It is important to give your cut Christmas tree proper care from the time it is purchased until the tree is removed from the house. When purchasing a cut tree give it the freshness test by running your fingers though the needles. If it feels dry and brittle and a lot of needles come off, it is a tree that has been cut for a while and is not one that you should take into your house. When bring the tree home if it is not going to be set up right away it should be placed in a cool shaded area and also set up in a bucket of water to keep it from drying out. As you go to set the tree up in the house, if it has been more than 12 hours since the harvest of the tree, you will need to make a new cut 1/4 to 1/2 inches directly across the bottom of the trunk to improve water uptake. Use a tree stand that is large enough and can hold plenty of water. Avoid whittling down the sides of the trunk to fit the stand for these outer layers are most efficient in taking water up. The stand should hold at least one one quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter, the stand should hold at least one gallon of water. Keep the tree away from any heat source (fireplaces, heat vents, direct sunlight) lowering the temperature in the room will slow the drying out and reduce the water consumption each day. Check the water level daily a cut tree will absorb a lot of water, particularly during the first week. Be sure the water level does not fall below the bottom of the trunk. Check the tree for dryness. If the needles break easily or fall off in your hand, the tree is dry and should be removed. Have a safe and happy holiday.