With Thanksgiving a little less than 3 days away, it means that a lot of us start to think more about Christmas. We start to think about what theme or decorations that we're going to put up and how its all going to look. Also we've got to start thinking about putting the lights up onto the house and anywhere else that you want them to go. Just think of how many trips we're going to take up into the attic to bring down all of the boxes filled with Christmas decorations (by yourself most of the time, because everyone else disappears during this fun filled time).
One of the main items that we ponder on the most though, is the Christmas tree. Whether it's an artificial tree or a real one. The Christmas tree is usually the focal point of your inside the house Christmas decorating. Most of what we decide to do with the tree and how it gets decorated, coinsides with what the rest of your Christmas theme or decorating style on the inside of the house. The Christmas tree is the showcase item, with all of its glistening lights and the different ornaments that you love and adore. The only thing that can turn this art piece into a nightmare is choosing a bad tree.
There are two ways to go about picking your tree, one is to go to the nearest Christmas tree lot or big box store (Walmart, Home Depot, Kmart) or you can load up the family in the car and go to a Christmas tree farm near you and cut your own. If you're rushed, go to the local big box store, but take your time and look around, don't just grab the first one on the way to the register. If you have children, the only way to go is to cut your own. Load the family up in the family up and make an outing of it, with sandwiches, cookies, hot chocolate and probably a change of close (things have a tendency to happen when you're in the outdoors, when it's muddy or snowing. When you're around evergreen trees, sap has a tendency to stick to just about anything and everything you touch. Wiping it off on your clothes makes it worse, when you get back in your car and you're ready to leave sap has tendency to stick to the seats and other upholstered pieces in the car, and is a bear to get out, so bring some glove for everyone to wear.
Whatever way you go, try to make it a fun outing. It's not all that hard to avoid a bad tree, when you take the time to look over the tree like you would pick out clothes or furniture. Just remember, after picking that special Christmas tree, that you want to have plenty of room for your ornaments, lights, and all the other things that make your tree special.
One of the best ways to see how healthy the tree is to grab a handful of needles and pull gently on it, you want to do this especially if you're buying the tree already cut (no telling how long the trip was to get to the lot from that tree farm out of state, and if they have been sitting for a long time in the elements. Loosing alot of needles tells you that the tree is very dry and it won't last more thank a week or two. Also if you're cutting your own tree, look at it from all angles, especially if it's surrounded by other trees. Look over it for bare spots and missing branches. The needles should bend not break.
You will want to shake or bounce the tree to check for losing needles, and it also kind of cleans the tree of leaves, bugs, and other debris that may have accumulated inside of the tree where you can't see. A few needles will always fall off a tree once it is cut due to the shock factor. Fewer needles will fall from a fresh-cut tree versus a tree that has been cut.
The tree trunk will need to have at least six to eight inches of trunk on it below the last branches, so that the tree can be properly placed in the stand and stand up straight. Don't forget, before putting it in the stand that you should cut off at least a half inch off of the bottom of it. When the tree was cut at the farm or when you cut it down sap starts leaking out of the bottom to cover up and seal up the cut. The new cut will make it so when the tree is up in the stand it will drink up the water, so it will last longer.
|Vintage Christmas tree lot|
The Caring of your Christmas Tree at Home and Safety Issues
One you get the tree home and and after you've cut that 1/2 inch off of the bottom of it, if you don't plan on putting the tree up right away, get a plastic bucket and fill it with water and put the tree in the water filled bucket until you're ready to install the tree into the stand. This will keep the sap from covering the cut and will help the tree to take in some much needed drink. Make sure any stand that you're going to be using for the tree, can hold at least a gallon of water.
Check the water level of the tree everyday, especially the first two or three, because that's when it seems to take in the most. Make you to keep the level above the bottom of the tree, if it gets below the bottom the tree may sap back over,then you would have to take the tree back out of the stand and recut it, also watch out for adding too much water to your tree. It may even be a good idea to keep a towel hidden under the tree just in case water does get spilled.
|City tree lot today|
As long as your fresh Christmas tree is kept with an ample supply of water, it presents little if any fire hazard. Do not place your Christmas tree near a fireplace, heater vents or any other source of heat.
You should use only UL-approved Christmas lights for your tree and nonflammable decorations too. Also turn off Christmas tree lights when leaving home or going to bed to reduce the risk of fire.