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Selecting The Best Christmas Tree

It's an outing for the whole family. Mom, dad and the kids all jump into the minivan, drive to a nearby lot, fork over lots of cash and get a beautiful evergreen to take home.

But there's more to it than that.

The National Christmas Tree Association suggests you do a freshness test while looking at prospective trees.

If you gently grab a branch between your thumb and forefinger, and run your fingers toward you, very few needles should come off in your hand.

You also don't want to see a lot of fallen needles on the ground around your tree, although it's normal to have a few that are brown.

After you've chosen your tree, keep it in a sheltered, unheated area until you're ready to decorate it.

It's best to put a fresh cut on the bottom of the stump, and then make sure the water level in the stand never gets below the tree base, or you'll need another fresh cut.

The experts say the single most important thing to remember when caring for your tree is to keep it watered.

It's also wise to keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and TV sets.

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