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CARE OF A REAL CHRISTMAS TREE

A few simple care tips can enhance your enjoyment of your real Christmas tree and keep it fresh and fragrant throughout the holiday season.

When you bring it home, cut a quarter-inch off the base of the trunk. Keep the tree outdoors in a container of water protected from wind and sun until you're ready decorate.

Before bringing it into the house, take another quarter-inch off the base so the stem can take up water. Immediately place the tree in the stand and fill it with fresh water. Keep the water level above the fresh cut, and check the level daily.

For safety's sake, check all electric lights and connections for wear and fraying before putting them on the tree, and never use lighted candles on the tree. Don't overload electrical circuits. Place the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets and other heat sources. Turn off all decorations before retiring at night or leaving the house.

After the holiday, you can place the tree in the garden to hand food from for birds. They like orange slices, bread and suet. Its branches and trunk may be removed and used as mulch in your garden. Branch tips and needles can provide aromatic stuffing for sachets.

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