nightmare!

We had the tree firmly secured in the stand and had it thoroughly watered.  I completely decorated the tree (it looked so pretty) and just a few minutes later I heard a noise and the tree started to fall over.  I grabbed it about halfway down to the floor.  

We got the tree back up, added some wood to the areas where the screws were to further brace it and all seemed to be good.  The next morning I woke up, decorated the tree, and then went into the kitchen to start cleaning.  

I heard a noise....the tree fell again except this time all the way down.  All of the water drained out of the stand and there were ornaments everywhere.  I just about cried.  I got my husband, he helped me pick up the tree, and this time we propped it up against the wall.  

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Poor tree....I was getting worried about it!

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My oldest son was out so I asked him to stop by Lowe's and get another tree stand.  He asked around, got a totally different stand than the one we had and came home.  

To be extra safe we screwed the stand onto a piece of scrap wood.  It has been several days and it has held up beautifully (thankfully!).  

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12/08/2022 12:10 am GMT

My suggestion would be that you make sure to get a tree stand with holes already in it so you can screw it down and secure it.

good-quality-affordable-fresh-christmas-tree-stand-www-cupcakesandcrinoline-com

As a side note, I didn't put any of my vintage glass ornaments on the tree....I just had a feeling and I am so glad that I didn't especially with it falling.  They, in all likelihood, would not have survived.

Clean Up

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Your hands may be a little sticky and have some sap (pitch) on them at this point.  Soap and water will not get this all off so after washing your hands thoroughly try using some hand lotion or Vaseline, or my favorite, Lava Soap, to remove any remaining sap.

Give the Tree Time to Relaxfreshly-freed-fresh-cut-christmas-tree

The above is what the tree looked like when we first got it unwound from the twine.

give-your-fresh-cut-tree-a-chance-to-relax-adn-fluff-iteself-the-next-morning-www-cupcakesandcrinoline-com

And, this is what is looked like the next morning this is what it looked like. Nice and fluffy. It just needed some room to breathe and some time to unwind.

Tree Removal Bag

This step is important to minimize the mess when taking your tree down.

A tree skirt and tree removal bag came packed with my tree but in case yours doesn't you'll want to buy one.  Amazon sells them and this is the one I recommend.

I wasn't sure about it but my sister, my go-to expert for life, let me know that I should put it beneath the tree stand to catch needles when I am taking the tree down and to easily bag the tree to get it out of the house.

Watering the Tree

For the first watering, use warm water to help break up the sap and be sure to fill your tree stand - not so that it splashes over but so that your tree has enough water.  

You do not want your tree to dry out.  The first night our tree was up it drank almost all the water in the stand and had to be watered again twice the next day.  

After almost a week I water it once every morning and check again in the evening just to top it off.  

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12/08/2022 12:10 am GMT

I don't have a tree funnel but I've heard they are a convenient way to keep your tree watered.  

They have them at Home Depot for less than $5.00.  This year, I'm using a small watering can I have for my houseplants.  I have to fill it up a few times but it's no biggie!

Lighting Your Tree

fresh-cut-christmas-tree-at-night-dressed-in-red-ornaments-and-joy-to-the-world-burlap-glitter-garland

Use good quality lights that give off a minimal amount of heat or NO heat.  Heat will not only dry your tree out but it can be dangerous.  

Always, always, always, unplug your lights at night and when you aren't home.  I have some vintage bubble lights that get extremely hot so they are NOT on my tree this year.

Keep Your Tree Away from Heat

To make your tree last longer keep it away from heat sources-heat vents, room heaters, etc.  The cooler your tree is kept the longer it will stay fresh.

If your tree starts to drop needles the easiest way to clean them up and get them out of your carpet and off the floor can be found here.

how-to-care-for-a-fresh-cut-christmas-tree-and-keep-it-fresh-longer

Now that your tree is up, this is my favorite tip for adding ribbon to your tree that looks like you had a pro do it!

Christmas Tree Stand with Water Reservoir and Fast Clamp - Fits up to 8ft Tree with 13.4 in Diameter
$49.99$46.99
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12/08/2022 12:10 am GMT
Jack Post Christmas Tree Watering Funnel - Makes Watering your Live Tree a Snap!
$36.95
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12/08/2022 12:10 am GMT
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12/08/2022 12:11 am GMT
close up of the branches of a fresh cut Christmas tree

How to Take Care of a Real Christmas Tree

Mary Beth
Adding a real Christmas tree to your holiday decor is a wonderful tradition. But taking care of that tree can be tricky, especially if you're not sure what to do. Follow these simple tips and you'll have a healthy and happy Christmas tree!
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Instructions
 

  • First - prep the tree.
    Once you bring your tree home cut at least an inch off the bottom of the tree.  Make it a clean cut, straight across so that your tree will sit properly in the tree stand.  
  • A Good Tree Stand
    Make sure you get a tree stand for a real tree, not an artificial tree.  Also, make sure the stand will hold the size of tree you have.  
  • Cleaning Up
    Your hands may be a little sticky and have some sap (pitch) on them at this point.  Soap and water will not get this all off so after washing your hands thoroughly try using some hand lotion or Vaseline, or my favorite, Lava Soap, to remove any remaining sap.
  • Give the Tree Time to Relax
    Once you remove the twine, rope, or net that is holding the branches in place, give the tree time to relax. Overnight is best.
  • Tree removal bag.
    This step is important to minimize the mess when taking your tree down.
    A tree skirt and tree removal bag came packed with my tree but in case yours doesn't you'll want to buy one.  Amazon sells them for under $10.00.
    I wasn't sure about it but my sister, my go-to expert for life, let me know that I should put it beneath the tree stand to catch needles when I am taking the tree down and to easily bag the tree to get it out of the house.
  • Watering the Tree
    For the first watering, use warm water to help break up the sap and be sure to fill your tree stand - not so that it splashes over but so that your tree has enough water.  
    You do not want your tree to dry out.  The first night our tree was up it drank almost all the water in the stand and had to be watered again twice the next day.  
    After almost a week I water it once every morning and check again in the evening just to top it off.  
    I recommend a tree funnel for this purpose.
  • Lighting your tree.
    Use good quality lights that give off a minimal amount of heat or NO heat.  Heat will not only dry your tree out but it can be dangerous.  
    Always, always, always, unplug your lights at night and when you aren't home.  I have some vintage bubble lights that get extremely hot so they are NOT on my tree this year.
  • Keep Your Tree Away from Heat
    To make your tree last longer keep it away from heat sources-heat vents, room heaters, etc.  The cooler your tree is kept the longer it will stay fresh.
    If your tree starts to drop needles the easiest way to clean them up and get them out of your carpet and off the floor can be found here.
Tried this DIY? Let me know what you think!Mention @TheHowToHome or tag #thehowtohome!
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4 Comments

  1. Mary Beth, your tree is BEAUTIFUL!!!
    Last year I received a tree from Green Valley Christma Trees too. It was wonderful and lasted beautifully to New Years. AND... I also bought that SAME tree stand!!!!! That is just too funny. But... it's a fabulous stand and well worth the investment.
    Merry Christmas!!!!!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thank you, Diane! I was crabby about having to buy another stand but what matters is that it is working so I'm grateful for that! Merry Christmas to you and yours! xo

  2. Christine says:

    Oh I am so sorry your first tree stand couldn't stand up to what it needed to do. That would have had me in tears too! But your perseverance has paid off because it looks amazing! Thanks for the great tips. Thanks for sharing this at the DI & DI Link party. We hope you found some new friends and had fun.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thank you so much, Christine, and a very Merry Christmas to you as well.