How to Cut a Christmas Tree


The tradition of decorating a Christmas tree dates back to 16th-century Germany, where families would travel into the woods to select the perfect "tannenbaum." Today, many families still engage in this practice. A fresh-cut fir may stay up in a home as long as five weeks, and proper cutting can help it last.

Step 1

Put on protective clothing, safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes, hands and arms while cutting trees that may have sharp needles and sticky sap.

Step 2

Designate one person as your helper. Have him hold up the lowest limbs of the tree so that you can saw through the trunk without obstruction.

Step 3

Lie on your stomach and make a notch in the tree trunk with your saw. The notch will determine which direction your tree will fall. Use broad, straight, even back-and-forth motions with the saw, and cut the notch 1/3 of the way into the tree.

Step 4

Make a final cut with the saw on the opposite side of the tree from your notch. This final cut is known as a back cut. It will meet the notch 2/3 of the way through the tree.

Step 5

Instruct your helper to tug on the tree in the opposite direction from the final cut. This will keep the saw from binding, which occurs when the trunk leans into the cut and traps the saw.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand saw
  • 2 pairs gloves
  • 2 pairs safety goggles
  • Protective clothing


  • The Garden Helper
  • University of Illinois Extension
  • U.S. Forest Service

Who Can Help

  • Eastern North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers Association
Keywords: christmas tree, spruce tree, fir tree

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.