How to Care for Your Christmas Tree


For many of us up this way, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a brightly-decorated evergreen tree planted smack in the middle of the living room. Ah, how the smell of pine brightens the senses and revives those memories of holidays seasons long past where glass ornaments sparkled (at least until a cat or kid sent them crashing to the floor) and strings of popcorn and colorful lights added a bit of magic to the whole deal.

In fact, New Hampshire’s most notable politician, Franklin Pierce, was the first president to decorate a White House Christmas tree in 1856.

Today, more than 33 million real Christmas trees are sold each year in every state in the union … even Hawaii. So it’s not surprising that the Dimond Hill Farm has joined the celebration by selling New Hampshire-grown Christmas trees out of its restored 19th century barn.

Balsams and Fraser Firs are on display, making the barn feel like an enchanted forest of fun … complete with background music, colorful lights and Christmas characters, as well as donuts, mulled cider and hot chocolate to boot. There’s even a Santa on duty during selected hours to dress up the place and give the kids a taste of Christmas magic to come.

Wreaths, kissing balls, swags, garlands and greens are also for sale. So, if you’re looking for a special way to start the season out with family and friends, then come on by and check us out.

Okay, okay, enough with the sales pitch. Once you’ve selected your tree I’m sure you’ll want it to last throughout the holidays in good shape. Below are a few tips to help you make that happen.

Choosing Your Tree:

  • Locally grown trees last longer because they have been cut more recently and have had to travel less. Some trees have been cut weeks ago in order to be shipped to distant retail outlets (our local trees were cut the weekend before Thanksgiving)
  • Trees with a large number of dead or browning needles are past their prime. Gently stroke a branch to make sure needles are flexible and remain on the tree

Where to Put Your Tree:

  • Trees should be kept away from open flames or heat sources, which tend to dry them out prematurely
  • Locate next to an outlet to minimize the trip hazard of extension cords
  • Keep trees away from drafts, as these also can contribute to drying the tree out

Mounting Your Tree:

  • First, use a handsaw or chainsaw to trim about a half inch to an inch from the bottom of the tree. Tree sap will dry over old cuts, preventing the tree from absorbing moisture. Make sure the cut is straight, as this will help in leveling up the tree when securing to the tree stand. Note: Don’t use a reciprocal saw or any fast-moving blade to make this cut, as the friction will heat up and seal the ends, making water absorption impossible
  • Mount your tree within eight hours of cutting the base. Place tree in a stable stand that allows for leveling adjustments, and make sure that it can hold at least a gallon of water. Note: Don’t trim away the outer bark of the tree so that it can fit into the stand. This outer layer is the part that absorbs the most water
  • Make sure the tree is straight. This improves the stability and looks (and keeps the wife happy).
  • Water, water, water. Much like relatives at your annual Christmas party, trees will be thirsty those first few hours, so provide plenty to drink. Check the water level frequently the first day, and, after that, water daily. Note: Experts say that plain water works best, so no need to add sugar, soda, beer, aspirin or other concoctions to the mix

Odds and Ends:

  • Lights using smaller bulbs or LEDs will improve safety and help to keep the tree from drying out. Be sure to turn the lights out at bedtime
  • All trees will lose some needles once placed inside the home, although well-watered trees lose far fewer. Clean needles up daily with a dust pan or vacuum.
  • Warning: Cats and Dogs are notorious for knocking down Christmas trees. So, either keep them out of the room where the tree is located or figure out a way to pet-proof the tree. Note: Don’t count on the dog to water your tree, I know from experience that it doesn’t work …


Bonus Section:

Christmas Holiday Trivia

  • The word Christmas is Olde English, a contraction of Christ’s Mass
  • Germany produced the first artificial Christmas trees, which were made of goose feathers dyed green
  • Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895
  • “Rudolph” was actually created by Montgomery Ward for a holiday promotion in the late 1930’s. The rest is history
  • “Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs
  • If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would get 364 gifts
  • Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870
  • In Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word “X-Mas” comes from. (Not because someone took the “Christ” out of Christmas.)
  • In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year. (Which may explain why my wife threw out my red union suit after we were married)

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