Are you a person who insists on a real Christmas tree?  If so, there are some very important safety tips to follow so that your holiday doesn't turn into a devastating loss of your home due to a Christmas tree fire.  The American Christmas Tree Association has some simple rules to follow to keep any fire at bay this holiday season:

Picking Your Tree

Try to get as fresh a tree as possible because the fresher the tree, the less likely it is to catch fire. In my family, we like to go to a tree farm and cut our own.  It's a fun, old-fashioned tradition that guarantees a fresh tree. If you buy an already cut tree, you can test it for freshness by looking for vibrant green needles that are hard to pull off and don’t break easily from the tree's branches. Look on the ground under that tree for shedding needles.  That's a bad sign that the tree is already drying out. If the tree is pre-cut, just saw off about an inch up from the bottom so that the tree can properly absorb water in the tree stand.

Stay Away From Heat Sources

Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.

Test Your Lights

Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights. Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter-protected receptacle.

Lights Out When Not In Use

You know how your mother always told you to turn off your lights when you left your bedroom? The same applies to all of your holiday lights inside your house. Bedtime means lights off! ­ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.

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Below, is an example of how quickly and easily a Christmas tree can go up in flames and devastate your home.  This video is courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.

2021 Oneonta Festival of Trees

The 2021 Festival of Trees, held at Foothills Performing Arts Center on December 3 and 4 in Oneonta, NY was fantastic with many participating groups and businesses that decorated sponsored trees. See all the creativity that was inspired year.

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