So you are thinking about being Clark Griswold and cutting your own Christmas tree this year? Great idea (just don't forget the saw.)
There is nothing like having a real Christmas tree in your home and no matter how life-like the artificial trees have become, they just don't have that fresh pine smell when you enter the room. For many of us, real is the only option.
Our family has always enjoyed going out right after Thanksgiving and finding the perfect tree for our living room. Fresh air and the feeling of accomplishment kick off the season when you've wandered for what seems like miles and looked at hundreds of potential prospects to finally narrow it down to "the one." It even took us a several years to figure out the correct height to fit in our living room. With a 14' ceiling, we love to get a big tree. But every year we seem to over do it and inevitably end up taking it down to re-cut the tree. Oh, and by the way...the chainsaw makes a mighty mess in the living room. Take it outside, trust me.
But, beside all the fuss and work it is still worth while to have a real Christmas tree. That's where some of our best memories have been made and traditions have been started for our family.
Getting the most life out of your tree. Here are a few tips:
1. Shake the tree before bringing it in. There are a lot of loose or dead needles already on it. Most tree farms trim in the summer, so many of those needles may still be lurking within the tree.
2. Give a fresh cut to your tree (before bringing it in) about an inch or so from the bottom of the trunk. Trees can heal their cuts with sap within a few hours, so you'll know that the tree is able to drink some water and hydrate itself by giving it a new, fresh cut.
3. Place the tree in a fresh bucket of room temperature water and let it drink over night.
4. Once your tree is situated in its stand inside your home, you can use 1 cup of 7-UP (or a cheap generic brand, just not diet) to 3 cups water. This will help preserve the tree and it will certainly enjoy the sugar. Don't bother with the other myths of preservatives like aspirin or bleach, they just don't work, plus if you have a pet you don't want them to get into it.
More Christmas tree care tips are available here: