"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches".  Unless they're dropping all over the floor and turning to kindling right before your eyes.

Holiday traditions this time of year often include the annual trip to the local Christmas tree farm or lot to pick out that "perfect tree". If you happen to be one that still opts for a real tree over an artificial one you may be right in the middle of one of the season's biggest challenges...how to keep that tree looking fresh until after December 25th.

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According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are approximately 25-30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year. A fresh-cut Christmas tree will last around 6 weeks with the proper care. To keep "O Tannenbaum" looking majestic through the season, we've put together a few helpful tips.

Know Your Needles

The NCTA comments that the first tip to tree longevity starts at the tree farm or retail lot. According to the experts, if you end up with a handful of needles after running your fingers through the branches, that means the tree is drying out and deteriorating. If purchasing from a retailer, be sure to ask when the tree was cut down to determine how much life it still has in it.

Show Some Love Right Away

As soon as you get home be sure to give the trunk a fresh cut, about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand, and get it right into a stand with water. Be sure to place the tree away from heat sources such as vents and fireplaces.

Hydrate Your Tree

The most important tip for a long-lasting tree is water, water, and more water, Be sure to check the tree stand daily to make sure that the water level doesn't go below the base of the tree. Often it appears that the stand still has water, but it's too low to properly feed the tree's thirst. You may want to also consider misting the tree branches to add direct hydration.

When all is said and done and you're ready to say goodbye to your tree, the NCTA suggests finding a tree recycling center near you to help the environment. You can search for locations here. 

LOOK: The top holiday toys from the year you were born

With the holiday spirit in the air, it’s the perfect time to dive into the history of iconic holiday gifts. Using national toy archives and data curated by The Strong from 1920 to today, Stacker searched for products that caught hold of the public zeitgeist through novelty, innovation, kitsch, quirk, or simply great timing, and then rocketed to success.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Osborn & Peter Richman

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Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood