Water Cooler: Christmas tree hacks, how to send love and Goodbye Christopher Robin review


This week in the water cooler we’re using  common beauty product to keep your Christmas tree looking great, sending love to those who need it most and are watching Goodbye Christopher Robin.

There’s something wonderfully Christmassy about a freshly-cut tree, filling the house with the heavenly scent of pine.

Unfortunately, the house also tends to fill with pine needles, and their ability to stick to carpet and furniture defies any vacuum I’ve ever used. In a really bad year, the floor develops a sticky residue that then gathers every bit of dust and rubbish but refuses to let it go.

But there’s one very easy way to keep your pine tree looking great, for almost a month, thanks to an Australian school’s science project. This was no amateur effort, with their work featuring in the Australian Journal of Botany.

They tested cut branches of Pinus radiata, all harvested at the same time, cut to the same length, and sitting in clean containers. The five treatments were:
· submerging the cut ends of pine branches in cold tap water (control)
· submerging the cut ends in freshly boiled water (to potentially dissolve sap in cut stems)
· submerging the cut ends in an energy drink-water mix (to provide sugars)
· submerging the cut ends in a beer-water mix (to provide sugars and kill germs)
· submerging the cut ends of pine branches in fresh cold tap water and spraying the needles with Cedel firm hold hairspray (to reduce water loss)

There was a clear winner: the hairspray, with an average of 90% of original needle health after 27 days.

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There were minor differences in the branches that were put in cold tap water and boiled water.
The water and other liquids were replaced each week.
The branches in the beer and energy drink options died off far more quickly than those in plain water.

If you do use hairspray on your tree, it does make it more flammable so don’t have naked flames near it, eg candles, barbecue.
Keep your tree in a cool room, or at least away from a heater or sunny spot.
Cut trees stay healthy longer if they’re harvested after experiencing some cold weather (5°C).

Nadene Hall, Editor NZ Lifestyle Block


It’s easy to get swept up in Christmas ‘spirit’. It seems to arrive earlier each year: one moment the mall is calm and quiet, the next there’s a 25m Christmas tree and Santa waving from the escalator.
Sales are everywhere, and I’m the first to admit that I’m a marketers dream. Yes, I’ve also been caught up in Black Friday sales.
It was with a warm fuzzy joy that I came across ‘Sending Love’, a Christmas project that has nothing to do with stores, shopping or sales. ‘Sending Love’ is simple. You write a Christmas card, pop it into one of the many local drop boxes scattered around the country and Santa’s helpers will drop them at local rest homes, sharing the love with elderly residents who may be feeling a little lonely this holiday season.
Visit sendinglove.co.nz/ for drop box locations near you, and get writing! Creator Hannah Rodgers is aiming for 16,000 cards, so every envelope helps to get a little closer to the goal. You never know whose day you might make this Christmas.

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I’ve always had a soft spot for A.A. Milne. I love Winnie the Pooh and the characters of the 100 Acre Wood, and I adore the poetry in When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.
The new film Goodbye Christopher Robin tells the other side of the beloved stories, the tale of the real Christopher Robin, A.A. Milne’s son.
Milne borrowed his son’s christian name, Christopher Robin, for his character but to his family the boy was known as Billy Moon’. However, the media and fans saw no difference between Billy Moon and the character of Christopher Robin, and his instant celebrity took a toll on the young boy.

As a fan of the books, the film felt a little devoid of the colours from the books. At one stage, Milne describes one of his famous poems ‘Disobedience’ but never recites it, which left me wondering if perhaps the filmmakers didn’t have the rights to the material?
It is a moving story though, that rings very true today in an age of where celebrity children such as Suri Cruise (daughter of Tom) and North West (daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian) are thrust onto tabloid covers.

Emma Rawson
thisNZlife Editor

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