For some people the very thought of putting up a fake tree at Christmas is an act of greater sacrilege than celebrating Christmas Eve by watching “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Those who have never partaken in this philosophy have missed out in ways they don’t know. My own personal experience has been one of always having a real tree inside the house during every single Christmas of my childhood and having a fake tree inside the house during Christmas most of the years of my adult life. This duality of opposing experiences therefore affords me what I consider to be a perspective on the issue of dealing with a real Christmas tree that is beyond reproach.
For those who honestly believe that a scented candle or aromatic oils or any synthetic bouquet intended to replicate the smell of the species of trees typically found inside homes during the Christmas holidays actually do succeed in replicating the full effect to be enjoyed by actually having a tree inside the house, I can only say that they just will probably never get how very wrong they are. At the same time, I will also admit that going with a live tree for Christmas is not all fun and games. Whether you are putting up your first live Christmas tree or have been doing it for decades, here are tips and tricks for making the holidays with a tree inside the house proceed to a smooth and happy ending.
One of the things that makes a real Christmas tree less than desirable for those who have never gone with that tradition is the idea of fallen needles all over the house. Stepping on needles can be a real pain in the foot for sure. If you can’t stand the idea of Christmas tree needles collecting all over the floor and the subsequent transmission of said needles throughout the house, then go with firs like the Douglas or Fraser. On the other hand hand, avoid the spruces like the plague. Those with a preference for pines should take home a Scotch.
If you live a dry climate that means filling up the tree stand twice a day or more, here’s a little trick to help out. You probably already know about cutting off a slice at the trunk, but that’s only partially effective. If your trees have a history of becoming as dry as Steven Wright’s humor by Santa’s big day, then get yourself a drill and power a hole up through the very center of the trunk. Now stuff some cotton balls firmly into the hole and then situate the tree into the stand. Do this and even a tree in Arizona should still remain moist by Christmas Day.
One of the greatest dangers facing homes with a real Christmas tree instead of a fake Christmas tree is the threat of fire. (Not that fake Christmas trees are entirely free from the possibility of taking the holidays up in flames, or course!) A real Christmas tree too close to a fireplace or heater is an inferno just waiting to happen. Overheated lights can also ignite real trees that have been allowed to become too dry. A simple, cheap and homemade concoction is as effective as anything you can buy pre-made. An average size tree should require no more than half a gallon of water mixed with half a cup of ammonium sulfate (local garden store) with one quarter cup of boric acid (local grocery store).. Add a tablespoon of borax, mix thoroughly, pour into a spray can and spritz until the tree is properly coated. Whatever is left over should be emptied into the water stand to provide a very healthy amount of protection against fire.
Leaning Tree of Pisa
If you are having trouble getting your tree to stand upright, straight or not topple over at the slight brush of a touch, pour sand into the stand and add water until you’ve got a pretty solid bit of muck in there. Reposition the tree so that it stands straight or becomes sturdier. Taking this step does mean being more diligent in checking the stand because now you have to make sure the sand doesn’t get too dry. As long as you reach the right consistency, the tree should remain both stable and still get enough water to keep from drying out.
While you are out shopping for Christmas presents, keep an eye out for cheap bedsheets. Do it right and you should be able to pick one up for just a few bucks. Just make it’s big enough to completely wrap up the tree in. A careful wrapping of the Christmas tree in an old sheet is all you need to ensure getting it to the garbage pickup site without having to go back in and clean up all the needles that fell off by dragging the tree out on its own.