The Christmas season and the impending arrival of Santa Claus means it’s time to chop down a Norwegian Spruce tree and display it in your living room. The whole process is like having a rather large, festive plant in your home that seemingly needs constant care and attention lest it dry out and ruin the holidays entirely.
Luckily, actor Rob Lowe, who you may remember from Parks and Recreation, Wayne’s World, and other movies released before you were born has a surefire if unorthodox secret for keeping Christmas trees alive until well after the presents have been opened: 7UP.
You heard that right. Lowe recently told Ellen DeGeneres that he likes to “water” his tree using a soda brand you probably haven’t thought about in years. Lowe describes himself as “obsessed with [a Christmas tree] dying out too soon,” in part because he has “a phobia about the pine needles. They get all brittle and fall and then they’re just going to be flammable.”
That’s where Lowe’s secret tree sauce of “half 7UP, half water,” comes into play. He uses it to make sure his house doesn’t burn down in a Christmas time incident that papers like the New York Post would have no choice but to refer to as “Saint Nick’s Fire.”
Though Rob Lowe swears adding high fructose corn syrup to your Christmas tree actually helps it stay alive, there’s no definitive evidence confirming his logic. At least one gardening site believes that 7UP is “the best addition” to preserve a tree if you use one part soda for three parts water every couple of days, as trees “like the sugar and citric acid,” but this doesn’t seem to be confirmed by academic sources.
In fact, a member of the Department of Horticulture at Penn State advises that one not mix in additives like sugar and soft drinks, as “clean water is all you need to maintain freshness.” The results of a Christmas episode of Mythbusters also suggest that adding lemon-lime soda makes no difference when it comes to preserving a tree.
Humans and trees are different. But given that we now know lemon-lime soda isn’t great for the human body, it’s possible Rob Lowe might be overstating its usefulness when it comes to keeping a Christmas tree green and pristine. If you’ve had bad luck with past trees and you’ve got some 7UP lying around, give it a shot this month. Or don’t! Either way, it’s comforting to know that Lowe’s superstitious application of Christmas tree pseudoscience proves that celebrities really are just like us.
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