Consider an artificial tree
(they are much safer and cleaner).
A real tree should not lose green needles when you tap it on the ground.
Cut 1 inch off the trunk to help absorb water.
Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate.
The stand should hold at least 1 gal. of water.
A 6' tree will use 1 gallon of water every two days.
Mix a commercial preservative with the water.
Check the water level every day.
Secure the tree with wire to keep it from tipping.
Keep tree away from floor heaters, fire places, or other heat sources.
Use only UL-listed lights, and no more than 3 strands linked together.
Use miniature lights--which have cool-burning bulbs.
Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you leave your home for very long.
Never use candles, even on artificial trees.
Clean the tree stand to improve the tree's water intake, use one capful of bleach to a cup of water.
Dispose of the tree properly.
NEVER BURN A REAL TREE IN THE FIREPLACE.