You have likely had the conversation with friends about your Christmas traditions and what you like better… white lights or colored lights, a star or an angel on top of the tree, and of course, a real tree or an artificial tree. You can buy all kinds of candles and room air fresheners that try to mimic that signature smell but there’s nothing quite the same as having a real Christmas tree.

If having a real tree is a tradition of yours or you’re thinking about getting a real tree this year, here are some safety tips that can help prevent a holiday disaster!

Family Christmas Tree

A Dry Tree Can Be A Fire Tree

Real trees require a lot of water for a couple of reasons. Without plenty of water, your tree will start to die quickly. The most important reason to keep your tree well hydrated is to keep it from getting too dry. A dry tree is a dangerous fire hazard. You can see in this video what a shocking difference it makes when a tree is watered daily vs. a dry tree if it were to catch on fire.

So how much water does your real Christmas tree need? Well, it depends on the size of the tree. Larger trees will require more water. You should check your tree stand every day and fill it with water up to the fill line on the tree stand. When you first get your tree, have a couple of inches cut off of the end of the tree stump to help open the pores of the tree so it absorbs more water quickly.1  The first few days you have your tree, you may find you need to water the tree in the morning and at night if it’s particularly large.

The placement of your tree is also important. While you’re likely already aware of this, you should make sure your tree is not located close to a fireplace or a heater.

Christmas Decorations

Decorating with Real Tree Trimmings

Another perk of a real Christmas tree is the tree trimmings make for beautiful decorations! There are a few fire hazards to be aware of, though. It might be tempting to drape a beautiful garland made out of tree trimmings across your mantel, but this can be a fire hazard. Remember how we talked about a dry tree catching fire more easily than a well hydrated tree? Tree trimmings will be even drier because the trimmings no longer have a water source. There are beautiful artificial garland decorations that would be safer to use when decorating around a fireplace. Keep in mind to be careful with decorations around a fireplace and not hang anything too low or place things too close the fireplace opening.

Christmas Table Decorations

Looking to make the perfect social media sharing holiday centerpiece for your table? Many beautiful table centerpieces are made of tree trimmings. But while it may look stunning, avoid using these tree trimming accents around any centerpieces or décor that include candles! Those tree trimmings are dry and very flammable.

The Right Stand for the Right Tree

Tree stands come in several different sizes. Making sure you have the right size will ensure your tree is getting the proper amount of water but is also vitally important for keeping your tree stabilized. Each tree stand will have a range of recommended tree heights on it. So, let’s say you already have a tree stand for trees up to 6 feet tall, but this year you get a 9-foot tree. You guessed it, you’ll need a different tree stand. Putting a 9-foot tree in a 6-foot tree stand holder runs a high risk of your tree falling over, which could cause damage to your belongs or serious harm to someone. 

Christmas Is Over - What Do I Do with This tree?

Once the holidays are over, you might be wondering what you should do with your real Christmas tree. Here are a few things you can do and what to avoid.

Some areas have tree drop offs or tree pick ups where the tree is then recycled. Oftentimes, the tree is re-purposed into mulch. Maybe you want to recycle the tree yourself and benefit from what it has to offer. After all, you spent a lot of money on that tree, so get as much out of it as you can. You can cut the branches and use them in a compost that will make some rich soil for your gardening.2

Outdoor Fire Pit

After using the branches for compost, you can then cut up the tree trunk and use it for firewood in an outdoor fire pit. You do not want to use your Christmas tree as firewood in an indoor fireplace! The type of trees used for Christmas trees have a chemical called creosote, which burns extremely hot and quickly.3 This can cause dangerous sparks to travel higher than usual and possibly land on your roof, which could catch your roof on fire.  Also, the sap from a Christmas tree can wreak havoc on your chimney. So, save that wood for your outdoor fire pit!

With these safety tips for your real tree, we hope your holidays will be full of fun and cheer! Keeping you, your home and your belongings safe is important to us. That’s why we are always looks to share tips that will help you day to day.

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1 Old Farmer's Almanac. “How to Care for a Christmas Tree.” Old Farmer's Almanac. Accessed November 19, 2019.
2 Vanderlinden, Colleen. “Discover 5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree.” The Spruce. The Spruce, October 30, 2017.
3 Robinson, TJ. “Why You Shouldn't Burn Your Christmas Tree in Your Fireplace.” T.J.s Chimney Service, December 28, 2014.