The 2 Minute Cork/Christmas Tree Water Level Hack

Fair warning: this has nothing to do with drinking wine unless you decide to drink wine while reading or implementing this handy hack. Which you'll want to if you've ever faced the perennial challenge of determining whether your Christmas tree needs more water or not.

It would be super handy if tree stands had a transparent strip running vertically up the side so you could see how much water is in there. But they don't.  And it turns out Christmas trees drink a lot of water - a LOT (ours is consuming around 1.5 liters a day.) But if you go blindly pouring water into the stand, you run the risk of overflowing the damn thing - a profanity-inducing mistake that you'll only make once, and one that could cause you to just let the fucking thing dry out and shed its needles all over the place.

(Am I projecting too much?)

Anyway, so, how do know how much water is in your tree stand?  This 2 minute fix can be fashioned out of household items and will help you keep your tree healthier and more fragrant.

Supplies List:
  • String
  • Cork
  • Paper clip
  • Knife
  • Tape measure

  1. Stick the end of a tape measure all the way into the bottom of your tree stand to measure the total water-holding depth.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score the cork right around the middle like a belt line. A safe and easy way to do this is to put the cork on a counter, line the knife perpendicular to the cork, the simultaneously apply pressure and roll the cork like a log until you've gone all the way around.
  3. Tie one end of a 24-ish inch length of string around the cork and cinch it into the groove you just cut.
  4. Tie a knot around the elbow in a paper clip 2 inches shorter than the depth you measured in step 1.  (If your tree stand is 8 inches deep, put the paper clip 6 inches from the cork.)
  1. Drop the cork into the tree stand, allowing it to drop only as far as the paper clip hits the rim of the stand.  
  2. Pull it up.  If it's dry, you'd better water.  
  3. Put the cork back into the stand and water using a recycled wine bottle (less spillage, easier control, and less tilt required.) a
  4. Stop watering as soon as you see the cork approaching the rim.
  5. Use the paper clip to hook your string and cork assembly like a weird ornament on your tree.