Safety for the Holidays; Christmas Tree Care.

Posted: 24/10/2009 in Christmas, safety, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Christmas trees have become a time honored tradition around the world. They signify the season and give us a place to gather with family and friends, if you have any. Or a place to sit by if you are alone so you can dream of others. But they have also become a time honored tradition of calling out the firefighters and watching your home burn down. With care and attention you can prevent this aspect of Christmas from happening.

Trees have a habit of needing water to survive, and as soon as you cut the tree down, it begins to die. The tree doesn’t fully realize this of course, so it continues to draw water from the ground, even though there is no ground. The process of a plants drawing water from the ground is a pretty simple arrangement, needing only its blood vessels to suck up the old H2O through what we call capillary action. This process will continue until the tree is dead, but if we stop the action somehow, like cutting it down, the tree will die faster because of lack of nourishment. When the tree dies it becomes dried out, and becomes very flammable, and that is not a positive thing, and is very dangerous.

So, here’s a list of tips for keeping your live Christmas tree safe for the holiday’s;

  • Never, ever, burn candles on a tree in your home. It’s a quaint old tradition, but is it really worth the risk? Today there are all kinds of low voltage lamps you can get, and now we are starting to see energy efficient LED lamps that give out next to no heat at all.
  • Wait as long as possible to get your tree, and take it down as soon as your Christmas holiday is over. The shorter the time span that the tree is allowed to remain in your home, the better the odds of it not drying out or having other problems with it. In fact, perhaps the best thing to do would be to utilize a tree farm where you can cut your own tree. Sometimes trees are cut weeks, if not months before showing up on a lot, and by then it is too late to prevent the tree from drying out completely.
  • Always make sure you have the tree well watered. Use a stand that has a big bowl for filling, and fill it every day, or more often if it needs it. Use plastic stretch wrap to cover the bowl and reduce evaporation of the standing water. It’ll also help keep the cat out of it. If you’d rather not deal with the wrap at every filling, simply place a funnel or tube through the plastic wrap.
  • Keep the lighting to a minimum to avoid heat from the lamps from drying portions of the trees limbs prematurely.
  • Inspect all of the lamps wiring for fraying and loose connections before placing them on the tree. Test the bulbs before you put them on the tree as well. It’ll be easier to change the burned out bulbs that way. If in doubt about any string of lights, throw it away. It doesn’t cost much to replace lamps today, and it’s not worth the risk.
  • Don’t hang anything small from the lower limbs if you have little ones around. Many of today’s decorations look like candy and can be a pretty enticing treat if you aren’t watching them.
  • Don’t put up a tree unless it can be stabilized. If it is too big for your stand, get a bigger stand. If the tree cannot stand straight then it will likely fall down causing injury, damage and/or fire..
  • Make sure the tree is sufficiently anchored in place. sometimes a stand alone may not be enough
  • Throw away any cracked glass or plastic ornaments. Someone may get cut on the rough edges, especially the glass ones where they would be more liable to further breakage with handling.
  • Make sure there are no frayed or otherwise damaged wires on any electric or electronic decorations you put on the tree. Replace those that look suspicious.
  • Never overload your electrical service, and never plug more cords into a receptacle than the manufacturer says to use.
  • Always use a properly grounded circuit breaker strip to plug your cords into.
  • Never cut the grounding plug off of an extension cord. It’s there for a reason, and that reason may just save somebody’s life. Of course, if it isn’t there, somebody could get killed.
  • Vacuum around the tree daily to prevent an accumulation of dried needles.
  • Try not to pile too many gifts under the tree. Allow a sufficient flow of air around the tree at all times.
  • Keep the rooms temperature on the coolish side. High temperatures will make the tree dry out that much faster.

These are just a few tips to get you going. As time goes by I will be adding to all of my tip lists to try to give you a comprehensive listing. Have a safe and Merry Christmas! By the way, the American Family Association is running a drive to get the Merry Christmas message out to the public again. We seem to have forgotten that Christmas is God’s gift to us over the years, and even many retailers are refusing to use the term Merry Christmas in their advertising and greetings. Click onto the image or follow this link to go to the AFA store and learn more about this campaign.

With a little bit of effort we can work together to return this nation to where it belongs, in the bosom of the Lord, instead of some ash heap of degenerate paganism. I think it is a shame that this season has become so commercialized, and even though my paycheck comes from the retail sector, I have to say that I pray that many changes are overturned and that we can go back to the way some things were. Take the Blue Laws, for instance. I really dislike the idea of major stores being open on Sunday’s. I can see where some may be needed, such as small grocers, C stores, and smaller pharmacies, but not everybody. It helps to eliminate the presence of Christ from that day. It’s amazing how many people can go to church in the morning, and then turn around and go shopping the rest of the day. That really helps to nurture the requirement that we use the Sabbath as a day of rest.

email any tips and hints you’d like to share to editor@survivingmaine.com.

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