A lot of folks across Louisiana really love a real Christmas tree in their homes. The smell of a fresh tree just can't be beat, and it's such a lovely addition to your Christmas decorations.

Sure, fake trees are easier to maintain, can last for years, and are easily stored. Still, there is just something magical about bringing a real tree into the house.

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But taking care of those real trees can be difficult so here are a few tips to help you keep those trees well into the new year.

Use LED lights on your Christmas Tree.
This will help with needle retention as well as make your tree look beautiful.

Keep your tree hydrated at all times by watering it once a day.
This is the biggest secret to keeping trees alive and gorgeous throughout the holiday season.

Keep the tree in lower temperatures of the household.
This will help avoid a fire hazard but it will also keep the tree alive longer.

Be sure to measure your tree and space it properly.
Leave about 6 inches between the top of the tree and the ceiling as well as 6 inches between the branches and the walls.

Be sure to turn off Christmas lights when you are asleep or leaving the house. 
This will allow you to have peace of mind while you are away but it will also keep the tree from heating up while no one is home.

Berlin Citizens Shop For Christmas Trees
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

No one wants to think about fires at this time of the year but it is something that we should all worry about. The U.S. Fire Administration suggests the following measures to keep your tree, and home, safe during the holidays:

• Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that burns, including the tree.
• Water your tree every day, as dry trees can catch on fire easily.
• Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
• Keep the tree at least three feet away from heat sources, like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, or heat vents.
•Also, don’t block exits with the tree.

Once the tree is dry, get rid of it.

Why Get a Real Tree?

Choosing a real Christmas tree over an artificial one comes with several environmental and sensory benefits. Firstly, real trees are a renewable resource, as they are grown on tree farms specifically for the purpose of being harvested. These farms often engage in sustainable practices, such as planting more trees than they cut down, contributing to reforestation efforts. In contrast, artificial trees are typically made from non-biodegradable materials like PVC, which can have a significant environmental impact during production and disposal.

Real Christmas trees also provide a delightful sensory experience. The natural scent of pine or fir can enhance the festive atmosphere, creating a nostalgic and authentic holiday ambiance in your home. The process of selecting a real tree, whether from a local tree farm or a Christmas tree lot, can become a cherished family tradition.

Moreover, real trees are biodegradable, meaning they can be easily recycled into mulch or compost after the holiday season. Many communities offer tree recycling programs, allowing you to contribute to sustainability efforts in a practical way.

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Supporting local economies is another reason to choose a real Christmas tree. Tree farms are often small, family-owned businesses that contribute to the local economy, providing jobs and fostering a sense of community.

In summary, opting for a real Christmas tree not only supports sustainable practices and local economies but also adds a natural, aromatic touch to your holiday celebrations.

17 South Louisiana Coffee Shops You Need to Know About

We all have a favorite place to stop for our favorite cup of coffee. South Louisiana is known for a fantastic eatery around every corner, but do you know about the quaint coffee shops that are in abundance in nearly every small town? We asked you to tell us which place, outside of the "usual suspects," that you stop for a shot of caffeine and maybe a quiet place to enjoy a cup. Our list is by no means exhaustive, but we think everyone needs to know which ones our friends across south Louisiana enjoy the most.

Gallery Credit: Tracy Wirtz