Christmas Tree tips

If you have a live-cut Christmas tree, here’s some tips for safely keeping a highly volatile torch in your living space. Other than the usual, that is: NO OPEN FLAMES IN THE VICINITY, make sure any extension cords are rated for the load you’re putting on them (so they don’t overheat), check the wiring to make sure it’s all in good and sufficiently insulated condition. You are using LED lights now, aren’t you? And making sure to keep the tree watered?

Keeping the tree moist: this is a tip from my mother-in-law, who is awesome. If you get the vendor to do a fresh cut on the tree before you take it home (and you’re not going to do another one later), cap the cut with some wet paper towels and wrap a plastic bag around it to keep the cut from drying out and partially sealing on your drive home. We tried it for the first time this year and boy, that tree is drinking! And don’t think that just because you live five minutes down the road, it’ll be fine. I live five minutes down the road and it still made a big difference.

Second, if you’re getting a pre-cut tree rather than cutting your own, get your tree early. This goes against my patrilineal family tradition, but when talking last year to folks at the local hardware big box where we usually buy our tree, we found out that all the trees are cut at the same time. The ones delivered later in the month have been sitting around in storage since they were cut. (And besides, getting a tree late means you don’t get your pick of the litter, you get the leftovers everyone else rejected.) This might not be true depending on where you get your tree, but it’s something to consider.

Next year I think we’re going to try giving the tree a “shower” before bringing it inside – when we bought trees previously, they’d gone through December rains before we bought them – but this time it seems not, and I’m having some allergy problems. We also have some modelling snow-in-a-can we’ll try out – we forgot to do that this year before we decorated it, so next year it is!

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