Christmas tree selection and care
It's likely that anyone who's asked could describe the size, shape, needle length and color of their version of the perfect Christmas tree. Preference and availability of trees varies regionally and no one kind can be considered best.
Desirable tree characteristics include a full, symmetrical shape with limbs strong enough to support lights and ornaments. Non-prickly needles with a healthy green color and pleasant fragrance are important too.
There are several steps you can follow to keep your Christmas tree fresh for the longest possible time after purchase. First, make a new cut at the end of the trunkabout an inch above the old cut. Keep the cut end standing in water, whether you decorate the tree immediately or store it to decorate later. If you store the tree, keep it in a cool, shaded place.
Check the tree's water level frequently and refill as necessary. Fresh evergreen trees can take up an amazing amount of water -- up to a gallon during their first 24 hours off the tree lot. Because many tree stands have small reservoirs, you may need to fill the reservoir twice daily.
Your tree will last longer indoors if it's located away from direct sun, radiators or heat vents, fireplaces, television sets and other sources of heat. Take care to place your tree in a location that won't block any room exits.
Check electric lights to make sure cords aren't frayed or worn, and keep metallic ornaments and tinsel away from bulb sockets. Avoid combustible decorations, and make sure electrical circuits aren't overloaded.
A fresh tree that receives good care should remain in safe condition indoors for ten days to two weeks.
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Updated Thursday, August 07, 2014