Putting Up the Christmas Tree

sawing christmas tree trunk

sawing christmas tree trunksawing christmas tree trunk

Ben Blair is catching a plane this morning. He’ll be gone till Sunday night, which means we were determined to get the Christmas tree up last night so that the kids and I can decorate it this weekend. Putting up the tree is about a million times easier with 2 people helping, don’t you agree?

sawing christmas tree trunk

Ours had been sitting in a bucket of water in the garage since Saturday. Ben Blair pulled it into the house and used our new saw — picked up at the hardware store specifically for this occasion — to cut off about 4 inches of trunk and a few lower branches. Then we put it into the water-filled-stand immediately. I’m hoping the fresh cut trunk will soak up water for many, many days and keep the tree looking and smelling wonderful through Christmas. (Our garage, by the way, happens to smell terrific now.)

What about you? Have you already put your tree up? Do you prefer a fresh tree or pre-lit tree? (We use both.)

stanley saw heavy duty christmas treestanley saw heavy duty christmas tree

Having a new, very-sharp saw made the task go super fast. Having Ben Blair’s very strong arms helped too! He was able to slice through in less than a minute, I swear. The whole task from beginning to end took about 5 minutes. Not bad at all. I love having the right tool for the job. In this case, the Stanley SharpTooth was perfect.

swivel straight christmas tree stand

For a tree stand, I swear by the Swivel Straight model. It has this pedal you push down that allows you to move the tree easily until it’s straight. I love it! If you’re looking for your own Swivel Straight, know that this is the 3rd or 4th year that we’ve used this stand, so the packaging might be different now.

56 thoughts on “Putting Up the Christmas Tree”

  1. What a lovely tradition, Gabrielle. With Australian Christmases in summer, I don’t think many people tend to use real pine trees, so it’s nice to imagine what it must be like. Ours is going up tomorrow!

  2. Definitely a real tree! Ours goes up the Sunday after thanksgiving. Our house smells wonderful! Now if I can just remember to water it every day…

  3. Hey Gabrielle! You’ve got me inspired to get our tree!! We usually go to a farmer who has a large forest of trees on his acreage and lets us cut our own! (this year we are away so we will have to look elsewhere!) Such an amazing tradition, and one thing we also do in addition to a fresh cut at home before putting it in the water – we (ok, hubby!) peel the bark off the last 4 inches, or what will sit in the water – to allow for more surface area for water absorption. Our trees last from the first week of Dec. to first week of Jan! I have to imagine that this little trick helps. Have you heard of this? Happy Decorating and Happy Holidays!

  4. Isn’t it part of Colorado’s bylaws that when you migrate into the state, you are required to invest in only fresh Christmas trees? They make the house smell incredible! Our tree is up, but because of budgetary restrictions, we are once again re-using our faithful fake. Maybe next year…

  5. Can’t wait to see it up and shimmering!

    Would it be “fitting” (a little pun!) to do a post on Holiday party attire? I want something fun and classy to wear but can’t spend over $100… just an idea for a fantastic DM post! You seem to know how to squeeze the most out of a clothing budget :)

      1. If I could make a humble request as well – could you add a few options for those of us who are pregnant at the moment? Thanks! :)

        1. Sorry…as for maternity (I’m in the same boat), I’m going vintage this year. I bought a tent type dress with a funky pattern that I’ll hem above the knees to pair with boots. This will be gracing my holiday parties!

  6. Gabrielle, I love your blog and your adorable family. You have awesome style and impeccable taste. But — and I’m sorry but I just have to say this — this post is a TOTAL sell out. I’d much rather see a True Value ad on your blog than read this advertorial crap. “I love having the right tool for the job. In this case, the Stanley SharpTooth was perfect.” Seriously? You’re one step away from this product placement disaster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uObLcznfjY

    1. Hah! Thanks for the laugh, Cara. You’re right, it sounds totally cheesy! That’s what I get for doing my writing when I should be sleeping instead. : )

      I joined True Value’s Blog Squad last summer and make a point of mentioning them whenever I drop by. It doesn’t normally seem to bother anyone, so I’ll assume my bad writing is to blame.

      1. Gabrielle… I think your posts are amazing and am sure that you wouldn’t post something (sponsored or not) that you didn’t think was absolutely amazing. And let’s face it, you have to make a living some how… why not do it while working with great companies? Way to go Gabby!

  7. Currently we have 2 lovely fakes (one very Charlie Brownesque with a real trunk that I love) but I always grew up with real trees. I love the smell of them too! Actually, I saw at Michaels the other day, little pine hanging sticks (think like a mini pencil) that you hang on your tree and it makes it smell like a real tree. Probably not as good as the real thing but a nice alternative!
    I digress though…I was writing to say that as a kid I remember my father pouring a can of Sprite into the tree holder then topped it up with water. It seemed to last forever and needed less waterings.

    1. I use Sprite for cut flowers. I don’t know why, but it works. I can’t use Sprite for the tree, though, because my dog will drink it all and then I’ll have a dry tree and a sick dog. :(

  8. I am happy to report that all of my Christmas decorations are up already. I’m not quite sure how that happened but I am excited that we will get to enjoy it for a little longer this year.

    Growing up, we always had an artificial tree. My hubby and I have decided that we prefer a fresh tree and you are right, it makes the house smell wonderful! We have talked about getting a live tree next year and planting it in our yard after the holidays are over. I’m curious to see if it would survive…

  9. We cut our tree down ourselves this year. It’s something like $10 a permit and we go to Buffalo Creek which is about 45-60 minutes west of Denver on the 285. I highly recommend it!!

  10. We switched it up this year and purchased a 4′ artificial tree in a urn. We placed this on top of our buffet along with our collection of Christmas police stations (my husband is a police officer). We have two puppies and last year they thought the Christmas tree was their personal water dish. I miss the smell of pine, but the change to a smaller tree is making the holiday much more enjoyable so far this year.

  11. Jennifer Currie

    I haven’t officially decided yet… I love the smell of a fresh tree but the ease of a pre-lit artificial tree is appealing too. So far I’ve only had fresh trees because I don’t have the storage but who know… maybe this year? :)

  12. Oh, how I love a real tree!! Hubby thinks they’re a mess and a fire hazard and definitely prefers a pre-lit fake-o. After a bitter conflict our first year of marriage, we decided on a bizarre compromise — if we were going fake, we were going *really* fake. We got a pre-lit topiary tree, with three little balls of artificial evergreen. I kind of love it. And as a bonus, it’s a great space-saver in our cozy urban home :-)

  13. We both prefer real trees, but since my parents gave us a fake tree for our first Christmas, and we’ve never had very much money, we always end up using the fake one! I’m hoping in the next couple of years we’ll be making enough that we can splurge on a real tree, but not yet. This will be the first year with a cat, though, so I’m kind of glad the tree is fake.

  14. I grew up cutting down our own on my grandparent’s land. Now though, we use the pre-lit because of allergies. I miss the smell and fun but not the sneezing and coughing.

  15. We always have fresh cut. It’s so much fun to trek out into our National Forest and find the perfect tree or two. We put a 9′ one in our living room that holds all the family ornaments and then a 12′ – 15′ one in our 2 story foyer. That one holds all my Santa Bear collectibles.

    I keep eyeballing those tree stands. I think it might be time to replace our oldest one. It sure gave us trouble this year. We almost had the whole tree and stand knock over at one point. And I couldn’t even blame a cat or kid. : )

  16. We always put our tree up on December 1st. We have a hand-me-down fake tree that looks very real but is starting to shed branches! We’ll need to replace it within the next few years. I always burn lots of pine-scented candles to make up for the fact that it’s a fake!

  17. We live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, so each year we go up to Mt. Hood and find the perfect tree and cut it down ourselves. Although last year my husband realized once we got up there that he forgot to throw in the hand saw, which is pretty important for this task. So we had to find a little local market and get a new one. We are going on Sunday to get our tree and I am so excited! I love this time of year!


  18. We prefer a real tree but in the past few years we have only had a tree once and it was prelit, borrowed from my husband’s family. We always travel to see our families for Christmas so we don’t always get around to getting a tree. This year I really want a real one! We have a one-year-old who would love it, I”m sure. Hopefully I don’t pull my hair out keeping all my ornaments intact!

  19. I don’t usually read blog comments, I guess I thought they were mostly intended for the author, but I took a look, and I just wanted to say, your replies to comments have put me in the Christmas spirit! I can’t imagine the volume of comments you must receive daily, but you reply to so many, even the snarky ones, in a kind, gracious and happy way. Way to help spread the Christmas cheer! I am also an LDS mom of 6 with a new baby last summer, and your awesome multi-tasking skills give me hope. :) Enjoy your holiday season.

  20. Don’t you just LOVE the smell of a real Christmas tree? My family recently purchased our very first home back in August, I remember my husband saying as we were moving in, he was going to have a real Christmas tree this year…he was so excited. Me, on the other hand, I was not looking forward to it…I was not looking forward to constantly sweeping the needles off the floor, the constant water checking several times a day, making sure it doesn’t get too dry. We spent the afternoon the day before Thanksgiving, driving up the snow filled mountains, horrible roads, freezing cold temperatures, and awful wind in the mountains, to find our perfect REAL tree. I have to admit, I am LOVING it!!! The up-keep isn’t as bad as I had pictured it to be. The smell is wonderful!!! Now, to keep the almost 2 year old and almost 4 year old out of the tree and to help them understand the ornaments are not “ball-ies” like they think they are.

  21. I covet your US Christmas – snow, “proper” Christmas trees… Don’t get me wrong, summer and beach holidays are great, but one year I hope to take my family for a white Christmas in the northern hemisphere! (Maybe I’ve watched too many cheesy movies!)

  22. I’ve had a fake white tree since 2003 or so, but it was looking really crummy so I decided to get a new one this year. I spent a lot of time deliberating between real and artificial, but since we’re going to be away over Christmas I decided to get a new fake, green this time, which is being delivered today! Next year, though, we’ll be home at Christmas, and I’m planning on renting a live tree from a company here in Vancouver, Evergrow (http://www.evergrowchristmastrees.ca/). You can only keep their trees for three weeks, which is why I decided to skip it this year- there’s no point in having a live tree for three weeks when you’re away for one of them!

  23. TennesseeCassie

    We love live trees. One of my favorite childhood memories is seeing my grandfather plant theirs after the holidays and getting to see them grow year after year. They’re huge now! And look so beautiful along a cow pasture fence. And they make it smell better to, haha:)

  24. We have our real tree up. It’s the earliest we’ve ever done it but we were getting heavy rain this week so I didn’t want to have to drag our soggy tree inside. Lots of awesome ideas about keeping the tree alive in the comments. I’m definitely going to try some. Here’s hoping we can keep it alive until Christmas!

  25. We just moved back to our home stomping grounds in Alaska after living n Oregon for 7 years (home of robust Christmas trees). This year will be nostalgic to me…we’ll get a Charlie Brown tree stunted from permafrost. We love it nontheless. It’s like a stray animal, you love it partly because you feel sorry for it:)

  26. We’re getting our tree this weekend! I have to borrow my mom’s SUV so we can haul it. We both have small cars here!

    Someone mentioned using Sprite for the tree. We do that too. I think it’s the sugar in it that helps.

  27. We always cut our own tree. I am all for getting it this weekend but my university daughter says no we have to wait for her!
    My oldest boy has always kept the piece of trunk that gets sawn off. He dates them and we display them every Christmas. It’s fun to see his handwriting change from babyish scrawl to being quite artistic (and legible!)

  28. We always put up a fresh tree…the smell is so festive and it’s one of the highlights of Christmas going to pick out the tree. I have great memories of that as a kid. I do a FLOCKED tree if you can believe it (who does that anymore?) and put brightly colored decorations on it so it ends up looking something like Dr. Seuss. Thanks for all your lovely posts about Christmas and making gifts….we are doing handmade this year and you have so many great ideas!

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