Just because the danger of fire is significantly reduced with an artificial tree, doesn't mean they can't come with their own safety issues. Artificial trees that spin on their bases may not be safe to leave unattended - at least not while they're spinning.
I understand the allure of the pine scent during the Christmas season. Just promise me one thing, if you're going to light the tree, you will not use candles! Electrically lighted trees have been around since 1882, so I think the tradition is well-established.
If you decide to have a real tree adorning your living room during the 12 (or 30) days of Christmas, here are some important things to remember about choosing and caring for a fresh-cut Christmas tree.
Dry is Bad, Moist is GoodAll of the fires we hear about Christmas trees causing are brought on by dead, dry trees. The US Fire Administration provides video of a Christmas tree catching fire and engulfing the family room in less than 40 seconds. All of these tips are intended to keep the tree alive and moist.
It's Alive! It's ALIVE!Keeping the tree alive starts with choosing one that hasn't turned into firewood before it got off the lot. Your best bet is to buy a tree that is still growing and cut it yourself (or have someone cut it for you). If you are buying one pre-cut, make sure it is still alive and healthy. Pull on the needles, if they come off easily, it is probably not in great condition. The trunk should be sticky and the limbs should be very flexible. Lift the tree and bounce the cut end on the ground, if a bunch of needles come tumbling off, it isn't a safe tree to take home.
Fresh Cut Means Fresh CutWhen you get the Christmas tree home, cut off the bottom two inches of trunk. This will create a fresh, raw cut for the tree to soak in water. If you don't do this, the trunk may not be able to drink in the water in the Christmas tree stand.
Water, Water, and More WaterKeeping your thirsty Christmas tree well hydrated is the best way to fireproof it. Keep the water in the stand well above the fresh-cut bottom of the trunk. No need to put more than water in there - your tree isn't picky about flavor or caffeine or sugar. Water is the best for Christmas trees.
There are products available to help you keep your Christmas tree from getting too thirsty. Look at these Christmas tree watering systems to find one that works for you.