decorated living room with blazing fire, lit tree and hanging stockings
Photo: David Sucsy/
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10. A Cozy Fire

Tossing wrapping paper into the fireplace may seem harmless enough, but doing so poses a flash fire risk. Split hardwood is the best thing to burn, and make sure your chimney is swept and fireplace is maintained before you light it up. Never light candles—responsible for tens of thousands of fires every year—near your holiday tree or where pets and kids may be playing; an open flame near a dry tree (indicated by the shedding of excessive needles) is a major holiday fire hazard.

To that end, keep your tree away from any heat sources, like radiators and fireplaces, which will expedite the drying process. In fact, consider adding glass fireplace doors for a measure of safety. Cutting away a sliver from the bottom of your new tree's trunk will allow it to absorb more moisture and slow drying time. If holiday distractions mean tree-watering will slip your mind, consider investing in a reusable artificial tree or try an automatic watering system like the Quench-A-Tree, which looks like a wrapped gift.
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