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Colleagues decorating a Christmas tree in office space, getting the business ready for the holidaysChristmas Tree Fire Safety

Did you know that the winter months are the peak time for fires in both homes and businesses? According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Christmas trees placed too close to a heat source cause more than one in every five fires each winter! When decorating your commercial property or home for the holidays, be mindful of fire safety.

10 Tips to Ensure a Happy & Safe Holiday Season

Whether your Christmas tree is real or artificial, it can contribute to the spread of a fire. Following a few simple safety tips will help ensure your holiday season stays happy and safe!

Here are 10 Christmas tree fire safety best practices.

Tips 1-4 apply to real trees. If you have an artificial tree, keep reading, though! Tips 5-10 apply to any Christmas tree.

  1. Select a tree with “fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.” If the needles aren’t fresh & green and they fall off when touched, the tree poses a greater risk of catching and spreading fire.
  2. Cut trees at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Water the tree every day!
  4. Do not keep a dry tree indoors or in a garage space. When you are done with the Christmas tree or it has dried out, remove it from your business or home and take care of it properly. Does your community have a tree recycling event?
  5. Keep trees at least three feet away from heat sources. Most Christmas tree fires start because a tree was placed too close to a heat source!
  6. Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit or doorway.
  7. Do NOT include real, lit candles on any Christmas tree.
  8. Before adding lights to your tree, check them carefully. Are any wires frayed? Do any bulbs need replaced? Are they intended for indoor or outdoor use? Make sure the lights you’ve chosen are suited for the tree.
  9. Do not connect more light strands than the manufacturer’s instructions recommend.
  10. Turn off your tree’s lights before leaving.

Holiday Decoration + Candle Safety

Christmas trees aren’t the only fire hazards in December. 11% of candle fires occur each year in December, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Holiday decorations and candles certainly add to the merriment of the season, but they can also increase the risk of fires, unfortunately.

Read our recent blog on holiday decoration and candle safety best practices – Holiday Decoration + Candle Safety: How to Prevent Your Candles and Holiday Decorations from Starting a Fire – to learn more!

General Fire Safety

Additionally, here are some general fire safety best practices to keep in mind throughout the holiday season:


*This article was adapted from an earlier version published by Merchants on December 3, 2020. It was last updated on December 5, 2023.

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Katherine Trautwein

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.