Mr. Handyman shares thoughts on holiday preparation

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again.  Holiday music will be with us for the next month thanks to TV and radio advertising, and while I may or may not have much interest in the product being sold – I do enjoy the seasonal music.

This is an important time of year for retailers and many businesses.  Demand is high, and business is booming.  That’s true in the home improvement and home maintenance and repair business as well.  Folks want things to be ‘just right’ when friends and family arrive – so there’s much to do.

Procrastinators will find themselves in a difficult spot.  If they wait until the week before Christmas to start lining up help they may find their options limited.  Companies will have full schedules.

So, my advice is that you get organized and schedule whomever you need in your home now.   This ensures the work gets done, there is no last-minute stress, and the work is done by a reputable company.  Not some guy that was the only available option and may, or may not, have a reputation you can check online.

On the holiday topic, folks are starting to get out the holiday lighting.  If you are still untangling those two stand bulb lights, where one bad bulb darkens the rest of the strand, I strongly suggest that you check out LED lighting.   Prices get more competitive each season, they are more energy efficient, and one bad LED doesn’t blackout everything down strand.

I sold Christmas trees in high school and college from a local lot and simply love the smell of a live tree.  A fake tree is like kissing a mannequin, it simply isn’t the real thing.  (Sorry to any mannequins I’ve offended). 

The trick to keeping a live tree ‘fresh’ longer, smelling great, and greatly reducing the fire risk, is to give it a fresh cut, about 1.5” off the bottom, moments before putting it in the stand, and then immediately filling the stand with hot tap water. 

The fresh cut removes the dried sap that keep the tree from taking up water.  The hot water loosens up any thickened sap, and the tree can then take up water.  This isn’t as good as a live tree (root ball wrapped in burlap and set in water to be planted after Christmas), but it will help extend the fresh period for the tree.  A free tree smells better, and a dry tree is more flammable.

Water take-up will be slow for a day or two, and then you’ll notice a big drop in the water level as capillary action kicks in and water consumption picks up.  Don’t let the water line dip below the tree base, or sap will again plug the capillaries in an effort to retain moisture.

In closing, book a home service professional now – if needed – to get your needs covered before the holidays, and you focus on finding the perfect tree.