No one will argue with the fact that artificial trees with fiberoptic lights already strung are more convenient, but you don’t get the scent of pine, fir, or spruce and your family tradition may just include a real tree.
When you use a fresh cut real tree, water is the most important element in keeping it happy for the holiday season. When you bring it home, cut a couple inches off the bottom of the stem to create a fresh cut that will open up the pores and allow the tree to absorb water more readily. Put it in the stand and add a minimum of one quart of water or enough to keep the end of the trunk under water.
Check the water daily and add more as needed. If the trunk is not in water, it will seal up the pores and the tree won’t be able to drink. The tree will drink 65% of its water the first week it is in the house. Not only does water keep the branches soft and pliable, but it keeps the tree safer. A dry tree can become engulfed in flames in seconds.
Place your tree in a spot where it can stand out of the way of traffic and away from heat vents. You will want to make sure it doesn’t wobble and the stand is very sturdy.
If your cat or dog finds the ornaments fascinating and won’t stay away from them, try giving them their own small tree decorated with plastic bulbs, treats, and pet toys. A little catnip spray on the toys will keep cats entertained and they may leave your main tree along.
After Christmas, instead of throwing the tree out in the trash, consider cutting it up and storing the wood for next year’s fireplace. Or you could stand it up in the back yard as shelter for the birds. You could also create a bird feeder and haven. After securing it outside, decorate it with orange slices, cranberries, suet, and other bird friendly goodies and put it in a sheltered location.