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Bring the Heat: Holiday Hearth Safety Tips

Tis the season for gathering with loved ones while taking stock of life’s blessings—and to eat lots of turkey. Once the feast is devoured and the guests have gone, our thoughts quickly turn to garland, Christmas trees, hanging lights, and decking the halls.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, you understand it’s the ultimate focal point during holiday time. However, when decorating around it, it’s imperative to think safety first. Check out the following five tips to ensure a beautiful but safe holiday celebration.

Fireplaces and Christmas trees belong together, but not too close. Your fireplace or insert can put off up to 400 degrees of heat, so keep packages, ornaments, and the tree at a safe distance. Additionally, home heat makes live Christmas trees dry out fast and can turn them into fire hazards. Keep the water reservoir full so your tree remains as hydrated as possible.

If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it has a “fire resistant” label. All trees will burn if exposed to flames, but trees manufactured in this manner will resist fire and extinguish faster.

Decorate responsibly. Fireplace mantels are the perfect focal point for displaying your most cherished holiday treasures; however, figurines, candles, and collectibles can quickly melt or become damaged if the heat from the fireplace rises across the mantle face. Metal objects can also become quite hot, so consider your décor wisely in this area.

Green things. We all love beautiful garland to set the tone for the holidays, whether it’s from the garden or artificial. Take the same precautions you would with your holiday tree when planning for this by relocating garland to doorways, tabletops, and stairway banisters instead of mantle areas.

Hang The Stockings With Care. Many stockings are made of flammable materials, so use precaution when picking a place for them. Gas fireplace safety is every bit as important as wood fireplace safety, so think twice before hanging or placing them near your fireplace. 

Remember these safety tips, and your family and guests will stay safe and warm all season long. 

Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID, is an award-winning interior designer, author, product developer, and multimedia consultant helping brands reach the interior design community. To contact her, visit or call 916-919-3023.

by  Kerrie L. Kelly