For me the holiday season begins with that first scent of fresh cut evergreens. I remember when I was in the retail nursery business how that wonderful fragrance filled the greenhouses after a truckload of cut trees had been delivered. Their sharp, clean aroma was a signal that it was time to start celebrating the season.
The Christmas tree has an interesting history that goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages. Then it was referred to as the Paradise Tree and it was simply adorned with large red apples, a symbol of the Feast of Adam and Eve, which was celebrated on December twenty-fourth.
As the tradition evolved, lights were added and later the custom spread from Germany to this country. Before 1950 most of us cut our Christmas trees from the forest, but since then over ninety percent of them are grown and harvested from Christmas tree farms. For every tree cut on these farms, two to three seedlings are planted, making Christmas trees a renewable resource.
Another remarkable fact is that over a million acres of Christmas trees are grown annually and that produces enough oxygen for eighteen million people.
If you purchase a cut tree this year, there are a few things you can do to help keep it fresh during the holidays. First, re-cut the trunk as soon as you get it home. If you’re not ready to put it in the stand immediately, just set it into a bucket of water.
Once you get it inside, it’s important to give it plenty of water. A fresh cut tree can drink up to a gallon of water in the first twenty-four hours after you bring it in and several quarts after that. If you find it difficult to get water in the stand without getting your packages wet, a simple solution is to place a few ice cubes in the stand.
Of course, keeping your tree away from sources of heat such as vents and fireplaces will also help it to stay fresh longer. Keep in mind that lights on your tree are also a source of heat. The longer you leave them on, the quicker your tree will become dry. And it’s always a must to unplug them if you’re going to be away or before you go to bed.