Christmas Tree Safety: 9 Essential Tips To Know Before Decorating For The Holidays

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

We’re just a few weeks from the best holiday of the year: Christmas!

Christmas has always been my absolute favorite holiday.

Of course, I loved it as a kid because I got presents, but now I like it for so many other reasons.

The holiday season is the best time to cook a good family meal, give gifts to friends, bake cookies, and decorate the home.

And when the weather gets nice and chilly outside, it’s so lovely to curl up on the couch with a loved one or a pet, a good book, and a cup of hot cocoa.

For many people, the best thing about Christmas is the tree. Picking out the perfect pine tree, setting it up in your home, and decorating it with ornaments and lights are all really fun things to do.

This year, though, make sure you know these essential Christmas tree safety tips!

Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / Dante Alighieri

Tip #1: Pick A Fresh Tree

pick a fresh tree
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

When choosing a Christmas tree, you should always try to find a fresh one.

Dry trees may be cheaper than fresh ones, but you should never pick a dry, old tree.

Look for a tree with needles that bend without snapping and trunks that still have sap on them; these trees are much less likely to catch on fire.

Tip #2: Keep The Tree In A Cool Area Of Your House

cool area
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When you get your tree to your house, make sure you set it up in a cool area.

Try to avoid radiators, heaters, fireplaces, televisions, and other hot appliances when you’re putting up your tree.

Tip #3: Keep Your Tree Hydrated

keep tree hydrated
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Another way to make sure your tree won’t catch on fire is to keep it super hydrated.

Always have a watering can near your tree so you don’t forget to give your tree the water it needs to stay alive.

Tip #4: Don't Overwork The Extension Cords

don't overwork extension cords
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Many people love to use tons of lights on their Christmas trees, but make sure you don’t overwork your extension cords.

The Christmas Tree Association recommends only putting three strands of light in each extension cord.

And although extension cords can be somewhat unsightly, you should never put them under carpets or rugs.

Tip #5: Never Leave Lights On Overnight

turn off lights
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As lovely as it is to see the glittery lights from the tree as you drift off to sleep, you should generally turn off the lights when you go to sleep.

They may not be very powerful, but Christmas tree lights can still heat up the needles and dry them out.

You should also unplug or turn off the lights when you leave the house for long periods of time.

Tip #6: Know When To Throw Your Tree Away

throw tree away
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Nobody likes getting rid of their tree after the holidays are over, but it can be unsafe to keep your Christmas tree around too long.

Once needles start to drop from your tree, it’s time for it to hit the curb.

Tip #7: Check Light Strands For Damage

metal tree
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You should always check each strand of lights for broken bulbs, cracked sockets, frayed wires, or loose connections. Throw these strands away.

If you have a metal tree, don’t use electric lights; your tree could become electrically charged.

Tip #8: Only Purchase Tested And Approved Artificial Trees

tested approved tree
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you decide to go with an artificial tree instead of a real tree, there aren’t as many things to worry about.

That being said, you should still pay attention to the tree. Only buy flame-resistant and safety-tested artificial Christmas trees.

Tip #9: Always Keep A Fire Extinguisher Nearby

fire extinguisher
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

No matter what kind of tree you choose, you should always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Make sure everyone in your home knows where the fire extinguisher is located, just in case.

If you love decorating your Christmas tree, please SHARE this article with your friends!