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The Ultimate Christmas Tree Safety Guide: Real vs. Artificial Trees

Christmas Safety
Table of Contents

Purchasing and decorating the perfect Christmas tree is one of the most exciting parts of celebrating the holidays. Many households put up a tree at Thanksgiving or immediately after to enjoy its beauty throughout the entire holiday season. Christmas trees are a cherished part of the holidays, but if they’re poorly cared for or exposed to dangerous elements, they can be the cause of a house fire. Both real and artificial trees can pose a risk to your home. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate a Christmas tree. Follow these tips to make sure your real or artificial Christmas tree isn’t the catalyst for a house fire during the holiday season.

Safety Tips for Real Christmas Trees

The actions you take when you choose your tree, bring it home, and care for it throughout the season can have a major impact on its flammability. Even the way you dispose of your live Christmas tree is important. Follow these tips to help avoid making your live Christmas tree a fire hazard.

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched. The lower trunk should be sticky with resin.
  • Watch out for trees with a greenish cast on the trunk, as some growers spray trees with green paint to make them look fresher.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut it off 2 inches from the bottom of the tree.
  • Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty, and place the tree in water as soon as possible.
  • When setting up a tree, place it far away from all heat sources.
  • Inspect all electrical wires on light strings for damage or fraying before placing them on the tree.
  • Don’t overload outlets.
  • Don’t use real candles for decorating.
  • Never leave lights plugged in when the tree is unattended.
  • Water the tree daily.
  • Don’t leave a live tree in your home for more than 4 weeks.


When it’s time for disposal, don’t leave trees outside the home; they’re a target for arsonists. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.

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Safety Tips for Artificial Christmas Trees

Similar to a real tree, artificial trees can pose a fire hazard. Choosing the right tree, placing it in a safe place,  and caring for it throughout the season can help you keep your home safe during the holidays. Follow these tips to help avoid making your artificial Christmas tree a fire hazard.


  • Seek a tree with a fire retardant guarantee. While this doesn’t mean the tree can’t catch fire, it’s less likely to ignite quickly and can be extinguished more easily.
  • Watch for the UL Listed label that guarantees the tree has been tested by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization testing products for over 110 years.
  • Check electrical wires on light strings before decorating the tree. This includes lights that always remain on the tree.
  • Place your artificial tree away from all heat sources.
  • Never leave lights on when the tree is unattended.
  • Don’t decorate an artificial tree with real candles.
  • Never store the tree with lights plugged in or batteries in battery-operated decorations.
  • Store your artificial tree in a protective bag designed for artificial tree storage.


According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 160 yearly fires that start with Christmas trees. By taking the proper precautions, you can avoid these unfortunate circumstances. Visit the LoPriore blog to learn more tips for avoiding unnecessary risks that can compromise your home or possessions. Talk to one of our independent agents today to learn more about the benefits of home insurance for your Massachusetts home.


Similar to a real tree, artificial trees can pose a fire hazard. Choosing the right tree, placing it in a safe place,  and caring for it throughout the season can help you …


Top FAQs Regarding Christmas Tree Safety

Is it safer to have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

Both real and artificial trees can be safe if you follow proper safety guidelines. Real trees should be kept well-watered to reduce fire risk, while artificial trees should be flame-resistant and in good condition.

How often should I water my real Christmas tree?

Water your real Christmas tree daily to keep it hydrated and reduce the risk of it becoming dry and more flammable. A well-hydrated tree is less likely to catch fire.

Are LED lights safer than traditional incandescent lights on my tree?

Yes, LED lights are generally safer for Christmas trees. They produce less heat, reducing the risk of a fire hazard. Additionally, they are more energy-efficient.

Can I use real candles on my Christmas tree safely?

Using real candles on a Christmas tree is strongly discouraged, as they pose a significant fire risk. Opt for flameless LED candles or safe electric alternatives for a similar ambiance without the danger.

What should I do with my Christmas tree after the holidays are over?

If you have a real tree, check local recycling or disposal options guidelines. Many areas offer tree recycling programs. For artificial trees, carefully disassemble and store them properly to ensure they remain in good condition for the next holiday season.


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