If you have opted for a real tree this Christmas (accepted stepping on stale needles) here are 5 things you need to know.

If your holidays call for a Christmas tree fresh from the forest, Mlive.com has 5 important tips to keep your family safe and the tree thriving!

1. Always Make Sure You Have A Fresh Cut...

"Whether you're cutting your own tree at a tree farm or out in the woods, or picking out a pre-cut live tree at a Christmas tree lot, be sure to get a fresh cut along the bottom of the trunk: This is what allows the tree to drink up water and keep it alive. If that tree of your is pre-cut, ask for a fresh cut before you take it home. "

2. Don't Leave The Tree Out Of Water For More Then 2 Hours...

After buying their tree, some people might want to run other errands or go Christmas shopping -- during which time, the fresh cut on the bottom of their tree's trunk will crust over with sap, preventing it from taking up water when the tree finally gets put in a tree stand.

3. Keep Tree Away From Heat Sources...

Not placing your tree next to a fireplace seems like a no brainer, but placing it next to any heat source -- including heating ducts -- can dry out your live tree, too. If this can't be helped, make sure to check the tree stand's water more frequently, and fill 'er up when needed.

4. Top Off The Water Often...

"In the first few days, it takes a lot of water, so don't just plop that tree in its tree stand and forget it: Check that the water level stays high in the stand, especially during those first few days.

5. When You take Down Your Christmas Tree, Lay It On A Sheet...

"Just lay the tree down on a large bed sheet and drag it out the door; the sheet will collect and contain and needles that fall along the way. "

Merry Christmas, and enjoy your live tree!

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