You can go ahead and add this to the long list of things I’m supposed to know but don’t. Apparently, you’re supposed to water your Christmas tree with some bizarre concoction of bleach and corn syrup and borax and some other stuff in order to keep it fresh. I was shocked. Since when?!
Apparently since always.
I mentioned this newly discovered fact in surprised tones to a group of moms I know, and they all were all like: “Yes, of course! If you want your tree to last and not shed everywhere, of course you do that!” But what they were really thinking was “You’re an idiot. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.”
Well hmmph. I grew up with real Christmas trees and we always just gave them water. And of course they smelled like heaven, looked wonderful and shed copious amounts of needles all over the living room. So I always thought that’s how it was supposed to be.
This is how it usually works for me. It’s a cycle. It’s pretty lame.
1) You buy a real tree and water it with just water.
2) It smells awesome.
3) It sheds like a Labrador.
4) You can’t wait to get it out of your house the second the holidays are over.
5) You still find yourself vacuuming up stray pine needles in July, at which point you curse and swear you will never buy another live tree again because in addition to being a pain in the ass, it is also tree murder.
6) Stores begin displaying fake Christmas trees at some absurdly early time and all you can think is: That doesn’t even seem like a real Christmas tree. Especially not next to all the Halloween costumes and bathing suits on clearance. Stupid Target.
7) Debate buying fake tree with self while shopping at stupid Target for the next month.
8) Fake trees look sort of cool but also really fake. Oohhh! There’s a nice one! Oh dang. Really nice-looking fake trees are expensive as a mofo. (For fun, replace the word “tree” with the word “boobs” and imagine Burt Reynolds saying it. Good times.)
9) See real trees for sale by adorable boy scouts next to the grocery store.
10) Buy real tree.
So this year, you know what I did. Then I saw a random story on the internet about how you could feed it this weird concoction, and it wouldn’t shed and it would last forever. And I told the mommies about it, and they already knew. So I did research. For hours. And I got answers. Because the fine people at Mythbusters tested this theory, and you know what? Plain water is just fine.
They tested bleach, lemon-lime soda, nitric oxide, pain reliever, hairspray and urethane. While a few of these were deemed “plausible,” they also resulted in sickly looking trees. And you know where they got the nitric oxide? From smashed-up Viagra pills.
I am not giving my tree Viagra. Not even to get good wood. Although the bristles might become more firm, you could have a problem if it lasts for more than four hours.
So in conclusion, it is perfectly fine to merely water your Christmas tree rather than brew up some stuff that may get you put on law enforcement’s radar as either a terrorist or someone cooking meth in their rec room. The only thing my research yielded that was deemed universally important in Christmas tree preservation was to make sure you trim the trunk an inch or so from the bottom before bringing it home (much as you would cut the stems of roses to keep them fresh) so that it will drink lots of water and stay green and perky.
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