How to Cut Down a Christmas Tree Without Cutting Yourself

For many Connecticut residents, cutting down a Christmas tree is a treasured tradition. In addition to the fun and attendant memories, nothing beats the beauty and fresh scent of a freshly cut tree. But before heading out this or any other year – saw and hot cocoa in hand – there are some important tips to keep in mind to ensure you go home with the best tree around.

Do you need a permit? If you’re thinking of skipping the tree farm this year and heading into the woods, confirm whether you need a permit. Check with your local forest service office or town hall. And keep in mind that what may appear like town or state land could be private property!

Have a little patience. Do you bust out the tinsel before the Thanksgiving table is cleared? If so, you may want to hold off on buying a real tree (cut-your-own or pre-cut). No matter how committed you are to frequent watering, most trees start to dry out within three weeks of being cut.

Measure twice, cut once. To avoid a scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, be sure to measure the space between the floor and the ceiling where you plan to set up the tree so you don’t end up cutting one down that’s way too big. And be sure your vehicle can handle the load. Bring bungees, scissors, and plenty of twine, to secure the tree to your car.

Dress for success. While cutting down a Christmas tree is a fun holiday event, keep warmth and safety in mind. Wear sturdy boots, work gloves (for the actual cutting), and safety goggles if you plan to use a chainsaw. Avoid loose fitting clothing and tuck scarves into jackets.

Have the right tools for the job. Keep in mind not all tree farms or forests allow the use of chainsaws, so verify what they do allow before heading out.

Look for freshness, not just size and shape. It might be the most symmetrical tree around, but if it’s not fresh, keep looking! Gently tug on the needles to check for freshness; if the needles stay put, it’s a keeper.

Avoid buyer’s remorse. Take a walk around the farm before committing to “the one”. Because what if you spot one you like even better toting yours to the car.

Have a spotter. Have an adult hold the tree steady as you cut to prevent it from falling over before you’ve finished sawing. And don’t push the tree over – that’s an easy way to injure someone on the other side, damage nearby trees, and prevent that tree’s regrowth.

Give it a good shake. Trees of any kind are home to bugs, insects, spiderwebs, and even little critters. So, shake it off before placing it in or on your car to avoid bringing unwanted guests into your home.

Around the holidays, we see many walk-in patients requiring stitches from sawing part of their hand or arm while sawing the tree. Plus, tree needles can cause infections once they get under your skin. No matter what the injury might be, visit our walk-in center 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. No one else in the Greater Hartford is open longer or more often.