Five expert tips to preserve and look after a real Christmas tree, ensuring lasting freshness all season long!

A Jolly Festive Exclusive
Real Christmas Tree Decorated Withs Scandi Style Traditional Red, White and Wooden Decorations And Christmas Lights

So, you’ve found your perfect Christmas tree! Now comes the crucial part—ensuring it stays lush and vibrant throughout the festive season.

We’ve been chatting with those in know to bring you the expert tips to help your tree remain a festive centrepiece all Christmas long.  Find out how to keep that festive fragrance and gorgeous greenery front and centre of your celebrations. 

Looking for more décor inspiration to enjoy?  Click here to discover more creative ideas.

How Long Does A Real Christmas Tree Last?

How long a real Christmas Tree lasts will of course be influenced by a whole host of factors – its condition upon arrival, the temperature of the house, and how well it is looked after.  However, with the right care, you can expect most trees to last around 4-6 weeks, so comfortably over the Christmas season.

The exception to this is the Norway Spruce which struggles a little more indoors and so will start to fade after around 10-14 days unless kept outside.

5 Simple Tips To Keep Christmas Trees Fresh

We’ve been chatting with the experts to find out how best to care for real Christmas trees and make them last longer.  Here’s the inside scoop:

1. Buy A Tree In Good Condition

Check your tree is in good condition before you purchase.  Ensure the needles are not dry or brittle.  Gently tap the base of the tree trunk to the ground.  You should expect a few needles to fall but if there’s an avalanche, the tree is already struggling and won’t last much longer. (Obviously, you’ll need to bear in mind what kind of tree it is when assessing as some have greater needle retention than others.)

A Line Of Real Christmas Trees In A Christmas Tree Lot Waiting For Sale

Ensure Your Tree Is In Good Condition Before You Buy

2. Make Sure The Trunk Base Is Fresh

Trees naturally cover any exposed wood in sap which considerably reduces their ability to take on water.

To ensure your tree can drink well, cut around an inch off the base of the tree before fixing it in its stand (just like you do with cut flowers before adding them to the vase).  This will make a huge difference to the amount your tree will drink, and hence its needle retention and how long it will last.

Make sure the trunk is directly in contact with the water it is drinking – don’t use soil or sand which can block the pores in the bark.  Pines and Needles advises using a purpose-made Christmas tree stand with good-sized water well.

Top Tip:  Keep the slice of tree you cut off, let it dry fully, and turn it into a Christmas tree decoration or coaster.  Over the years, you can collect a beautiful selection of annual memories of your trees and annual festivities.

Hand sawing bottom inch off trunk of Christmas tree whilst other hand holds trunk firm.

Cut Off The Bottom Inch Or So Of The Trunk To Allow The Tree To Drink Freely

3. Keep The Water Topped Up

Hydration is the key to a long-lasting tree.  A nicely submerged trunk is best for strong, supple needles.

You’ll be amazed how much your tree can drink, sometimes as much as 2-3 pints a day!  Check the water levels daily and top up as necessary.

Avoid the water level falling below the base of the trunk as the wood will again seal with sap (within a matter of hours), reducing future water uptake.

Should I Use Something Other Than Water?

There are so many theories out there about what to feed your Christmas tree – lemonade, aspirin, sugar, …  It’s hard to know what advice to listen to.

However, the experts we consulted and research we undertook were all in agreement that plain old tap water is best.  You can add a little plant/tree nutrient to the water if you’d like but it’s not necessary.

Should I Use Boiling Water?

Again, the jury is out on this one.  Warm water is supposed to help melt the sap and allow the tree to better absorb the water.  However trees are not fans of sudden changes in temperature so the warm water may do more harm than good.

One generally agreed point however is that the warm water helps the tree to release its aroma so if you wanted to try this, perhaps add the warm water just before the guests arrive!

Watering Can Adding Water To Water Well In Stand Under Christmas Tree At Hannah's House.

Be Sure To Water Your Christmas Tree Frequently

4. Keep Your Tree Cool

Trees are not fans of sudden temperature changes so try to keep the environment around your tree constant.

And whilst we all love those idyllic pictures of the Christmas tree by the fireplace, unfortunately heat sources are only going to dry the tree out faster. 

Aim for as cool an environment as you can, perhaps by a window and away from the direct heat of radiators, underfloor heating, and fireplaces if possible.  

5. Minimise Chance Of Needle Drop

Keep your tree away from the main walkways through your home to minimise needle drop from people repeatedly brushing up against it.

Introducing Our Christmas Tree Experts

Jo’s husband Jeff has been selling Christmas trees for almost twenty years.  What started as an evening/weekend job in his teens has become an annual ritual!  Now Jeff returns to the stall every year without fail to help customers, new and old, find their dream tree.  In that time he’s learnt a thing or two about real Christmas trees, including how to look after them.  So we’ve spoiled him with festive treats whilst he shares his knowledge with us.

We’ve also been very fortunate to speak with the fabulous team at UK Christmas Tree Specialists, Pines and Needles, who have shared their guidance on how best to look after our trees too.  

Together with our own research and hands-on experience as annual custodians of real trees, we hope that the information here will enable you to make the most of your Christmas tree this festive season.

MORE LIKE THIS: Christmas Tree

Share Your Creations!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @jollyfestive.

And be sure to tag #jollyfestive in your photos.  We love to see which Christmas activities you’ve been enjoying!

More Décor Inspiration