Nothing says "sleigh all day" like cutting down your own Christmas tree. It's fun, nostalgic, and bristling with that magical pine scent.
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It's easy to cut your own Christmas tree! Nothing says holiday time like a real Christmas tree decked with lights, ornaments, and garlands. Whether you're hitting the town tree farm or heading into the frosty forest, we've got all the tips and tools you need to cut your own Christmas tree. Get our simple tips for cutting your Christmas tree complete with the inexpensive tools you'll need and important must-have safety tips. This year, start a new family tradition and cut down your own live Christmas tree.

Family at a Christmas tree farm with a cut down tree
Credit: RyanJLane/Getty Images

How to Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Supplies Needed

  • Bow saw
  • Tie-down straps
  • Tape measurer
  • Netting or blanket

Step-by-Step Directions

With a few supplies and these how-to instructions, you'll be ready to cut down a Christmas tree. Decorate your cut Christmas tree with your favorite, ornaments, lights, and garlands.

Step 1: Pick the Perfect Christmas Tree

Remember, natural Christmas trees look a lot smaller out in the open. Before leaving home, brush up on our tips for selecting the best real Christmas tree. Nothing spoils the Christmas spirit faster than picking out the best tree on the lot, getting it home, and finding out it’s too tall for your room. Before you shop, measure both your ceiling height and the height of your Christmas tree stand so you don’t have to recut the tree when you get home.

Once you've found the right fit, shake the tree to let off any loose pine needles. Not only will this help keep the setup nice and tidy, but it's also a good way to double-check that the tree is alive and healthy. Another sign of a fresh tree is sticky sap on the trunk.

Step 2: Cut the Tree

Cutting Christmas trees is simpler than it looks! Grab pair of gloves and make sure you're wearing protective footwear like boots. Place the bow saw ($11, The Home Depot) at the base of the tree with the blade facing away from you. Using a back and forth motion, quickly saw the tree until it begins to fall. Don't push the tree over. Be sure to clear the area so no one gets injured as the Christmas tree is coming down.

Editor's Tip: Standard services (free or for a fee) at tree farms and lots include tree cutting, baling, and tying it to your vehicle. If it’s offered, do the machine shaking, which gets rid of dead needles, spiders, and other pests.

Step 3: Tote the Tree

Make the trip home as easy as pumpkin pie, with a net and some sturdy tie-down straps ($23, Dick's Sporting Goods). You'll want to put the net (or a blanket will work as well) over the tree before you make the trek back to the car. It helps protect the tree on the drive home and, trust us, it makes pulling the tree off your car so much easier! As you're lifting onto the roof, place the stump end of the tree at the front of the car and the tip of the tree towards the back. A roof rack or not, you'll want to loop the straps through the doors of the car and not the windows, to make sure it's extra secure.

Step 4: Set Up the Tree

Before going inside, shake off the cut Christmas tree one last time. The sap from your initial tree cutting can sometimes create a seal around the Christmas tree base. Recut it before placing it in water, so you can be sure it'll soak up as much as it needs. Now put on some Sinatra and bust out the trimmings—you'll be rockin' around the Christmas tree in no time!


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