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While most of us like to take down the Christmas tree shortly after the new year, there’s nothing worse than a tree that’s browning or losing needles like crazy by Boxing Day. Having to take down your tree, facing the reality that the holidays are over and coming to terms with the inevitably of returning back to work is depressing enough, but imagine having to place all those ornaments back in their boxes a week early because your tree just didn’t last? Well, don’t fret, here are seven easy ways to keep your tree — and your spirits — bright and healthy until 2018.

1. Buy the freshest tree you can

If possible, cut down your own tree. That way you know it’s fresh, you know where it came from and how long ago it was cut. If you can’t or simply don’t want to go to a tree farm and do the work yourself, carefully inspect your tree before buying. Don’t buy a tree with needles that are already brown in places. That is not a fresh tree. Needles should also be pliable, not brittle or dry. Also, ask where the tree came from and when it was cut. While we can’t promise that the seller will be 100 per cent honest, you’ll at least get an idea of how fresh your tree is.

2. Cover your tree on the way home

Throw a tarp in the car just in case the tree farm or seller doesn’t provide wrapping for your tree. You’ll either strap your new tree to the roof of your car or stuff it into your trunk (with most of it sticking out quite a bit), so it’ll be exposed to the cold wind and snow, which can dry out those needles fast. Protect your tree until it’s home.

3. Cut the stem

If you buy a pre-cut tree, either have the seller cut an inch to an inch and half off the bottom or do it yourself at home. Once a tree is cut, the sap will try to seal up the cut, making it difficult for your tree to absorb water and stay fresh.

4. Keep it hydrated

Even if you aren’t ready to set up your tree right away, place it in a bucket of water and keep the stem covered at all times. If it’s going into its stand, make sure the base holds at least two litres of water and refill it daily. Don’t add sugar or aspirin or vodka to the water. None of those tricks work to lengthen the life of your tree. Just plain water is fine.

5. Keep it cool

Don’t place your tree near heating vents or big, sunny windows as these will only dry the tree out more. While you may have your heart set on a tree right next to your cozy fireplace so you can gaze at both the roaring fire and your twinkling lights, this is not only bad for your tree but potentially dangerous because the tree is flammable, even when watered regularly. Choose a nice, cool place for your tree that will help it look its best for as long as possible.

6. Change up your lights

Consider switching your old Christmas lights to LED lights, which give off almost no heat at all. Older lights can give off heat and will dry out your tree and its needles sooner than LED lights.

7. Turn up the humidity

Besides watering daily, try running a humidifier in the room where your tree is. It might sound ridiculous but if you’ve used one before, you know how much healthier your skin looks in the winter when you have your humidifier running. It can do the same thing for your tree, making it look fresher and stay fresher longer.