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How to Choose, Care For, Trim, and Recycle your Tree this Holiday Season

Buying a tree signifies the start of the Christmas season and your celebrations. This year, use these helpful tips when picking out your perfect Christmas tree.

Choose Wisely

Christmas tree selection is key. Dont buy one that is losing green needles, has dry twigs or a musty smell.

When purchasing a tree from a choose-and-cut farm, have the producer mechanically "shake" the tree to eliminate dead, loose needles to avoid having a mess at home.

Location, Location, Location

Display your tree in a cool area, away from direct sunlight and other heat sources, such as heaters or heat vents and fireplaces.

Lowering the room temperature will also help prevent the tree from drying out too quickly and help keep the tree fresh and healthy longer.

Trees are Thirsty

Before standing your tree, cut at least " off the base of the trunk. This opens the tree stem so it can take up water.

The National Christmas Tree Association also recommends using a stand that holds at least one gallon of water.

During the first week add water morning and night to keep the water bowl full, after that, add water daily.

Water is important because it prevents the needles from drying and dropping off"and it keeps the tree fragrant.

Decor Dos and Donts

Decorate your tree with low-energy lights that are CSA- and UL- approved (small, pin-point lights are good because they remain cool), and never use candles or flammable ornaments.

Its also a good idea to put only non-breakable ornaments on the lower branches of the tree, especially if you have kids or pets in your home.

And don't forget to turn lights off when leaving the house or going to bed!

Dry? Goodbye!

Monitor your tree for dryness.

After the holidays, or if you've noticed that the needles are dry and brittle (the needles break easily or fall off in your hand), remove the tree from the house.

A well-cared-for tree normally remains fresh at least three to four weeks.

Make it a Green Christmas

The holidays are over, the eggnog is gone, and the decorations have been put away. What to do with the Christmas tree? Recycle!

Find out if your community has tree-recycling programs. Most areas offer curbside pick-up for recycling or have set up locations where you can drop off trees.

Enter your zip code at the National Christmas Tree Association website to access local information on recycling programs.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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