If you're going to be getting a real Christmas tree this year (like we have), here are five things you can do to make sure your tree lasts throughout the most wonderful time of the year.

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My wife and I always get a real tree for Christmas each year. We love the real pine smell they add to the house each season. (Shout-out to Jim Whitings Nursery in Rochester, where we always get our tree, btw...) And if you're getting a real tree, too, here are five things the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association says you should do to make sure your tree doesn't turn into the Charlie Brown-type brown and shriveled tree.

1) Make a fresh cut. - Before you bring the tree inside, re-cut the trunk at least one inch from the bottom just before putting it in the stand. Even if you just cut it on a choose-and cut-farm, this re-opens the tree stem so it can drink water.

2) Choose a spot in your house away from heat sources. Even your TV or computer can generate heat that real trees don't like!

3) Water immediately. You'll want to use warm water initially, too, and use a stand that can hold around a gallon of water.

4) Don't add anything to the water. There's an old wives tale out there that says it's better if you add sugar, but research has found trees prefer plain 'ol tap water better.

5) Check the water daily. If the water level drops below the fresh cut, the stem will reseal and be unable to drink. It's not unusual for a tree to drink 2 gallons of water the first day it is the stand.

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