Christmas tree tips – Buying and keeping safe

Christmas tree tips—buying and keeping safeXmas tree

Every year thousands of trees are sold to decorate homes for the holidays.  Below are some tips to keep in mind when picking out a tree and safety once the tree is in your home.

Buying the tree:

*Make sure you measure the height of the ceiling in the room that you will be displaying your tree.  You will want a tree that is at least a foot shorter than the ceiling height.

*When selecting a tree, run your fingers along the needles and give the tree a shake. If the tree is fresh, the needles should be pliable and very few should fall off.

*Be sure the base of the tree is straight and at least six inches long, so it will fit easily into the tree stand.

Keeping trees fresh:

*When you buy your tree, have an inch cut off the base to make it easier for the tree to take in water. (Be sure the cut is straight so the tree will stand up properly.)

*If you don’t plan to put the tree up right away, place it in a bucket of warm water and stand it in an unheated garage or porch away from the wind and cold.  When you bring the tree inside, make sure the stand holds at least one gallon of water.

*Keep your tree well watered. Water prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and maintains the fragrance. Trees may use several quarts a day, so check the water level in the stand every few hours.  Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree or the cut end may seal over, preventing further water intake.  Experts say it is not necessary to add anything to the water, just plain old water is best.

Tree safety:

*Never place your tree near a heat source, such as a fireplace or portable heater.

*If you have small children or pets, trim the lower branches to avoid eye injuries.

*Hang all ornaments that are breakable, have small, detachable parts or metal hooks, or that look like food or candy on higher branches where small children can’t reach them.

*Keep pets out of the room in which the tree is placed, especially if you can’t be there to supervise. Cats are notorious for leaping onto Christmas trees, especially when pursued by another pet. Keep the tree from toppling by tying it to a ceiling hook. Both cats and dogs can knock down and break glass ornaments, and then cut themselves on the pieces. Pets may also gnaw on electrical cords for Christmas-tree lights. Hide cords when possible, or help prevent injury by purchasing a pet-proof conduit, which will enclose cords and wires.

*Avoid using artificial snow sprays, which can cause lung irritation if inhaled.

* Turn off tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Use only UL-approved electrical decorations and extension cords, and check that no cords have frayed since you last used the lights.

*Never burn Christmas-tree branches in your fireplace. It can cause the buildup of creosote, a highly flammable compound.

Follow these simple safety tips and enjoy the holiday season!

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