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How To Look After Your Christmas Tree

Published on December 1st 2019
A christmas tree
There's no denying that real Christmas trees capture the childhood magic of Christmas! And as they are living things, they need to be treated well to look their best until the twelfth night of Christmas. Here are my instructions on the best way to look after your Christmas tree!


  • Freshness is the real key to success. If your tree isn't fresh, then you're on to a loser from the time you buy.
  • Whatever tree variety you go for, (check out my Christmas tree variety article for more info) the tree must be fresh.
Christmas decorations on a tree

Which Christmas Tree Should You Buy?


  • With approximately seven million fresh trees sold each year in the UK, some inevitably will be cut several weeks before you buy them. While that might not matter so much for Needlefast varieties, it certainly does for the traditional Norway Spruce.
A group of people standing in front of a cut Christmas tree
Fresh trees sold undercover

Buy local

  • Few of us can buy directly from a Christmas tree grower, but if you can then that's the best way to ensure that your tree is freshly cut.
Christmas trees in a field
Buy direct from the Christmas tree grower if you can
  • Buy from a reputable source. If you have a problem with your chosen tree, you might need to take that up with the retailer.
  • A reputable source may let you spread the cost by offering credit card payment.
  • Look for a seller that offers you a netting service and perhaps even a delivery service. Always insist on seeing your tree out of its net before you buy!

Made your choice? Cut its base.

  • Real trees are alive and still need their water regularly replacing.
  • Tree butts tend to seal over quickly, so cut about 2-3cms off the base as soon as you get home. Better still, ask the retailer to do it for you.
  • Stand the tree (outside if possible) in a bucket filled with water. You'll be surprised how much water that cut bases pick up.
Christmas tree with secateurs. pic credit Emerald Group
Christmas tree trimmed with secateurs

To spray or not

  • Needle fixing sprays used to be popular and might be of value with Norway spruce trees.
  • Needle sprays seal the needles to reduce water loss.
  • You can use hairspray as an alternative.
  • Needle sprays are unnecessary for Needlefast varieties such as Nordman Fir.
A christmas tree in a dark room
A Needlefast Nordman Fir tree

Take a stand

  • Forget the old bucket, sand and bricks; a tree stand makes life easy!
  • Choose a tree stand that has a good water holding capacity.
  • Go for a tree stand that is big enough for this year's tree but also for bigger ones that you might have in the future.
  • Check that the thumbscrews that grip the tree are easy to use.
  • Trim off any low branches that prevent you from getting the tree butt right into the stand.
  • If you have a tall tree that feels unstable, I find that attaching the top to the ceiling with very thin wire will stop it from falling over.

Where to put your tree

  • A cool room will prolong your cut tree's life. Failing that, make sure to display away from any heat source. Avoid putting by radiators and open fires.
A christmas tree in a room-  pic credit G Dykes
Display your tree away from a heat source
  • Avoid thoroughfares such as corridors.
  • Display your tree near to an electric point.

Water it

  • Top up the stand with water to replace water lost through transpiration.
  • Water might be needed every day to start with, but wil lessen as time goes on.
  • Watering is a good task to delegate to one of the younger members of the family!
David Hasselhoff as Captain Hook by a Christmas tree
David Hasselhoff playing Captain Hook by a Christmas tree the author supplied

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