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How Often Should I Water My Christmas Tree?

Tree tips and holiday safety from the FDNY.
The Martha Stewart Show, December 2011

Christmas trees, holiday lights, flickering candles: It all makes for a festive time of year, but the season's trimmings offer unique challenges.

Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso, director of fire safety education for the New York City Fire Department, shares tips for a safe, happy holiday season.

Christmas Tree Tips

  • Choose the freshest possible tree. To test freshness, gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger, and pull it toward you. Very few needles should fall off.
  • Keep your tree watered. Fresh trees may require up to a gallon of water per day. Ensure that your tree stays hydrated by checking the water daily and keeping its level above the cut mark.
  • Display the tree in a safe spot. Place it at least three feet away from heating vents, fireplaces, and other heat sources.

Tree-Trimming Tips

  • Carefully inspect Christmas lights. Avoid broken lights and cracked or frayed wires. Damaged electrical cords are the cause of most home electrical fires.
  • Minimize extension cords. Positioning a tree near an electrical outlet reduces the need for extra cords.

Candle Tips

  • Choose candle locations carefully. Place candles at least four feet away from curtains, decorations, and bedding. And keep them out of reach of small children and pets.
  • Extinguish when necessary. Be sure to blow out candles once they burn to within two inches of the holder, and never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Consider battery-operated candles. Flame-free candles make for a worry-free alternative to traditional candles.