Several years ago, we ditched our artificial tree in favor of the real thing. Candidly, I hate fake-ness (no offense to artificial tree lovers), and the box also occupied an enormous amount of precious storage space in the garage – the real reason I despised the fake tree. For the last several years we’ve been venturing to our local Home Depot for a real tree. However, all is not bliss in the land of Christmas trees. I have found myself bordering on Scrooge-like grumpiness with three frustrations, all of which have now been solved. Save yourself from turning into the Grinch with these three inexpensive but essential live Christmas tree accessories.
A Reciprocating Saw and Pruning Blade To Conquer Uneven Tree Bottoms and Intrusive Branches
Have you ever painstakingly selected the “perfect” tree, wrestled it onto the roof of your car, meticulously installed it in your tree stand, only to find it looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Once you’re at that stage, no amount of stand adjustment seems to get things straight. Even if you manage to get the tree relatively straight, there are usually a few branches at the bottom either obstructing the stand or occupying vital space for Santa’s presents. The next thing you know, you’re on your back sawing at branches with a handsaw. Relax! We have a simple, glorious solution for you.
I have been using recip saws for years pruning bushes. They are wicked fast, and even a basic wood blade will get you through some pretty sizable branches. Although our local Home Depot has a helpful crew standing by with a chainsaw to put a fresh cut on the bottom of your christmas tree, those cuts are not always perfect. When you get home and realize that “perfect” tree does a little bit of zig-zagging, you can fine-tune trimming the trunk with your recip saw and a solid pruning blade.
Home Depot sent us the Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Tipped pruning blade to try out, and it’s voracious. In fact, the minimal number of teeth per inch (TPI) make its aggressive blade best suited for your tree’s trunk rather than tiny branches (the blade’s teeth can sometimes rip rather than cut if you’re dealing with any bendy targets). At around $9, the 9″ Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Tipped Pruning Blade can save you some aggravation with your Christmas tree and then do double duty keeping your yard in shape the rest of the year. It’s available in a longer size as well if you’re competing with the Griswold’s on tree size.
Take a Stand Against Flimsy Tree Stands with Santa’s Last Stand
This cleverly-named Christmas tree stand was just what I needed after becoming increasingly annoyed with the flimsy plastic stand I had used in years past. Santa’s Last Stand runs about $30 +/- depending on the size you need. I opted for the model designed for 6′-11′ trees. It has a girthy 9″ opening and can accommodate a trunk about 8″ in diameter. A 1.5 gallon reservoir helps you avoid hourly runs to the faucet to replenish your tree’s water supply.
One of the things I liked about Santa’s Last Stand is that it sports a beefy, all steel construction. I also liked the additional adjustment and control that having four T-bolts provided. Plus, the T-bolts were way easier to turn than the screw eye bolts I had used in years past. With the three hard-to-turn bolts on our old stand, it seemed like we could never get the tree fully straight and secure. With Santa’s Last Stand, it’s a breeze. At around $32, the stand doesn’t even cost much more than the junky ones!
Stop Stooping So Low – The Christmas Tree Watering Funnel
Impulse buys are often laden with regret. That shiny (and often delicious) item you spot while languishing in line seems like a brilliant idea at the time. Once you’re home – not so much. When I spotted a display of tall red and green funnels, I instantly knew the only regret I’d feel is if I didn’t buy one.
Anyone that has a live Christmas Tree knows the pain and anguish that accompanies slaloming your arm through a thicket of branches while trying to aim a watering can into a small reservoir at the bottom of your tree. Scratched arms, wet floors and very un-Christmas-like verbal declarations often follow these frustrating hydration missions.
Once in place, watering can be done from a normal standing position, without a flashlight, and with far less profanity! Just make sure the far end of the funnel is still situated in (not next to) the reservoir. At under $6, seriously run to your nearest Home Depot and buy one of these! Your knees, back and small children with sensitive ears will all thank you:
Wishing you happy holidays with far fewer Christmas tree frustrations!