Every year, my family makes a very big deal about heading to Western Massachusetts and chopping down our own Christmas tree. Even as other family traditions have fallen by the wayside over the years, my dad loves this one and he always insists that we spend time walking around the farm to find the perfect one for us.
But since my sister and I moved away from home, it's not always that easy to find a time where we can get together to put the tree up. Rather than finding the time to take a weekend trip during this already busy time of year, my family likes to go during the days after Thanksgiving.
My parents tell me that they love having the tree up so far in advance, since it makes for a nice long holiday season, but they've had to get creative when it comes to keeping the tree fresh for that long.
Every year, my dad looks for new strategies to keep the tree in good shape until Christmas. He always makes sure to give it a fresh cut, and follows the old wise tale that if you pour a beer into the tree's water, it will drink better.
But last year, he discovered that keeping your tree fresh isn't just about making sure it has enough water – you also have to make sure that the air isn't too dry. When he heard about this, he moved our house humidifier into the living room next to the tree, and kept it running until Christmas.
I asked him what his plans were this year, and he said that the humidifier worked so well that this year he's sticking with it. I can't wait to see what the tree looks like when I get home for Christmas.