There’s nothing like a live Christmas tree to set the holiday spirit in motion. From the thrill that comes with finding the perfect tree to the excitement that accompanies the tree trimming, nothing makes it feel – or smell – more like Christmas than a real tree.
The Georgia Christmas Tree Association Inc., a nonprofit organization of tree farmers based in Hawkinsville, Ga., estimates that 37 million families celebrate with a live Christmas tree.
Keeping that tree looking its best through the holiday season, however, can sometimes be hard to do.
The GCTA notes that keeping a tree hydrated is one of the most important factors in keeping it alive. It notes on its Web site that a tree will absorb “as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter. Water is important because it prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and the boughs from drooping.”
Water also keeps the tree fragrant, according to the GCTA, and prevents the tree from drying out and losing its color.
Another way to extend the life of a Christmas tree is to be conscious of where you put it. The tree should be kept away from heat and draft sources, such as fireplaces, radiators and television sets. And when trimming the tree, take care to inspect light cords.
“Test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they’re in good working order,” suggests the GCTA. “You don’t want to use cords with cracked insulation or broken or empty sockets. Also, be sure to unplug the lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Never overload electrical circuits.”
The National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 230 home structure fires a year began with live Christmas trees during the five-year period from 2007-2011. An average of six deaths, 22 injuries and more than $18 million in property damage is reported annually because of house fires attributed to live Christmas trees.
“Although these fires are not common, when they do occur, they are usually likely to be serious,” notes a November press release by the NFPA. “The risk of fire is higher with natural trees than artificial ones.
‘‘Researchers found that dry natural trees burned easily but trees that had been kept moist are unlikely to catch fire unintentionally.”
Don’t be a statistic this holiday season. Do your part to make sure your live Christmas tree receives the proper TLC so that you and your family have nothing but good memories of Christmas 2013.