5 pro tips for a hassle-free Christmas tree

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(BPT) - Decking the halls for Christmas takes a lot of effort and planning. Whether you’re the type to go all in or opt for a minimalist approach, there's nothing like a Christmas tree to create a festive focal point in any room.

As beautiful as they are, though, Christmas trees, both fresh and artificial, do come with their fair share of headaches. Bare branches, rambunctious pets and untangling cords all add stress to your busy holidays. This year, try these solutions to common tree hassles so you can focus on the magic of the season.

Problem 1: The tree is looking bare

Artificial trees are super convenient and look great, but after being put away and crushed in a storage box, their branches can look less than stellar. When it’s time for setup, plan on taking extra time to carefully shape and fluff the individual branches to make it look as full as possible. If gaps and bare spots remain, fill these in with boughs of artificial greenery or a roll of pine garland.

Problem 2: Keeping it watered

If you have a fresh tree, you want to avoid a floor full of needles and bare branches when it’s time to open gifts. But crawling around with a watering can in this awkward space is no fun, especially with the mounds of gifts and sharp-needled boughs getting in your way. To make this task easier, get creative. Try a short length of PVC pipe and a funnel. There are many questionable folk remedies floating that are supposed to preserve your Christmas tree (like adding aspirin, sugar or vinegar to the water), but according to the National Christmas Tree Association, all it really needs is its trunk submerged in fresh water.

Problem 3: Naughty “elves” that can wreak havoc

On Christmas morning, you certainly don't want a sprawled-out tree marring the festivities, thanks to a cat attack! When there are pets or small children around, it’s worth taking a couple of extra steps to secure the tree. Plywood bolted to the tree stand creates a wider base, making it much more difficult to topple. Just hide it away with a tree skirt. Then, attach a couple of fishing lines to the trunk and fasten the other ends to hooks on the wall to keep it standing tall.

Problem 4: Lack of a fresh-cut tree aroma

People love their artificial tree for the convenience, but they may miss that evocative, woodsy aroma from a real tree. Even real-tree diehards will admit the fresh scent tends to fade in a week or two. To create or maintain that fresh-cut smell, try ScentSicles Scented Ornaments in one of the six true-to-life fragrances. Whether tucked in a wreath or arranged in your tree, these scented ornaments are designed to release nose-pleasing scents like fir, pine and cinnamon for up to 30 days. Find them at your favorite retailer or order them online at

Problem 5: Tangled lights and ornaments

Before you put everything away until the next holiday season, do yourself a favor and get organized. Plastic cups make a fabulous DIY option to keep ornaments safe and organized. To stash away your strings of lights without getting them tied up into knots, wind them around a rectangular piece of corrugated cardboard before you put them away. Tip: Save the container they came in and just wind the lights around the outside of the box.