If we were in charge of writing the dictionary there would be a big, vibrant picture of a fireplace next to the definition of "cozy". Nothing quite tops that from-the-inside-out warmth that you feel curled up in front of a crackling fire when the icy December snow falls outside. This feeling is only enhanced when your fireplace is decorated with glittering Christmas baubles. That being said, you do have to take some precautions when decorating for Christmas in this part of your home. Here's what you need to know:
1. Start with a Fire Extinguisher
Decorations or not, you should always have access to a fire extinguisher if you plan on using your fireplace for its intended purpose. Beyond that, where that fire extinguisher resides should be common knowledge for your entire household as well as an action plan detailing what everyone should do in the event of a fire. Be sure to check that your fire extinguisher is up-to-date and in working order so you can keep your family safe.
2. Stay Away From Hanging Decorations
As tempting as it may be, it is not wise to string garland, ornaments, lights, or even stockings from the mantle of your fireplace. Doing so will raise the risk of something accidentally melting or, even worse, catching on fire. If you can't resist the urge to hang your stockings "from the chimney with care", just remember to remove them and set them aside while lighting your fire.
3. Choose Your Decorations With Care
Whether your taste in Christmas decorations is simple, extravagant, classical, or DIY, you need to aim for your selection to be flame resistant for around your fireplace. To be clear, decorations labeled as such are not designed to avoid catching on fire altogether, but they are less likely to ignite if a stray flame hits them. Either way, they certainly are the better choice for decorating your hearth.
4. Invest In a Spark Guard
You know that black mesh screen that you see in front of so many fire places? That is known as the spark guard, and it does wonders for making your open-hearth fireplace a little safer. It's job - besides adding some additional pizazz to your hearth depending on the design you pick - is to contain the sparks from your fire. As you can imagine, keeping sparks inside the hearth where they belong is a great way to keep your decorations from burning.
5. Keep Everything At a Distance
It is recommended that you keep everything in proximity to your fireplace a good three feet away at all times. This means your Christmas tree, plush snowmen, little Christmas villages, and other decorations need to stay far enough away from the open flames to lower the risk of starting a fire. If this ruins your vision for your Christmas-covered home we apologize, but safety is the #1 priority when it comes to celebrating Christmas or any other holiday with your loved ones. Don't risk starting a fire for a little extra sparkle.