Live Christmas Tree Tips and How to Not Kill It

One of my very favorite Christmas traditions is bundling up the family, packing some hot chocolate and cookies (homemade not required!), and heading to the Christmas tree farm. There is something about blasting Christmas tunes on the radio as the kids sing the wrong words that get me into the holiday season like nothing else. 

I know what you are thinking. Aren’t real trees messy? Yes and no. Are they a lot of work? No, if you have kids and remember to give them something to drink, you can handle a real tree! Are they worth the effort? 1000% yes. There is nothing like having a real tree to celebrate the holidays.

We’ve been on team real Christmas tree for as long as I can remember and therefore consider myself an expert, kidding. Here are my 10 tips to make the tree cutting experience one to remember and how to keep your tree looking fresh and most importantly alive!

  1. Choose your tree farm. Take a peek at our guide to Christmas Tree Farms and find one that is close to home, but also one that has a lot of trees to choose from!
  2. Buy a tree stand BEFORE you head out to get your tree! Fresh cut trees will ‘drink’ a ton of water in the first week they are home, so you’ll want to go with a high-capacity stand. This is our favorite that we’ve used for the past five years.
  3. Trees are sold by the half-foot. Measure your tree’s future location to see how tall of a tree you would like. Keep in mind the tree stand will add a few inches.
  4. Pack up the family. Bring all the winter gear and a spare change of clothes for each kid. I’ve used extra clothes every. single. year. for one of my kids. The fields are often muddy or one of the kids spills a full cup of hot chocolate on themselves two minutes into our adventure.
  5. Pack up a thermos or travel coffee cup with hot chocolate. Make or grab some cookies from the grocery store. Don’t forget to bring cups and napkins, or baby wipes.
  6. If you have a chain saw, BRING IT. Tree farms will provide you with a hand saw, but they take forever to cut a tree down. 
  7. Take a peek at the tree farm’s selection of trees available. Most farms will offer a ton of choices. Our favorite types of trees are: Concolor Firs, Norway Spruces, and Balsam Firs. They do not drop a ton of needles as they age and have strong branches for heavy ornaments.
  8. Choose a tree that you like. If your tree is up against a wall or in a corner, it does not have to be perfect all around, it can have a wonky side and no one will notice!
  9. Cut her down! Many tree farms will have tractors driving around picking up trees once they are cut. They will often give you half a tag, or tell you a number, that identifies your tree for pickup.
  10. To wrap or unwrap? Tree farms will often ‘wrap’ your tree in rope or twine for transportation. We always wrap and then slowly cut it off after the tree is leveled in the stand at home.
  11. Get your tree home and in water! This is important. Once cut, the tree will naturally start to die and the cut end hardens. So, get your tree home, get it in the stand, and get it some water.
  12. Last, but not least – do not forget to water your tree! I set a reminder on my phone to water the tree in the morning and evening. If your tree stand goes dry, your tree will start to harden and sadly die. By keeping water in the tree stand, your tree will stay green, soft, and alive longer. Dead trees not only drop more needles, but they are also a fire hazard.
  13. Most importantly, enjoy your tree and your new tradition!

christmas tree

Is your family team real or faux tree?
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Hey! I'm Lyndsey one of the co-owners of Mid-Michigan Moms. I was born and raised in Omaha, NE and in my life before becoming a work/homeschool/stay-at-home mom was a critical care nurse and nurse educator. After unforgettable adventures in California and Texas, our family moved to my husband’s home state of Michigan. My husband, three kids, and a naughty yellow lab are now loving our chaotic, rural living-life. I love traveling, balancing no less than 12 DIY projects at once, chocolate, cooking, daiquiris, and a sunny day in the 70s at the lake.