1. Put the tree in water as soon as possible
Remember: You’re bringing home a live plant. If you want to keep it fresh, it needs to have adequate water. You’ll need to replenish the water regularly.
2. Trim the trunk
When trees are first cut, sap rushes to close the wound and will seal the bottom. When that happens, the tree isn’t as able to absorb water. Add a fresh cut at the bottom right before you place it in water, and try to put up your Christmas tree the same day you bring it home. Using a saw, trim half an inch off the trunk before placing it in water in a reservoir stand. If you have to store the tree for a few days, keep the tree in a cool place with water. But it’s best to set your tree as soon as possible.
3. Water, water, water
Check the stand daily for water levels.
4. Be cautious of heat sources including lights
Direct sunlight or the furnace will quickly dry out the tree. Your tree will become dry and brittle if it’s too close to a heat source. Place the tree someplace where it isn’t facing direct heat, and that will help your tree not to dry out too fast. Smaller lights on the tree might also help to slow the drying out process, but you can still do large lights if you keep up on watering the tree. You can also lower the temperature in the room where the tree is located to slow down the drying process. If your tree does dry out, though, you will need to remove it from the house and recycle it. Do not burn the tree in the fireplace or woodstove.
5. Turn off the lights when leaving the room
Lights can become very hot and cause a fire hazard if left on the tree unmonitored for hours at a time. Play it safe and turn off the lights if you’re not going to be around to monitor the tree. You also need to make sure that all of your bulbs are in good condition and that the cords for the lights are not worn or frayed. Real trees can catch fire, so follow general fire safety tips when keeping a real Christmas tree indoors. Turning off the lights occasionally will also slow down the drying out process.
Taken from CANSPEC (James and Belinda)