How to Stabilize a Christmas Tree

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Your kitten may not seem quite so cute after she's managed to topple the tree. Stabilize a Christmas tree before you adorn it with your precious ornaments. People (and pets) have been known to do crazy things in the frenzy of the holidays.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceiling Hook
  • Tree Stand
  • Magazines
  • Bucket
  • Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Twine Or Wire

Buy a tree stand that is stable, sturdy and large enough to accommodate the tree you plan to buy.

Before you bring the tree inside, measure the height of the room where you plan to display it. Keep the tree soaking in a bucket of water while you measure.

Saw off the top or bottom of the tree so it doesn't exceed the height of the room. Remove at least 1/2 inch (12 mm) from the bottom so the tree can absorb moisture.

Bring the tree inside. Have one person hold it upright while the other person screws the tree stand into the trunk.

Step back and examine the tree. If it is leaning to one side, adjust and retighten the screws.

Grab the trunk and shake it gently to make sure it's screwed in tightly. Tighten if necessary.

Anchor the tree into the ceiling if the tree is over 7 feet (2 m) or if a household cat is likely to climb it. Install a hook in the ceiling. Tie the treetop to the hook with twine or wire.

If you're using slats of wood instead of a tree stand to hold the base, have one person hold the tree upright while another person slips magazines underneath the uneven slats until the tree is stabilized.

Keep the tree away from heat sources (fireplaces, heater vents and televisions) and make sure it does not block any doors or windows you'd use in an emergency.

To reduce the chances of a fire, check the water level of the tree stand daily so the tree does not dry out. Never leave a lighted tree unattended.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the tree topples after you have decorated it, have one or more people hold it in place while one person adjusts the screws on the tree stand.
  • For problems with holiday lights, see How to Troubleshoot Holiday Lighting.

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