During the Holidays, finding and keeping the perfect Christmas tree fresh can be as elusive as seeing Santa.
There are dozens of popular varieties to choose from. And no matter which kind of tree it is — fir, spruce or pine — the goal is always to maintain it green and fresh for as long as possible. For Russians, this means keeping the needles on the tree and pliable until the New Year.
Until the end the Soviet era, Christmas trees — called “yolka” — were associated strictly with the New Year. The New Year holiday pretty much centered around the fresh pine tree.
Every kid growing up in the Soviet days knows that magic happened around the yolka. It lit up when children screamed. It’s where Russian Santa, Ded Moroz left presents — tucked neatly underneath the tree.
Many of us can still recall the fresh fragrance of pine on a snowy winter night. Having a fresh yolka was a luxury in those days. Creative types pieced together fresh trees branch by branch, and decorated with mandarins, colorful foiled candies, and snowflakes cut out of paper.
Today, lots of us still celebrate the New Year with a yolka. This means that we need to keep our trees fresh and fragrant at least one week past Christmas.
In an effort to discover the holy grail of how to keep a Christmas tree fresh, we spritzed it with Spite, added Alka Seltzer, sweetened it with sugar, and sometimes just went with plain water.
We experimented A LOT and came up with five life hacks to keep a Christmas tree fresh.