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How to keep your Christmas tree fresh and fragrant through the holidays

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

The best tips to keeping your tree fresh throughout the Christmas season

You love the look and smell of a live Christmas tree, but how do you keep it from drying out through the holidays?

Whether you go on a family outing to a Christmas tree farm or buy a pre-cut tree, fresh trees require care if you want them to look great for the whole season. You should also avoid letting your tree dry out because then it can become a major fire hazard. Keep these handy tips in mind for a healthy, happy tree all through the season.

More: 40 Christmas decorating ideas that would make Martha Stewart jealous

Choose a tree with good needle retention. Sweeping up shed needles is a necessary chore for those of us who love natural trees, but some species are better at holding on to their needles than others. Some of the better choices are white pine, Fraser fir, Colorado blue spruce, concolor fir and Scotch pine.

Get an adequate tree stand. Make sure your tree stand fits your tree trunk — the National Christmas Tree Association warns against whittling down the trunk of a tree to fit a stand, because the outer layers are amazing at taking up water, which the tree needs.

Make sure your stand can hold enough water. The NCTA also writes that, in general, you should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. If this sounds like a lot, it is — cut trees need tons of water.

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Trim the base of the trunk. Before placing your tree in the stand, saw off about a 1/2-inch thick circle from the base. Resist the urge to cut at an angle or into a V-shape, which would make it more difficult for the tree to draw up water.

Check the water level daily. You want to make sure that the level of water in the stand never dips below the base of the tree. This means you should check on a daily basis, and add water as needed.

Place your tree away from sources of heat. In addition to keeping your tree away from space heaters, direct sunlight, floor vents and fireplaces, you might consider lowering your thermostat in the room, or even your whole home. Lower temps can decrease your tree's need for water.

More: 39 Outdoor Christmas decorations that will make you the envy of the block

Know when to say goodbye. If you keep your tree hydrated, it should last several weeks. When you notice that it's starting to dry out it's time to let it go. No matter when you say goodbye, research your local area to see if you have a local recycling program for discarded Christmas trees.

The best tips to keeping your tree fresh throughout the Christmas season
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