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Fireplaces are the focal point of every home. With the holidays quickly approaching, like most people, you’re probably itching to dig those decorations out of storage and begin meticulously placing the stockings, garlands, and twinkling lights to create a cozy, magical, and enchanting atmosphere.

But before we get carried away with the holiday spirit, here at Chimney Doctor, not only does our team provide comprehensive chimney inspections, cleaning, and maintenance services, but we are also here to provide you with safety guidelines in terms of what’s safe and what’s not when it comes to holiday decorations.

As the season of joy and togetherness approaches, let’s work together to make sure your home is warm, cozy, beautifully decorated, and – more importantly – safe, so you can fully embrace the holiday spirit with complete peace of mind. Questions? We’re here to help – call or book online today.

How Far Should a Christmas Tree Be From the Fireplace?

When choosing the perfect spot to place your Christmas tree, it’s important to keep adequate space between it and your fireplace or stove – three feet to be exact. This is a good rule of thumb for both live trees and artificial ones, as it minimizes the risk of the tree drying out, and helps prevent accidental contact with open flames or hot surfaces.

infographic asking how far christmas trees should be from fireplaces (3 feet)

It’s hard to pass up the smell and look of a live tree perfectly decorated by the fireplace. But if you ever saw the movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you will understand how important it is to make sure the tree is watered properly. Dry needles and heat sources don’t mix well, and that’s a lesson we all want to learn from a movie – and not from a real-life holiday mishap.

If you’re opting for an artificial tree this year, pay attention that it is a flame retardant or resistant. Most artificial trees are, but making sure your tree is means it will resist catching fire longer and extinguish faster compared to those that are not. 


Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Decorations Near the Fireplace

Your tree isn’t the only decoration you should be cautious with. Many other holiday decorations, including string lights, candles, garlands, stockings, wreaths, and ornaments need to be handled and placed carefully. Let’s go over a few do’s and don’ts of holiday decorations around your fireplace.

Holiday Decoration Do’s

  • Do use fire-resistant decorations: Opt for materials that are less likely to catch fire, such as metal, glass, ceramic, or fire-resistant artificial trees and wreaths. 
  • Do maintain a safe distance: Keep all decorations at least three feet away from the fireplace and vents to prevent them from igniting.
  • Do use safety screens or barriers: Install a safety screen or glass door enclosure to help prevent sparks and embers from escaping the fireplace.
  • Do secure decorations: Make sure all decorations, especially the ones placed on the mantel, are sturdily and safely anchored in place. This is especially important if you have pets or young kids that might accidentally bump into or grab the decorations.
  • Do keep a fire extinguisher nearby: In case of emergencies, always have a working fire extinguisher in the vicinity for quick access.
  • Do inspect holiday lights and extension cords: Check holiday lights and extension cords for damage, frayed wires, or loose connections before use.
  • Do unplug lights when not in use: Turn off and unplug holiday lights, especially if you’re going to bed or leaving the house. 

Holiday Decoration Don’ts:

  • Don’t use flammable materials: Avoid placing any materials like paper, fabric, or plastic near the fireplace.
  • Don’t overload the mantel: “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care” is a great reminder for homeowners to be cautious when decorating the mantle. Try to limit cluttering the mantle with too many decorations. The more items you have near the fireplace, the more fire hazards you have to watch out for.
  • Don’t let items hang below the mantel. Make sure any decorations you do have on the mantel don’t dangle below the bottom of it. Remember, heat rises, and the underside and front of the mantlepiece can become very hot.
  • Don’t leave open flames unattended: Please use common sense when using candles or any other decor with an open flame. Don’t leave them unattended. If you can, opt for battery-powered flameless candles. 
  • Don’t forget to water your tree: Over 200 Christmas tree fires occur every holiday season. Don’t be one of them!
  • Don’t forget smoke alarms: Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly. 

Need to Schedule a Chimney Inspection or Cleaning? Give Chimney Doctor a Call Today

Before you start pulling out all of your Halloween, Thanksgiving, and/or Christmas decor, let Chimney Doctor help you prepare your fireplace for a season of festive celebrations. Our comprehensive chimney inspections and sweeps will help you decorate with confidence, knowing that your home is both festive and safe.

Give us a call today at 970-234-3330 or request an appointment online.