Now, it seems like the era of actual Christmas trees in people's living rooms looks like it's quickly . . . and surprisingly . . . coming to an end.

According to a new survey, only one in five families say they're going to have a real Christmas tree this year. 13% will buy a tree from a garden store or Christmas tree lot, and 5% will dig up their own tree for the house.  49% of households will put up an artificial tree that's green like the real thing. 19% will buy an artificial tree that's a different color, like white or red. And 14% say they aren't going to have a tree this year.

The main reason people gave for going with an artificial tree or no tree over a real one is the cost difference. The second-most common reason was that people felt buying a real tree just to throw it away a month later isn't very "green."  But, if you're a die hard traditionalist, here are five tips to keep your Christmas from drying out . . .

1. Cut a quarter inch off the trunk before you put it in the stand, and go straight across. Cutting at an angle actually makes it harder for the tree to absorb water. And drilling a hole in the bottom doesn't help either.

You don't need to do it at all if your tree was cut down less than 12 hours ago though.

2. Don't whittle down the sides of the trunk to make it fit in the stand. The outer layers of the tree actually soak up the most water. So if your tree doesn't fit, you should buy a bigger stand. Or just measure your stand before you buy the tree.

3. Make sure you add enough water. Measure the diameter of the trunk, and add one quart for every inch. Then add more each day to keep it at the same level. Most stands hold at least a gallon, which is four quarts.

4. Keep it away from heat sources. Don't put it near your fireplace or right next to any heating vents. Too much direct sunlight can dry it out too.

5. Some types of trees just last longer than others. If you haven't bought one yet and want it to last, go with a white pine . . . Scotch pine . . . white fir . . . Fraser fir . . . or a Colorado blue spruce.

Treefully yours,