It is true that nothing brings the wonderful smells and sights of Christmas into the house more than a real evergreen tree, however many people associate real evergreens with being messy and dangerous. They can be as beautiful, long lasting and safe as a artificial tree if you follow a few simple guidelines as recommended by the National Christmas Tree Association.
Fresh Cut is Best
It is always better to get a tree from a tree farm where you can cut your own. Supermarket trees have been sitting around and drying out for weeks (sometimes a month or more!) and will probably not be that fresh. A tree that you cut yourself is guaranteed fresh!
Check for Freshness
If you do decide to buy a precut tree, you should make sure it's as fresh as possible. Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. Very few needles should come off in your hand. Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. You should not see an excessive amount of green needles fall to the ground (some brown needles falling is normal).
Keep it Sheltered
Once you've chosen your tree, keep it in a sheltered, unheated area such as a porch or garage to protect it from the wind and sun until you are ready to decorate it.
Don't Forget to Water
Just like cut flowers, Christmas trees need water! Before you set up your tree, make a fresh, straight cut across the base of the trunk (about a quarter inch up from the original cut) and place the tree in a tree stand that holds a gallon of water or more. Make sure you periodically check the tree stand for water. If the stand is empty for more than 6 hours, you will need to make another cut across the base of the tree because a seal of dried sap will form and prevent the stump from absorbing water!
Aspirin is an unneeded Headache
The old wives tale that putting aspirin in your tree will keep it fresh is just that, a tale. Many companies make additives that do prolong the life of a tree for a few days, however, if you take good care of your tree, you don't need them! Plain tap water works perfectly.
Keep Away From Heat
Keep your tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators and television sets. Test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they're in good working order. Turn off an unplug tree lights before you go to bed to prevent fires.