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Christmas Holiday FAQs


Glenna J. Morton
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Q.What types of trees are best?

    Whatever tree you like will be "best" for you. Our favorite trees are Firs, notably Fraser and Noble Fir. They are beautifully shaped trees with enough space between branches to hang garlands and ornaments. See more Top Pick Christmas Trees here.

Q.What measurements do I need before I buy a tree?

    You should measure your space to determine how tall the tree can be, as well as how wide. Also, measure the trunk opening in your tree stand to make sure the tree you buy will fit easily into the stand. Learn more about Christmas trees on this page.

Q.Where should I put my tree?

    Trees like to be cool and moist so avoid placing them near heating vents or radiators. Trees in front of window are nice at night, but the tree can sometimes look sparse with the light behind it during the daytime. Don't place a tree in a natural pathway in a room where it might be bumped, but rather in a corner, alcove, or more protected location whenever possible.

Q.How do I know if a tree is fresh?

    Most experts recommend grasping a branch and pulling the needles with medium pressure between your fingertips. If the needles stay on the tree, then it's probably fresh. Also, look at the needles and branches -- they should be glossy, green, and flexible. If the tree looks stiff, brown, or dry, then choose something else. To get the freshest tree, cut it yourself at a tree farm. Help a tree stay fresh by making a fresh cut just before placing it in your tree stand, and make sure the stand is always filled with water.

Q.What types of tree stands are best?

Q.How should I water my tree?

    Some people recommend adding Sprite or a Christmas tree additive to the water. However, most tree experts say that plain tap water will do just as well. Just make sure you check the water level of your tree several times a day for the first week. Never let the water reservoir dry out and your tree should last through the holiday season. See our Top Pick Watering Systems here.

Q.What's first when setting up a tree?

    Set up the area where the tree will sit with a piece of plastic or water drip tray to protect flooring. When you get your tree home make a fresh cut of at least 1 inch off the bottom of the trunk. Immediately set the tree into a bucket of room temperature water in the corner of a cool garage or patio. If your tree is wet or filled with snow be sure to let it dry out before bringing it into your home. To help your tree last longer, spray it with WiltPruf and let dry before bringing the tree indoors. Next, set up the tree stand and install it onto the tree. Fill the water reservoir about half full of water while you level the tree, then fill it full of water once it is in the final location.

Q.How can I keep a tree from drying out?

    There are several innovative ways to make sure a tree stays as fresh as possible. The first is an easy-to-use spray-on anti-transpirant liquid called WiltPruf to reduce moisture loss in trees. Simply spray onto the needles, let it dry for an hour or so, and bring your tree indoors to decorate as usual. Also, there are some great new ways to keep a tree watered. See our Top Pick Watering Systems.

Q.What should go in a tree decorating "tool kit"?

    We like to keep a plastic shoe container on hand with several items needed to help decorate the tree. Include a couple of boxes of both large and small wire ornament hooks. Also, wire cutters, a small spool of fishline, fine satin ribbon or cording to replace missing ornament loops. Next, a small box or bag filled with extra holiday tree light bulbs. Finally, some scissors and wire or twist ties to help secure garlands, etc.

Q.Do garlands go on first or last?

    The order of decorating a tree is this: Lights first, garlands next, ornaments and special touches such as holiday nosegays last.
Q. How much garland will my tree need?

    See our helpful tips page on Christmas garlands for recommendations, projects, and ideas about Christmas tree garlands.

Q. How long should pine boughs last?

    Pine boughs displayed out of water will generally last a week or two (depending on their original freshness and how dry your home is). Refresh greens used on mantles or table displays at least once in December. You can keep extra boughs in a bucket of water in a cool location and use them to replace decorative greens as they dry out. To keep greens longer, simply arrange them in blocks of florist's foam (Oasis that is thoroughly soaked and kept wet). Treating boughs with WiltPruf spray should also help them last longer.

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