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It’s official! The commercial Christmas season is in full swing. Despite the fact that the last week of October the big box stores were setting up trees and inflatable Santas in ninja costumes fighting Darth Vader, Christmas does not really start for me until the tree lots go up.  Bearing in mind, the actual tents have been up before Halloween, but now they are all stocked with real, piney, sticky, stickery trees all the way from Oregon, Montana or Washington.

In my mind’s eye (and nose) nothing beats the smell of a live tree for Christmas time. Over the years, there has been more than one occasion when something that was living inside the branches of the tree, wandered out after we start hanging lights. I am not trying to scare anyone here. This is not the Christmas Vacation movie where a squirrel jumps out of the tree into the living room. More likely is to find a roach, a cricket, a spider or a similar little hitchhiker that went to sleep one night in Oregon and woke up in Arizona.

What can be done? Try a few or all of these steps to minimize the chances of this happening to you:

  • When you buy the tree, leave it outside for a few days. Ask the lot attendant what the proper care for the tree is and follow it. They will likely have you spray the tree a couple of times a day, keep it out of the sun, etc.
  • Before taking the tree inside, unwrap it away from the house and shake it really well, to dislodge any needles, debris and yes, possibly a spider or two. Set it up outside and let dry for a few hours before taking it into the house.
  • Do not spray your tree with pesticides, try to use a yard fogger on it to kill bugs, as this will prematurely seal up parts of the tree that need to breathe so it will stay fresh and smelling good.
  • Place the tree in a neutral corner without windows, doors or other places where bugs outside might be attracted to it and come inside.

These are a few suggestions you can take to make the holidays all the merrier.

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