How Long Do Christmas Trees Last? Here’s What You Should Know

Before you even begin to decorate your fresh new tree with Christmas ornaments, you need to prep it so it'll last through the holidays. If all you want for Christmas is to keep your Christmas tree alive, we hear you.

As soon as the holiday jingles start and the first chill is in the air, it’s natural to want to head straight to the Christmas tree lot.

When to put up a Christmas tree varies household to household, but if you want to keep it alive through the holidays, there’s actually an ideal window to buy your tree.

Wait until as long as you can to put up your Christmas tree.

Here are our favorite tips on what to do before, during, and after to ensure your Christmas tree has lived its best life.

How Long Do Christmas Trees Last?

To keep the scent of Christmas lingering in your household, you’ll want the freshest tree possible. Stop by a u-cut tree farm to pick your perfect tree. That way you’ll know it’s been a few hours instead of a few weeks since your tree was cut.

When properly cared for, a real Christmas tree should last about a month.

Bringing Your Tree Home

Now that you’ve selected your perfect tree, it’s time to prep it for the grand display.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Cut the base again - If your tree is precut, have the retailer chop off the base again. This will make it easier for the tree to absorb water needed to stay fresh.
  • Store properly - If you aren’t putting your tree up right away, store it in a bucket of water away from direct sunlight and wind.
  • Transport with care - To prevent damaging your beautiful new tree, be sure to carefully place it into your vehicle as to not break any branches. Bring some helpers!
  • Make sure your stand fits - Don’t cut away the bark to fit your tree into its stand. These outer layers are what help the tree soak up water best.

    Important Tree Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

    Keep your real Christmas tree fresh with these easy-to-remember tips. When all else fails, just add water.

    How to keep a Christmas tree fresh:

    • Check water level daily - Trees love water, so make sure your Christmas tree is getting enough of it. A tree stand should hold at least a gallon of water.

    • Keep away from heat sources - Keep away from the fireplace, heating vents, etc. to keep needles from getting too crispy!

    • Protect your tree - If you have children or curious pets, make sure your tree is placed behind a gate or other barrier to prevent damage to your tree.

    Saying Goodbye to Your Christmas Tree

    You’ll know when to take a Christmas tree down because the needles start to yellow or fall off in bulk. There’s numerous ways to dispose of your Christmas tree, including environmentally-conscious options.

    Here’s how you know it’s time to toss the tree:

    • Dry needles - If you’re finding more and more needles on your floor, it means your tree is drying out. Run your hands over the branches. If the needles are brittle,  you’ll know it’s time to take down your Christmas tree.
    • Consider your disposal options -  If you don't want to chop up your Christmas tree or haul it to the curb,  there's other ways to recycle it. Local Boy Scout Troops might pick up your tree for a small donation. Check with local nonprofits before trash day arrives.
    • Don’t burn it - Christmas trees burn fast, which can spread a fire quickly if you aren’t prepared. If you try to burn your tree in your chimney, it could result in expensive repairs as pines and spruces produces a sticky substance called creosote.

    Wait for December

    If you’re hoping to keep your Christmas tree alive longer, just wait.

    Even if Christmas tree lots pop up before Thanksgiving, you won’t regret waiting if it means having that fresh Christmassy smell all the way up to December 25.

    We know. It’s hard.

    But holding off on your favorite seasonal purchase will keep your festive centerpiece fresh a lot longer.

    We also have tips for decorating your tree. Whether it's with lights, flocking, ribbon, or traditional Christmas ornaments, we've got you covered! 

    What tips do you have to keep a Christmas tree alive for longer periods? Share your hacks in the comments below!

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    Written by

    Rachael Mitchell

    Rachael Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, and has over 15 years of writing experience. She’d never be able to pick just one favorite ornament, but narrowed it down to the S’more and Tennis Ball. She always looks forward to s’mores in the summer with friends and family adding gourmet ingredients, and played 4 years of college tennis in the mid-west.

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