Why It's Important To Turn Off The Lights On Your Christmas Tree Every Night

Christmas trees are such an integral part of the holiday season that there's an entire song dedicated to them. I mean, really, how lovely are thy branches? So lovely in fact that right now, 350 million Christmas trees are standing tall in hundreds of tree farms across the United States, getting ready to be handpicked and beautifully decorated (via the National Christmas Tree Association).


From the moment you pick that perfect tree to the final ornament you hang with care on its pine-scented branches, you are filled with an immense amount of Christmas joy that's sure to fill your home — and heart — with pure happiness for the rest of the season. According to psychologist Deborah Serani, who talked to Today, Christmas' lively colors and cozy ambiance can boost moods, promote nostalgic feelings of peace, and "produce happiness."

So it's no surprise that you'd want to keep your decorations shining bright all season long, including the lights on your Christmas tree. However, as tempting as it is, you don't want to leave those lights on all night.

Leaving your tree's lights on is a serious fire hazard

That's right, Christmas trees can cause fires –  but not in the way you'd expect. You may think it's because the lights on the tree warm the branches up enough to spark a fire, but that myth was busted on an episode of "MythBusters" (per Romper). In reality, trees typically cause fires because of electrical issues.


While it's true that Christmas trees are not a super common cause of house fires, why risk it? According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 210 Christmas tree-related house fires occur annually in the United States. That's 210 too many! And it's not just real Christmas trees either. Whether real or artificial, having a Christmas tree too close to a heat source or plugged into faulty electrical outlets can cause scary consequences.

Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends never leaving the house or going to sleep with Christmas lights on. Although the risk of your tree catching on fire remains the same any time of the day, you want to react quickly and remove yourself from the home as soon as possible when a fire breaks out. Of course, this is harder to do if you are sleeping. In fact, almost half of all house fire fatalities occur during peak sleeping time, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (per U.S. Fire Administration). On the off chance that your tree sparks a house fire, you want to be able to quickly spring into action. 


Christmas tree fire safety tips

Along with never leaving home or sleeping with Christmas tree lights on, there are other tips you'll want to remember to keep you, your family, and your home safe. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, you must make sure there is at least three feet of distance between your tree and all appliances that produce fire or heat, including heaters and fireplaces. Try not to use extension cords either, as using the wrong one or overworking a single strip can cause fires due to the cord overheating (via U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).


When Christmas is over (boo), proper removal of the tree is necessary. This is especially true for real Christmas trees in your home that become severely dry (via National Fire Protection Association). You should research the proper removal of your tree, whether your community does pick-ups or you must discard it yourself. Don't leave it in the home, garage, or perched up alongside your house outside. Sleep soundly this holiday season, knowing your home will be safe from tree-causing fires. After all, you'll need that beauty rest after all that shopping, baking, and wrapping!