Cat-Proof Christmas Tree
Two or three lengths of fishing line can keep climbing cats or rambunctious kids from tipping your tree. Just tie one end of each line to the top of the tree and the other to something sturdy: a screw driven into an inconspicuous spot on the wall, moldings above windows or doors, or even a curtain rod. Get tips on hanging stuff on your walls here.
Tip-Proof a Christmas Tree
To make a Christmas tree stand more firmly on deep, spongy carpet, set the stand on a piece of 1/4-in. hardboard (a.k.a. Masonite). 4 x 8-ft. sheets are available at home centers (some home centers also have 4 x 4-ft. sheets). To make the tree tip-proof, bolt the tree stand to the hardboard using 1/4-in. pan head machine screws. On wood or tile floors, cover the screwheads with duct tape so they don't scratch the floor. Get more ideas for protecting your home year-round here.
Should You Plant a Live Christmas Tree?
Planting a 'live' Christmas tree is an ambitious task. Its practicality depends on three things: (1) the climate you live in; (2) the size of your Christmas tree budget; and (3) how strong you are.
Live trees are sensitive. For a tree to have any chance of survival, it can't undergo extreme climatic changes. When a tree is brought into a warm home, it will react as if it's spring and start growing. Once it has entered this growing stage, it will likely die if it suffers through a prolonged freeze when it's set out after Christmas.
If you live in a moderate climate, a live tree is feasible. When the Christmas season is over, gradually get your tree accustomed to the outdoors by storing it in the garage or three-season porch before planting it. The time for heavy frost must be past before you take it outside. When you finally plant your tree, place it in well-drained soil where it will get full sun.
If you live in a cold climate, a live tree really isn't practical. You'd need to leave it outside on a screen porch or deck the entire time so it would stay more or less dormant. And you probably don't want your ornaments outside.
Live trees are expensive. Expect to pay two to three times more than you would for a cut tree. Usually these trees are potted. If your tree is balled and burlapped, you'll have to buy a heavy-duty pot to act as both stand and container.
Finally, live trees are heavy. If you want a typical-sized Christmas tree, say a six-footer, together the pot, soil and tree will weigh 250 lbs. or more. Add a little water and moving it will be about as much fun as hefting a piano.
When you do decide to plant the tree, follow our expert tree-planting advice here.