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O Tannenbaum: Tips for a Perfect & Safe Holiday Tree

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

If you are in a family that celebrates Christmas as part of their holiday season, a large part of your winter décor is that ever glowing Christmas tree. There are so many different options today for your indoor tree; you can choose pre-lit artificial trees that don’t even need lights, you can choose artificial trees that even feel real to the touch, or you can choose an old-fashioned real tree to bring the fresh scent of pine into your home. If you are choosing a real Christmas tree, there are a lot of additional factors to take into consideration to help create the perfect holiday.

Before you even leave your home, make sure to pick the spot where you want your tree and to take a couple measurements. The last thing you want after choosing the perfect tree is to bring it home only to find out its too big for the space. Measure the maximum width and height that you will feel comfortable filling in and write them down on a piece of paper or type them in your smart phone.

Make sure to be plenty bundled up and warm for a trek through the Christmas tree lot. Whether you decide to pick a pre-cut tree or to cut one down at a tree farm, you’ll want to make sure you and your family are dressed suitably for the weather. More often than not it will take longer than you expected to find a tree. Make sure you’re wearing your gloves and shoes that are made to traipse around a field.
Find a tree that is plenty fresh. If you’re picking a pre-cut tree, it may behoove you to choose a tree earlier than usual to get it home and into fresh water. Many pre-cut trees are cut down very early (in September or even earlier). If you can bring it home, cut a fresh slice in the base, and get it into fresh water in either your garage or shed, you’ll prolong its shelf-life considerably. Pick a pre-cut tree that is still holding onto its needles well (it takes a tug to pull them off its branches) and doesn't drop too many with a shake. The best bet for a fresh tree is to be able to cut down one yourself at a local tree farm.

Make sure there is plenty of space for ornaments to hang on your tree. The trees that will catch your eye first will be the roundest, most filled-in trees with lots of healthy, full branches. Remember, if the tree is too full and round, not only will it be harder to fit it into the space, but it will also be more difficult to hang ornaments on the branches. A little space between the branches is a good thing; you can always trim the branches to bring the width in, but it might be difficult to thin them out to fit the decorations.

Make sure that you have a sturdy tree stand that will fit the bill. If this year’s tree is a little bigger or small to fit a new space or home you may decide to update your tree stand. You will want a stand that will hold your tree straight and steady; not one that just “fits the bill.” Your tree falling over won’t just mess up your décor, but it will also be a serious safety hazard. Even if it doesn't pose a risk of falling ON someone, it can pose a fire hazard if it damages the light strands strung on it.

Make sure to keep the tree away from heat sources, as well and well watered. Once a tree starts to dry out, it again, becomes a fire hazard, as well as a mess. Make sure to refill its water source daily and to keep it against a wall without a heating duct or fireplace. You’ll want to keep your tree as healthy as possible to enjoy it all season long.

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