First, the Tree Tips
After you've arrived home with your tree, make a new straight cut from its trunk, taking one inch off, and immediately place the tree in water. This will improve water uptake.
Put the tree in a stand that can hold at least 1 gallon of water. Water the new tree until water uptake stops.
Be sure to always keep the base of a tree in water. (If the base dries out, resin will form over the cut end and the tree will stop absorbing water and quickly dry out. Regular tap water will do just fine. No need for prepared mixes like aspirin, sugar, or other additives.
If your tree does run out of water and dries out, give it a new cut.
Check for worn Christmas tree light electrical cords and always unplug at night. Using miniature lights produce less heat and reduce the drying effect on the tree or any chance of fire.
Take down the tree before it dries out. If properly cared for (doing all the above), most fresh-cut trees will last at least five weeks before drying out. Some species keep their moisture longer that others.
Now the Real Family Trees
Now who doesn't love seeing how different families create Christmas magic in their homes with their 8 or 10 feet of fir? It's amazing the transformations that trees undergo from their natural fresh-cut state, shown above at Homestead, to centerpieces of family Christmases.
Every one of the real-family Christmas photos found below, all shared on Flickr, warms this gardenblogger's heart, and I bet my heart isn't the only one. Scroll to the end for a blast from my past - 1967!
These photos of trees with family pets are a double-shots of Christmas cheer that I simply can't resist.
Finally, Christmas trees were a very big deal in my family of origin, with my mother collecting ornaments from all over the world and all of us chipping in to create garlands of white popcorn. Also, we liked our trees as big as could fit in our living room. That's me as a college freshman applying the final tinsel.