Growing up, we always had artificial trees.  My mother had a tremendous fear of fire and was not willing to take any chances.  One year, we did get a real tree, but it stayed on the deck, no lights, but was adorned with critter friendly ornaments and garland.  It was a good compromise.  I could still marvel at the tree from the sliding glass door, and when I needed a fix of “pine”, I simply stuck my nose out the door.

Guess what?  The tradition continues in my own home.  It’s not the fear of fire; it’s more the mess and perceived care that tends to turn me off, so I thought I’d do a little research and see if my perceptions are true.  Read on.

  • When you get your tree home, cut about an inch off the trunk bottom (i.e. butt) and place the tree in a sturdy stand that holds at least a gallon of water.  The general rule of thumb is one quart of water for every inch of diameter of the trunk.  The tree will drink approximately a quart of water per day.
  • Don’t allow the water level to drop below the fresh-cut base.  This will encourage needle fall.
  • Choose a location away from heat sources.
  • Adding such things as sugar, aspirin, prepared mixes, etc. to the water have proven ineffective.  Plain water is the way to go.
  • Use only UL approved lights and cords.  Consider changing over your old lights to LED lights.  They save power and emit less heat.  Miniature LED lights are ideal.
  • Remember to unplug the lights at night or if leaving for any length of time.
  • Fresh cut trees, when properly cared for, can last 5 weeks minimally.

Well, I guess it’s not that bad, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how you would continue to water the tree once the tree skirt, lights and decorations have all been put on.  Any suggestions?


“It matters not if a tree is green, plastic or aluminum.  It only matters that it is decorated with smiles.”

– J. Allen Harrison

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

– Roy L. Smith

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney