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How to Keep Your Fresh Christmas Tree Green

Give me the real deal. Give me rough bark and pine needles, give me full and lush, and most importantly give me fragrant!  To me, that’s an authentic Christmas tree and the only kind worthy of my pretty baubles and some homely but well-loved ornaments collected over many years.

Picking out the best tree has been a long-time family tradition and one that kindles precious childhood memories of driving to the old family homestead in Maine where my father would cut down our chosen tree with a hacksaw. We’d load it onto my Flexible Flyer and haul it back across the snowy field to the car where it got tied to the roof for the four hour drive home to Massachusetts.    

That’s a lot of work! Luckily, full, fresh and fragrant fir trees are waiting for you at many Whole Foods Market® stores. You get the real deal, with a little less (okay, a lot less) effort. 

How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Green

Of course, a fresh Christmas tree requires some care make sure it stays fresh and green through the season. Here are some tips for keeping your tree safe, healthy and beautiful:

  • Give the tree a fresh cut, removing at least ¼” of trunk and put it in a large bucket outdoors to get its first big drink. The tree can drink upwards of a gallon of water in this first day. You can use this time to inspect the lights for worn cords or loose connections; cover the floor to protect it from water and the tree’s natural resins; assemble your decorations and maybe prepare a refreshing beverage for yourself. Imagine the aroma of mulled cider mingling with fir fragrance, perfect!
  • Choose a stand to fit your tree. Whittling down the outer bark will reduce the tree’s ability to drink water so choose a stand large enough for the trunk to pass through the upper ring.
  • Locate the tree away from heat sources such as heaters, fireplaces, heat vents and direct sunlight.
  • There is no need to add anything to the water. Fresh water is the key to keeping the tree hydrated and retaining its needles.
  • Check the water daily, especially if you have pets. If your little fur-face, like my dog Abby Gayle, enjoys sneaking sips from the tree’s water bowl, you’ll need to be extra sure to keep it topped off. If the tree accidentally runs out of water, it may dry out and shed its needles. The only way to get it to start drinking again is to give it a fresh cut. Trust me this is not a fun and easy task with the tree all decorated.

As a floral designer, I’m curious, how has your Christmas tree changed over the years? Do you keep bringing back those well-loved and well-worn ornaments or do you decorate a beautifully designed themed tree that speaks to who you are right now? Please share your tree stories in the comments below.