For many years, a part of our family Christmas tree tradition included shopping for a fresh-cut Christmas tree. We’d load the family in the pick-up truck and head out to find a reasonably priced cut pine. It was usually bitter cold and the heat in the truck never seemed to work properly, but we didn’t care. We were young and filled with the adventure of finding the perfect Christmas tree.
Nothing Beats That Pine Tree Smell
Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas tree. At least, not on our budget. There were toys to buy and presents for extended family members. If we could pick up a decent fresh-cut Christmas tree for a couple hours salary, we were doing good.
I love the way a real tree imparts that fresh pine scent throughout the house. It’s not that artificial toilet bowl type of pine tree smell. It’s the real thing, soft and fragrant. That real pine scent, along with the smell of fresh baked cookies, is what stirs memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent with our children.
We would decorate the tree, usually on a Saturday, and sit and watch the lights twinkle. Often, the kids would pull out their fold-out foam futon beds and fall asleep under the Christmas tree. (No doubt, with visions of sugar plums dancing their heads!)
I wouldn’t trade those memories for even one perfect Christmas tree. Artificial trees may be perfectly triangular with an abundance of evenly spaced branches, but those made by Mother Nature are not. Hers are wonderfully unique and full of aromatic pine scent. And falling needles. And pine sap.
Tips for Fresh-Cut Christmas Trees
Yes, a real tree has its drawbacks. If your Christmas tree tradition includes buying a fresh-cut Christmas tree this year, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Embrace imperfection: Forget the notion of finding the perfect Christmas tree. A tree you can laugh about in years to come creates wonderful Christmas memories. Try shopping for a tree with one “good” side and placing it in a corner.
- Let a real tree dry before bringing it indoors. Trees which have been sitting outdoors are often covered with snow and ice. Keeping the tree in the garage for a few days gives it a chance to dry out.
- Cut off the bottom 3 to 4 inches (7.6-10 cm.) of the trunk. Then immediately set the tree in a stand designed for real trees and water it. This not only keeps the needles from falling, but it helps maintain that lovely pine tree smell throughout the house. The tree will usually drink heavily for the first few days, so be sure to check the water level often and refill as needed.
- Let the tree open before decorating. Fresh water and the warmth inside the home stimulates fresh-cut Christmas trees to relax their branches and spread their needles. Give the tree 24 to 48 hours and you may be surprised how much fuller it looks.