Picture of Make a Hidden Christmas Tree Watering System
This easy-to-build system is disguised as a wrapped present under the Christmas tree. It allows easy refilling and can water your tree for several days if you are away from home.

There are many benefits to decorating with live Christmas trees, but the daily watering can become a bit of a hassle, especially if your tree stand is difficult to reach. It's also impossible to travel for any extended period of time without getting someone else to water your tree while you are gone. This system will eliminate both those problems.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You will need:
- One live Christmas tree.
- One live Christmas tree stand. Although you can't see it in the pictures because of the tree skirt, I used a tree stand with a 1-gallon reservoir, 360-degree x 10-degree tilt with a foot locking mechanism. Any tree stand should work though.
- A bucket that's about as tall as the top of your tree stand. Any plastic container that holds more water than your tree stand should work though.
- A box with a lid. The box should be big enough that your bucket can fit inside it.
- Wrapping paper and bow for decorating the box.
- Approximately 4-feet of 3/8" plastic tubing. Other dimensions may work and you can go longer or shorter if you need, but 4-feet met my needs well.
- Two 3/8" Compression Couplings x 3/4" MIP Brass Adapters with nylon or plastic bushings for the compression couplings. It's important that the compression end be the same size as the outside diameter of your tubing, but the other end is unimportant. This will be used merely as a weight to keep the end of the tubing in the bottom of the reservoir and bucket.
anne.petersen.353 made it!9 months ago

I made this last year after I came across your page and I love it! Was so happy to get it out this year and get it going it, saves so much time and hassle not having to water constantly plus not having to crawl under the tree and add water and risk it overflowing.

One thing I did do was make a line on the inside of the bucket so I know how high to fill it so it doesn't overflow. That line is made based on the height you want the water to be in the tree stand.

bill.bell.1659 months ago

been using this for several years now. great idea! thanks for sharing.

EJFSmart10 months ago
I did not mean to put a red flag what u did was great
gotamamun1 year ago
This works. The compression coupling/MIP at home depot in 2013 costs $8+; you can pick up a similar 3/8" compression coupling with threads on the other end for $3+ and buy two large nuts that screw onto it for $0.35 each instead. We used a 17 gal tub for more surface area to water column height ratio for an extended leave of absence. Thank you!
Great instructable! I had figured on making a siphon system, but the thought had not occurred to me that I'd have to weight down the ends. Thanks for saving me the frustration! I also hasn't thought to disguise the reservoir as a present. Sneaky sneaky.
wperry12 years ago
Woo hoo! No more climbing under the tree to water it!
Just set this up using one of our Christmas storage bins as the reservoir. Its nice and wide so it holds a lot of water and its red and green. Getting the siphon started is a bit tricky since the water levels are so low and close but once done it works great. I'll be doing this every year from now on!
I also just did this with a red and green Christmas storage container. I was able to leave town for Christmas for 6 days and came home to a tree that still had plenty of water. Plus, the container can be used for storage after the holiday so it's double useful. Great minds!
jollyelf3 years ago
I know I'm late to the party (by 3 years) but I tried this in 2011, and it is awesome! Thank you, Ricky, for taking the time to post. We have large trees every year, that guzzle a lot of water, and I have a hard time keeping up with them. This is perfect. It actually makes watering the tree fun. Brilliant. Thanks again!
speedilad3 years ago
Great idea and instructions.. One possible improvement on the difficult siphon start procedure (helps if very little space for your hands in the tree stand).. I used small rubber stoppers (Home depot or other hardware store) on each end of the tube after filling... Placed the tube ends in the stand and the buckets, then used my finger to knock the plugs out... (let the tree stand plug fall where it may and get it when you take the tree down... THANKS SO VERY MUCH! Jim
aarone5 years ago
I put together a system like this for my own tree this past week. The idea of using a siphon had occurred to me, so I started looking around and found this instructable. Putting a fake gift over the bucket is Brilliant! Makes all the difference in the world, and I'm glad I found this.

Instead of putting weights on the ends of the tube, I used some copper wire I had lying around to create "clips" that attach to the edges of the bucket and tree stand respectively. The tubes are held to the edges. My tree watering system has been a resounding success!

Details about my build are here.
Worked like a charm! Siphon worked first time! Awesome one man,thanks!
rickyspears (author)  madhatter11386 years ago
Great! I'm glad it worked well for you and thanks for taking the time to let me know! Have a wonderful Christmas! I guess I don't have to be concerned about being "politically correct" when commenting on a Christmas tree post, huh? :o)
zahnarzt6 years ago
Great instructable! I had some trouble getting the siphon working and figuring out the water levels, but once it was all set it was perfect!
rickyspears (author)  zahnarzt6 years ago
Thanks for the kudos! I'm glad you got it working. Getting the siphon started is the trickiest part, followed by the water levels--especially if you can't easily see the water level in the tree stand reservoir.
zgystardst6 years ago
Disguising the reservoir as a package is VERY clever! Great idea!
slientbob6 years ago
man i wish i could have cool ornaments like that i only get tinsel
sweet I wanna do it PS. nice instructable!
codongolev6 years ago
that ornament's hot.