Tips on keeping your Christmas tree fresh all seasonlong
Dec 15, 2022, 3:00 PM
As Christmas Day approaches, you probably have plenty to do and not much time. Getting and staying organized is key to crossing everything off your to-do list in time for the holiday festivities.
No need to add replacing a dried-out Christmas tree or vacuuming countless dropped needles multiple times a day.
If you have been enjoying your freshly-cut Christmas tree since Thanksgiving, you can keep it fresh through Christmas or even New Year’s Day.
Here is some fresh Christmas tree do’s and don’ts that will keep your tree looking fresh and keep it from becoming a fire hazard.
Keep it watered – Trees need water to stay fresh. Make sure your tree has a constant supply of fresh water. Check the tree stand twice daily to ensure the water doesn’t fall below the base of the tree. Make sure the cutline is covered and never exposed to air. Once it’s exposed to air, the trunk will start forming a cap that will prevent the tree from soaking up the water it needs to last all season. Also, mist the tree between watering. Unplug the lights when misting. A well-hydrated tree will significantly reduce the risk of catching fire.
Move the tree to a sunny spot – The Christmas tree is a tree, after all, and like most living things, it thrives in partial sunlight. Keep your tree near an east or west-facing window, so it gets some sunlight in the morning or the afternoon.
Use LED (light-emitting diode) lights – LED light is not a light bulb, but it acts like one. LED lights do not generate as much heat as traditional bulbs. This is really important. If the tree dries out, the heat from incandescent bulbs can burn the needles and spark a fire. Turn off the lights when you leave the house or go to bed.
Increase humidity – Moist air will prevent your tree from drying out and dying. When too dry, the tree will drop needles to conserve moisture. Dropped leaves mean more cleaning for you. Keep a humidifier running in the same room as the tree. Be sure to change the water in the humidifier after a couple of days. Old water will create a ho, ho, horribly stinky environment.
Don’t keep the tree near a direct heat source. Heat vents, fireplaces, portable heaters, and wood-burning stoves will dry out your Christmas tree. Keep it far away from any direct source of heat.
Live trees dry out quickly if placed near a heat source, including direct sunlight, skylights, furnaces, and electrical devices. Plus, placement near heat sources is a fire hazard.
Don’t add anything to the water. Contrary to popular belief, 7-Up will not extend the life of the tree. Neither will “man-pills,” aspirin, bleach, syrup, or sugar that is added to the tree’s water. Sugar can cause bacteria to grow in the water, causing an unpleasant odor. Bleach will likely kill the plant tissue with its hydrochloric acid. Tap water is all it needs.
Speaking of heat and water, don’t let the water get too warm and refresh it often. Warm, stagnant water is an ideal place for mold and fungus to grow.
Bow-nus organizing tips
Before the tree is dismantled, go through the ornaments and other decorations that you did not use this year, and haven’t for years, or even decades. Bridges Conner, Get Organized with Bridges & Co., a Rosie on the House Certified Partner, suggests tossing, donating, or selling the ones you no longer want.
If you have decorations that have been passed down, keep them moving and give them to another family member to display. Sorting through unused decorations will make storing this year’s decorations much easier.
Pick up storage bins and bags specifically designed for Christmas decorations. Buy them before Christmas when there is still a decent supply. You may not have much to choose from come Jan. 2.
Don’t store items in cardboard boxes. Critters and the elements can get to them. Use plastic bins. Storing your Christmas items in an organized manner this year will make unpacking them during the next holiday season easier.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email mailto:email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.