Christmas trees are like giant cut flowers, living a short but happy life before hitting the burn pile. It's what they are grown for, so there's no reason to feel too sorry for them. (Most don't take Hans Christian Andersen's story of The Little Fir Tree very seriously.)
The length of a tree's life in the house is contingent on good care--meaning regular food and water. Starting with a really fresh tree is also important. Tree choice can also hold some sway; firs are generally more resilient than most pines, and their needles are nicer to the touch. If you don't cover the bases, you'll quickly get a sad, crunchy specimen, and a festival of dry needles on the floor. Here are some tips to keeping your tree happier for longer:
- Start with a really fresh tree. Cutting your own from a farm is the most fun and freshest.
- Get a good tree stand able to hold ample water. The headache-free Krinner Stands work really well.
- Dissolve in each gallon of tree water 1 1/2 cups corn syrup and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. This will feed the tree. Some also add 1/4 cup of bleach as a preservative.
- Always make a fresh cut at the base of the tree with a sharp pruning saw before immersing it in the tree water.
- Check the tree water regularly and make sure it does not go dry.
All Christmas trees eventually shrivel, but these steps will slow the process.
You don't have to toss your long-gone tree after the holidays either. Another option is to place it near a window in the yard and cover it with birdseed ornaments for wild winter birds. It's nice for the kids and hungry winter animals.