Digginí In: Saluting a great holiday gift for military families

November 30, 2015

Itís Christmas tree shopping time. Itís also an opportunity to share the glowing beauty of a fresh-cut tree with military families nationwide through the Trees for Troops program.

In southeastern Virginia, McDonald Garden Center is just one of thousands of garden centers nationwide sharing that spirit by donating farm-grown trees to the effort.

As a consumer, you can make a direct donation online to Trees for Troops, sponsored by the Christmas Spirit Foundation in conjunction with the National Christmas Tree Association and FedEx, according to Courtney Hampton, spokeswoman for McDonald Garden Center:

Last holiday season, more than 18,000 trees were delivered to 65 military bases in the United States and overseas, according to the release.

"Itís a gift that truly gives back," says Hampton.

Once those trees are delivered and decorated, military families post thank-you messages on the Trees for Troops website and their Facebook pages, making the holiday a little bit brighter for all involved.

As you decorate your own Christmas tree this joyful season, use these safety tips to keep your tree fresh and green and your home safe and warm:

Christmas tree care

When a tree is cut, more than half of its weight is water. Use these tips from the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association ó

ó As soon as you get the tree home, make a fresh straight 1/4-inch cut across the base of the trunk and put the tree in a bucket of water outdoors or in your garage.

ó Use a tree stand that holds a gallon or more of water because a fresh tree takes up three or more quarts of water a day for the first days itís in water.

ó Indoors, do not place your tree near a direct heat source and never let the water level in the bowl drop below the base of the tree.

ó Turn off tree lights when you leave the house or go to bed.

ó After Christmas, when your tree is dry, remove the tree from the house and recycle it for pickup.



McClatchy-Tribune Information Services