The Christmas Tree Crib Sheet: How To Pick, Set up, and Care For Your Tree

by Brett on December 9, 2008 · 40 comments

in Just For Fun, Manly Skills

If a man’s job on Thanksgiving is to carve the turkey, his main Christmas responsibility is the selecting and setting up of the tree. The undisputed symbol of the holiday season, the Christmas tree is the centerpiece of one’s holiday decorations, the focus to which the eye is drawn and people gather. A handsome, large, well-decorated tree, with its twinkling lights and festive ornaments, can warm the heart of even the Scroogiest man. No one can resist its allure; even my Jewish friends put up a “Hanukkah” bush.

Selecting, setting up, and caring for your tree is therefore a responsibility you should take seriously. By following these tips, your Christmas tree will be a source of pride for you, and a source of delight for your family and friends.

Selecting a Christmas Tree


1. Never, ever, buy a plastic tree. This is the cardinal rule of Christmas trees. It’s non-negotiable. A lot of myths get floated around about real Christmas trees that simply aren’t true. Yes, artificial trees are convenient. Yes, artificial trees are cheap. But artificial trees are artificial. At a time of year when you’re celebrating the most authentic things in life: joy, family, giving, and faith, a fake, plastic tree is an entirely inappropriate symbol. It’s interesting to note that the creator of the first fake Christmas tree was the Addis Brush Co., maker of green toilet bowl brushes.

You don’t want a gigantic toilet bowl brush in your living room; you want real branches made out of real wood with real green needles on each bough. Most of all, you want the scent of Christmas, the scent of pine to fill your home. Attempting to recreate this scent with an evergreen scented Glade candle is Christmas sacrilege, punishable by 50 lashes.

Need one more reason? While I know not everyone cares about this, for those who do, remember that buying real trees gives jobs to American Christmas tree farmers and others. Buying plastic trees merely spreads some holiday cheer to a factory in China.

 

2. Buy early. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, you want to have the best selection of trees possible; if you go late, all the trees will have been picked over, and you’ll end up with a Peanuts tree. Secondly, if you’re buying a precut tree, those trees are going to be sitting on the lot every day until Christmas. They’re basking in the sun, not being watered, and drying out. If you buy the tree early, you don’t need to set it up immediately (see “Setting up the Tree” below), but the tree might as well be sitting outside your house in a bucket of water instead of flapping around like a parched goldfish on the lot.

3. Measure the ceiling height where you want to put the tree. You don’t want to pay more for a bigger tree only to have to clip off the top.

4. Visit your local Christmas tree dealer. Your best choice is to head to a Christmas tree farm, where you can cut down a tree right then and there. This not only ensures that you get the freshest tree possible, cutting down a tree will make you feel manly. Plus, the setting helps you get in the holiday mindset. If there isn’t a Christmas tree farm near you, find a tree lot that just sells Christmas trees. Under no circumstances should you buy your Christmas tree in the parking lot of Home Depot. Buying a Christmas tree is a crucial step in getting into the holiday spirit; having a big box store as the backdrop simply won’t do.

5. Select which type of tree you want

Fraser Fir: The most popular choice for a Christmas tree, the Fraser fir has a nice dark green color, a uniform shape, and that strong, long-lasting Christmas scent you’re looking for. The needles are short and firm, and the tree holds onto them well. The branches are quite sturdy and can support that big clay bagel wreath ornament you made in second grade.

Balsam Fir-Quite similar to the Fraser fir, the Balsam fir has a pleasing shape, long-lasting needles and scent, and a healthy green color.

Douglas Fir-It’s hard to go wrong with a Douglas fir. It has that ideal Christmas tree profile-long and pyramidal-and is uniformly shaped on all sides. The branches hold onto the soft, green or blue-green needles well. Gives off a sweet, citrusy scent.

Leyland Cypress: Popular in the Southeast, the Leyland Cypress comes with a few downsides. The soft, delicate foliage may look pretty, but the branches can’t support heavy ornaments, and the tree has little scent.

Scotch Pine: While we often call every Christmas tree a “pine tree,” most are firs, not pines. But the Scotch pine is the real McCoy. It has a long-lasting pine scent and sturdy branches to hold your heavy ornaments. The tree also resists drying, and even if it does become dry, it won’t drop its needles. On the con side, some people do not like its long, 2-3 inch needles.

Virginia Pine: Typically small to medium in size, the Virginia pine has sturdy branches and a scent Pine-sol will never be able to duplicate. The needles of the Virginia pine grow in pairs that become twisted with each other, resulting in dense foliage. The branches hold onto the needles well.

6. Look for shape, then size. Of course, the thrill of the search is to find a tree that is both nicely shaped and magnificently large. But while is tempting to simply go for the gargantuan tree, the first thing to look for is pleasing proportionality. A nicely shaped tree will get more compliments than a mammoth but gangly one. Look for large gaps or holes in the branches. Don’t buy a tree from a lot where they keep the trees locked down under netting. You won’t be able to tell what the tree really looks like. And the tree is longing to break its shackles and breathe free. But you may want to ask for the tree to be netted before you go home; it makes carrying the tree much easier.

When it comes to size, keep in mind the number of ornaments and strings of lights you have to decorate the tree with. A gargantuan tree with only a sprinkling of ornaments will look silly; likewise, a small tree struggling to support six ornaments per branch with appear garish.

7. Check for freshness. Ask the seller when the trees were cut. Look for nice, green needles, and check for the presence of brown ones. But remember, many sellers paint their trees to increase the green color. Check the branches and bark for green coloring. While some do this simply to enhance the tree’s greenness, others may be hiding a wilted, brown tree. Run your hand down the branch; most of the needles should stay put. Bend the needles. On a fir tree, the needle should snap crisply; on a pine tree, the needle should bend and not break.

Setting up Your Christmas Tree

1. Wait until about two weeks before Christmas to bring the tree inside the house for decorating. You’re surely eager to get the tree up and decked out, but leaving the tree outside will keep it fresh longer. The more time the tree spends sitting inside your warm, centrally heated home, the faster it’s going to dry out and drop its needles. Keep the tree sitting in a bucket of water while it’s outside.

2. Choose a location away from heat sources. When you do bring the tree inside, set it up away from heating vents, radiators, and other hot spots. They will dry the tree out quicker than Bunnicula sucking on a carrot.

3. Saw off an inch from the bottom of the tree. The bottom of the tree gets sappy, and this prevents water from being absorbed into the wood. Some tree places will do this sawing for you when you buy the tree.

4. Cut off any branches that interfere with placing the tree in the tree stand.

5. Make it straight. When you place the tree in the tree stand, make sure it’s standing as straight and tall as a Marine at attention. While this can be a painstaking task, if the tree is crooked, it’s going to bother you every day until Christmas. So keep making adjustments until it’s just right.

Caring for Your Christmas Tree

Keep it watered. Trees drink water like camels, so be sure to check the level of water in the tree stand every day and make sure the bottom of the tree is immersed.

Got any secrets on picking, setting up, or caring for you Christmas tree? Share them with us in the comments!

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shaun December 9, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Don’t forget to put down a mat of some description before setting up the tree – saves heaps of time on cleanup later on – also, wear gloves ’cause the sap can get everywhere!

2 The Mameluke December 9, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Excellent article, although I always insist on cutting my own tree each year, if possible. I have always considered it a Christmas tradition to hike out to the farthest corner of the Christmas tree farm with my family and cut my own fresh tree. I considered it a rite of passage the first year my Dad let me cut the tree. I got down on my hands and knees in the muck and snow and sawed through the tree the way my Dad had shown me. I still cut the tree every year we go out. Every man should experience cutting down his own Christmas tree if he can.

3 Adam December 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm

When I was growing up, we had some nice vaulted ceilings and usually bought a tree tag for $2 and headed out to the woods to find something. They always managed to grow a few feet between the woods and the house. With such a tall tree, it was rather unstable with a standard base. So we ended up nailing the tree stand to the floor after we got the tree set the way we liked it. I thought my dad had lost it when the first time, but it really made the tree much more stable, and once the tree stand was removed, the carpet looked none the worse (albeit, it was green shag to start with…)

4 Will December 9, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Check the water especially the first day, in case it was dried out.

How timely: we just put ours up!

5 Bob Iger December 9, 2008 at 11:46 pm

I may not be an American but I do care about American jobs… To outsource our trees to China would be sacrilegious to me too. Remember, the Chinese take our jobs too.

6 Stephen M. December 10, 2008 at 12:10 am

A tip for keeping that tree outside in a bucked until you are ready to set it up: My father always added a few tablespoons of bleach and some 7-up to the water the tree was in and changed it every few days. If we had any plant food that was made for cut plants/flowers, like the kind you get at the flower shop, he’d dump that in as well. This worked so well that we would cut our tree down early, the week of or sometimes the week before Thanksgiving. The weather in northern Illinois is usually nicer in late November versus early December.

7 Helen December 10, 2008 at 4:53 am

I like my artificial tree, so I have to disagree with you on that point. I have had real trees and they can be a mess, especially when the family doesn’t help in caring for it or taking it down! Artificial trees are much easier for older people when they don’t have help and have to do it alone!! So, don’t be to hard on the good old “artificial tree”

8 Paul December 10, 2008 at 5:31 am

A Blue Spruce is also a great Christmas tree — it has a bit of a bluish tint (thus the name) and a really great mountain-fresh smell. But some people are allergic to them, so be careful.

9 Frank December 10, 2008 at 5:43 am

Originally Posted By The MamelukeExcellent article, although I always insist on cutting my own tree each year, if possible. I have always considered it a Christmas tradition to hike out to the farthest corner of the Christmas tree farm with my family and cut my own fresh tree. I considered it a rite of passage the first year my Dad let me cut the tree. I got down on my hands and knees in the muck and snow and sawed through the tree the way my Dad had shown me. I still cut the tree every year we go out. Every man should experience cutting down his own Christmas tree if he can.

I have to agree here. I have been cutting my tree down for the past 15 or so years. Each year my family drives up from Long Island to the tree farm in Connecticut to get the freshest tree possible. We were getting tired of the half dead trees we were finding at the tree lots, and an artificial tree is NOT an option in my house. It is truly an experience that you will never forget. Now i get to experience this with my sons.

10 Chaka December 10, 2008 at 6:15 am

Thanks for the tips. Love the Bunnicula reference!

11 R December 10, 2008 at 6:15 am

I’d rather go with either a live tree or the artificial tree that can last 20+ years. Unless you treat it like garbage, which is unmanly and wasteful in itself, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t last that long if you pack it up nicely every year when your done.

Cutting down millions of trees every year so you can look at it for a few days and mulch it it a giant waste. When you add up the cost of shipping all these trees to populated areas (they are generally grown in more rural areas where land and space are cheap), it’s pretty ugly.

Live trees at least can be planted on your property, or donated to someone who can plant it after the holidays are over.

Besides the environmental concerns, it’s just wasteful to grow a tree to simply chop down and look at for a week or two, then throw to the curb. It also increases municipal costs since your town or city needs to dispose of those all. It’s not cheap. Many places have to budget special pickups of all the trees.

I just don’t see how being wasteful with our resources is considered manly. IMHO it’s more about being resourceful and making the most of what nature provides for us. Using the entire animal rather than just killing it for it’s pelt.

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13 Tim December 10, 2008 at 7:01 am

I have to say I prefer a real tree, but we have a dog that gets terribly sick (vomit/diarrhea) from eating the needles. So for us it’s plastic tree that doesn’t shed.

14 Brian December 10, 2008 at 7:38 am

Good Article… and how timely; my family will be getting our tree tomorrow night. There are pros and cons to the whole live vs. artificial vs. “living” tree argument. I would like to point out that most if not all of the trees mentioned above are conifers (fast growing evergreens). Trees that are harvested from local tree farms are a great option not only to build family traditions, but to also support the local agriculture community. In a day an age were many family farms are disappearing and farming is becoming the domain of large corporations; I’d rather see money spent locally and bonds created in the community to support local businesses and traditions. Where I live, our city designates a day to have your tree to the curb; the tree is picked up by brush collection and ground up into mulch that is made available to the public for free in the early spring; any remainder is used in the city parks. Others would argue that artificial trees are convenient; with this I would have to agree. It is much easier for my 80 year old grandfather to wrestle with a tree that he can tackle in segments, than to haul in a 7′ Douglas Fir in to the family room. He has also been quick to point out to my tree hugging cousin that with the amount of petroleum used to manufacture the plastic for the needles and electricity to process the metal, we’re going to need to plant more trees to clean the air; namely conifers. Living trees are an option if you live in an area where you can plant a tree and the variety of living tree is adaptable to your region. Please note that the lovely living Christmas tree that you find at you big box home center was probably ordered by a central purchasing agent who was more concerned with how many trees the vendor could provide rather than the sustainability of the tree in the region where it would be sold. My plan will be to buy my tree from a local tree farm. The owners are good stewards of the land and make every effort to make sure it is not only there for them and their children, but for their grandchildren’s grandchildren. To each their own.

15 Tim Prickett December 10, 2008 at 8:12 am

Originally Posted By HelenI like my artificial tree, so I have to disagree with you on that point. I have had real trees and they can be a mess, especially when the family doesn’t help in caring for it or taking it down! Artificial trees are much easier for older people when they don’t have help and have to do it alone!! So, don’t be to hard on the good old “artificial tree”

Agreed. I witnessed a tree-fire first hand once and, though the lighting technology is vastly improved, i will continue to use my VERY authentic looking and beautiful artificial tree. Loved the article though.

16 Nesagwa December 10, 2008 at 8:25 am

Our cat keeps attacking our little 4 foot fake tree and chewing on the lights.

Not sure having a tree at all is a good idea since were going to our parents houses to actually celebrate.

17 Mandi December 10, 2008 at 8:26 am

Part of enjoying life and developing character is learning to enjoy the “messing up” process just as much or even more than the cleanliness. Children are messy too, but the reward is worth it. Real trees are messy but they are beautiful, naturally scented and real.

18 Derek December 10, 2008 at 8:28 am

@R-

“Cutting down millions of trees every year so you can look at it for a few days and mulch it it a giant waste. When you add up the cost of shipping all these trees to populated areas (they are generally grown in more rural areas where land and space are cheap), it’s pretty ugly.”

You should read the article Brett linked to above. Christmas trees are grown on Christmas tree farms. To say that they are a waste is like saying that it’s a waste to eat anything with corn or wheat because it has to be grown and shipped and then you just poop it out the next day. And as far as shipping costs, it costs more to ship millions of trees from China to America than it does to ship trees from one state to another-both in money and emissions. And as Brian points out, many communities have tree recycling programs. And trees are biodegradable. You can’t say either of those things about fake trees.

19 Scott December 10, 2008 at 8:43 am

An indispensable item for the real Christmas tree is the Swivel Stand. After you have cut off the bottom off the tree outside, you slip a cup over the bottom of the tree and then tighten the bolts. Very simple. This eliminates the frustration of crawling under the tree to tighten and loosen the bolts to get it straight.

After this you carry the tree inside and drop the cup (and the tree) into the stand. There is a pedal on the stand that you press with your foot allowing you to move or “swivel” the tree back and forth until your wife tells you it is straight. Simply take your foot off the pedal and the tree locks into place. It is also a nice big stand providing great stability and it holds alot of water too. We bought ours years ago and still have it. It is definitely worth the $35 you will drop on it.

Do yourself a favor and get a Swivel Stand (I was not paid for this endorsement). :-)

20 Adam Snider December 10, 2008 at 11:44 am

Unfortunately, I’m an apartment dweller and my building, like so many others, doesn’t allow real trees. Because of this, I’m forced to use an artificial Christmas tree.

Just a note to the person who said that real trees are a waste, that’s not true. Christmas trees are grown on tree farms. Because of that, they are a renewable resource. I’ve actually read a few articles that claim real trees are more environmentally friendly than artificial trees (so long as they are grown on a tree farm). This is despite the fact that artificial trees can be reused for many years if taken care of.

21 Joel M December 10, 2008 at 11:51 am

was told a few years back that adding near boiling water every so often will melt the sap that begins to eventually form. tried it last year and it works well.

22 Bret December 10, 2008 at 11:56 am

I disagree with the Home Depot advice. If you go in the evening, many times you can find the freshest, best looking trees available, fresh off the truck. They sell a LOT of trees, so they have new trees coming in daily and are fresh, unlike the $80 trees sitting in the sun at the tree lot. Sales Volume = Frequent stock rotation = Freshness.

23 Geoff R. Casavant December 10, 2008 at 2:25 pm

I suppose how one comes down on the live/artificial debate will depend on one’s definition of manliness. It seems that the comments extolling live trees focus on the feeling of going outside and doing the manual labor to cut the tree, which is certainly respectable.

But my definition of manliness also includes making sure I make economical choices, the better to be a good provider. Not as chest-thumpy, perhaps, but the $230 I just spent on a pre-lit artificial tree saves us the headaches of sweeping up needles, and works out to $10-20 per year, assuming the tree lasts an average lifespan. Plus, our old artifical tree that we have outgrown can go to Goodwill, and perhaps some other man who is down on his luck this year can nevertheless provide a tree for his family for just a few bucks.

All in all, a good trade-off.

24 Craig December 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Man up! Live trees are the way to go. I’ve had a few last over 8 years before requiring planting (or, sadly, passing).

25 John December 10, 2008 at 3:44 pm

You want a real manly thing to do? You can get a tree tag to cut one down out of a local national forest. It is great for the forest (thins things out since they don’t let them burn regularly any more), it is a little adventure, and is a great time with the family. Plus where I live, they are about $10…

What better thing to do than to show off your manliness to your wife, kids, and friends, than handling a truck/jeep; off-road, in the snow, trudging through the cold in awesome outdoor gear, bearing the elements to thin out the forest with a saw, or better yet an axe.

The tags usually have strict rules, which is a great start to building your kid’(s) respect for the laws, learning a little about the importance of “thinning” all populations and respecting the rules associated with such (hunting, fishing, etc). Plus, get your tree, bring some saucers and do some sledding away from those gross sled parks.

And if your friends complain about how “un-manicured” your tree is, you get to tell them an awesome story of facing mother nature to bring home a tree for your family (making everyone in the room, including their wife, jealous)…

26 Stan Duke December 10, 2008 at 7:41 pm

I would love to have a real tree, even if just once, but can’t. But I do have at least a legitimate reason not to: a son with allergy-induced asthma. Live trees indoors plays havoc on his allergies. Just a heads-up for any parent’s looking to purchase a live tree for the first time.

27 Craig December 10, 2008 at 9:11 pm

I second Paul on the Blue Spruce – they are beautiful trees.

Also, I don’t quite buy into the “leave it outside for two weeks.”
We buy our trees the day after thanksgiving, and have kept them up to a few weeks in January. This can be 8+ weeks and we put them inside the day that we cut them down.

Fake trees are awful!! Great post.

28 grant December 11, 2008 at 5:34 am

I understand a 1:1 solution of sugared (not diet) lemon-lime soda (7-Up, Sprite, etc.) and distilled water is an excellent extender of freshness for cut Christmas trees.

29 Mike December 11, 2008 at 5:41 am

In addition to this post, a great tradition to have is volunteering to sell trees for charity, whether it be the Boy Scouts or your local church. I always have a great time with my wife helping families pick out their holiday tree. I hope to continue this tradition with a son or daughter someday.

30 Robert E. Lee December 11, 2008 at 7:47 am

“Never, ever, buy a plastic tree. This is the cardinal rule of Christmas trees. It’s non-negotiable. ”

I’ve an artificial tree I’ve used for almost 30 years. It’s tough getting a real tree when you are stationed places like Saudi Arabia or Korea or the Philippines. It’s even tougher trying to explain to small children that Santa will come even if they don’t have a Christmas tree.
While I’d prefer a live tree, growing year after year as my children grow, an artificial tree has given them a sense of familiarity in a constantly changing environment. There is indeed a place for artificial trees.

31 Eric December 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I love our artificial tree. It’s a high-quality one passed down from my wife’s parents, and is at least twenty years old. Yes, it looks a little fake, but does a passable job as a fir tree that we only use for a couple of weeks a year. In the end, after it’s been decorated, it’s a Christmas tree that evokes just as much joy as a real one.

Even if your tree comes from a tree farm, how much water (and nutrients, and pesticide) is being wasted to grow these temporary trees? I find that pretty wasteful, myself.

32 Chris December 11, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Four words for you gentlemen: “Vintage Aluminum Christmas Tree”

I’ve got one and I put it outside my den every year. Sure, I wouldn’t make it the main tree in family room, but it’s tough to beat the two score and five ersatz retro arbor wonder for sheer coolness.

33 Terri December 11, 2008 at 7:59 pm

In this area at least, you can go to the tree farm and tag your tree early in the season, and come to cut it down when you are ready to put it up. This works very well for us, since our family tradition is to not put the tree up until the day before Christmas Eve. We do adapt a little to work around winter storms.

I have also gone the Forest Service route, and it is a great adventure. But the really manly part of any tree expedition is all the macrame involved. You should do an article on the manly art of securing cargo with rope, and the art of guying the tree to the woodwork with fishing line so it doesn’t fall over.

34 Adam December 13, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Do not use a reciprocating saw with a blade designed to cut metal to cut the end of your tree off.

Use a bow saw. If you do not have a bow saw, buy one. You will feel manly and will not look like a dunce trying to chip away at a 5 inch trunk with a screwdriver and hammer.

35 Feli Galker December 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm

It’s a dying planet – every tree cut off is a dead lung.
A real man plants a new tree for every other tree he cuts down. Or pays for cutting down.
Urban men can donate to the JNF
(http://www.jnf.co.uk/campaigns/tree-certificates )
or any other forestation association for the wellbeing of our planet Earth.
Happy Holidays.

36 Ola October 28, 2009 at 4:56 am

Though this may be considered cheating, putting a hook or nail in the ceiling and fastening the top of the tree to it with fishing line or similar may help you not only keep the tree straight when fastening it, if you leave it there, it will also prevent pets and kids from tipping it.

The real hurdle though, is to get the lights in, distributed evenly.

…and yeah, I want a vintage aluminium tree too, and a color wheel for it.

37 E. Robert Marquardt November 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Tired of those flimsy tree stands that don’t hold enough water for your dog, let alone a tree? The best tree stand is a galvanized bucket or pail. Remove the handle and drill 4 small holes equally spaced around the rim. Attach the end of 4 lengths (3 foot) of bailing wire to the rim in the holes you drilled. Cut a piece of scrap 1/2in thick plywood or board to fit inside the bottom of the bucket. To mount the tree in the bucket, cut off the bottom inch of the tree (make sure it is square) and nail the piece of wood to the bottom (one nail will do). Stand the tree in the bucket, trimming off any low branches that interfere with the bucket. Making sure the tree is standing straight in the bucket, attach the 4 wires to the trunk of the tree, as far up the trunk as possibleand pulled tight, to secure the tree to the bucket. You should be able to lift the tree and the bucket will be securely attached. Carry the tree into the house and place it in the room on a piece of plywood or heavy cardboard so the pail does not mar the carpet/flooring. (Mom used to place a white sheet on top to cover the wood under the pail) Fill the bucket with broken pieces of bricks or concrete blocks and fill the bucket with water. The first day you will have to add water a number of times because the bricks will absorb the water initially. Add water daily to ensure the tree does not dry out so fast.
For an added measure of security if you have pets climbing in the tree or kids pulling the tree over, secure the tree with wire to nails in the baseboard, or at the top to the wall/ceiling. Decorate the pail by wrapping it with foil or mylar wrapping paper (waterproof), or you can decorate it by painting, etc.

When it is time to remove the tree, take out the bricks (helps to have another bucket to put them in, they will drip water.), remove the wires securing to the wall and carefully remove the tree, being carefull not to spill the remaining water. (I usually cut the tree in half so I can easily carry the bottom half with the bucket/water out without spilling.) unfasten the wires from the tree and remove the bucket and store for next year.

Works like charm, and not as hard as it sounds.

38 Julian December 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Nota Bene::
Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth, but I do understand it is a universal celebration that transcends religious boundaries. Although Christmas trees and others decorative items have been added on over the years through various cultures (Germany for the Christmas tree), the timing of them is important. For Catholics the traditional time to put up the Christmas tree is the afternoon of Christmas Eve, since the time before that is Advent, in waiting for Christmas (same as Lent is for Easter). The twelve days of Christmas begins on December 25th and continues till January 6th, which is the Epiphany (the visit of the Three Kings).

The commercialization of Christmas has spread the idea of celebrating Christmas earlier and earlier (right after Thanksgiving now) in order to get the masses into the holiday spirit i.e shopping. Instead, Advent should be given due consideration, and celebrated in its own right, with things such as Advent wreaths and candles, etc. But of course, this is for those that take their faith seriously.

Even if circumstances make it necessary to put up the Christmas tree earlier in Advent, we can still maintain some sense of the Advent season by not lighting the lights until Christmas Eve, or by putting out our most precious decorations (and perhaps the star for the top of the tree) only on Christmas Eve. Such practices increase the sense of expectation, especially among young children, and make Christmas Day all the more joyful.

Just spreading knowledge of Orthodoxy, but understand that Orthopraxy is the difficult part.

39 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin December 24, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Julian,
our tradition was to put the tree up on Gaudete Sunday (2d to last before Christmas), and take it down on Epiphany. After removing all the decorations, we’d burn it in the fireplace, using pruning loppers to remove all the branches before cutting up the trunk. Our tree was usually a blue spruce, always purchased at Eastern Market.

40 William Barnett-Lewis December 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I just wish it were possible to find pine trees anymore. All I can find around here are the ugly hyper shedding fir trees. Ick. A nice white pine is far more pleasant to have in the house.

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