There’s nothing like the real thing. Here’s how to keep your holiday greens fresh!

We understand when people love the convenience of an artificial tree, wreath or swag. They simply have to take it out of storage, freshen up the bent boughs and decorate to look close to the real thing. They don’t have to search to find just the right one, they have no stray needles and they can store it in a box at the end of the season.

But close to the real thing, isn’t the real thing. And the search for the right tree and all the trimmings is part of the experience. The fallen needles aren’t a nuisance, but a fragrant reminder of the season and its surprises.

Greens fill our entryways, living rooms, bedrooms, offices and more with the smell of our childhood and the memory of our favorite Christmases. Just run your hand down an evergreen branch to release its scent. Nothing like it.

So if you’re one of the lucky ones who experiences the real thing in your home, there are a few things you should know.

1) Seal in Existing Moisture

Greens begin plump with freshness and moisture. But once they’re cut, they’re cut off from their source of moisture. Use an anti-desiccant (i.e. anti-drying) spray like Wilt-Stop to seal in valuable moisture for wreaths, garlands, boughs and swags.

You can even use Wilt-Stop for your Christmas tree. Be sure to allow the clear, all-natural coat to dry before applying lights and ornaments.

2) Stay Out of the Heat

We know that most fresh greenery (aside from branches in vases and your tree in its tree stand) is cut off from its moisture source. So it only makes sense we’d want to keep it away from heat sources that will only dry it out faster.

If possible, place your wreaths, swags, boughs and garland in spots shielded from the hottest direct afternoon sunlight as well as the dry, blowing air from heating vents or space heaters.

3) Use Cooler LED Lights

Did you know that LED bulbs run approximately 20% cooler than incandescent bulbs? The cooler the better when it comes to preserving your Christmas tree, garlands and other greens. And these bulbs have come a long way with warm and cool versions. It won’t be hard to find white or colored bulbs you love.

4) Branch Out

When you think of evergreen, you probably picture ‘Christmas tree greens.’ But when you create holiday containers, centerpieces and other arrangements, work in other colored twigs and interesting berried branches, young birch branches, magnolia leaves, ornamental grasses, cones, seedpods and ivy.

You can even work in glittering ribbons, branches and other accents.

5) Maximize Fragrance

We like to think of evergreen like flowers, each with its own unique scent and even better when mixed with other woodsy, delicious varieties.

You can stay monochromatic with one shade and type of evergreen, or you can mix them as you would flowers for a unique mix of texture and scent. Consider mixing boughs and branches of pine, cedar, eucalyptus, balsam and juniper for a chic and scented combination.

Don’t forget to mist your boughs and branches daily for maximum fragrance.