Selecting and caring for a real Christmas tree

Christmas Treeland

BARABOO - Choosing a real Christmas tree is a fun outing for the whole family and easy to do. In many households, the holiday season does not begin until the family goes to a local tree farm to pick out their tree.

Chris and Sara Birn of Appleton look for a Christmas tree with their sons Nick and Ben at the YMCA Christmas tree lot in the parking lot of Festival Foods on Northland Avenue in Appleton.

To make your tradition a more memorable and pleasant one, Suzanne Dohner from Christmas Treeland of Baraboo, offers a few simple steps for selecting the perfect tree.

  • Check the ceiling height where tree will be displayed. Select a tree at least six inches shorter than the ceiling height.
  • Do a freshness test. Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and brush it towards you. Very few needles should come off in your hand.
  • Once a tree is selected, keep it in a sheltered, unheated area such as a porch or garage to protect it from the wind and sun until ready to decorate.
  • Before setting up tree, make a fresh, straight cut across the trunk (about a half-inch up from the original cut) and place the tree in a stand that holds a gallon or more of water.
  • Keep the tree stand filled with water.  Sap will seal the stump within four to six hours if the water level drops below the tree base, preventing the tree from absorbing water.  If a seal does form, you will need to make another fresh cut.          Trees will absorb up to a gallon of water in the first 24 hours and a quart or more every day thereafter.  Water keeps the tree fragrant and prevents the needles from drying and the boughs from drooping.
  • Keep tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators and television sets.  Test light cords for cracked insulation or broken sockets before hanging them.  Also, be sure to unplug the lights before going to bed, or when leaving the house.  Never overload electrical circuits.