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Decorating for Christmas: Tree Safety

The Origins of Christmas Trees:

Evergreen plants and trees have traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years. People used evergreen branches to decorate their homes during the winter solstice as a reminder that Spring will come soon enough.  The Romans decorated their temples with used Fir Trees for the festival of Saturnalia. And over time, the decorations have evolved into what we now know as Christmas Trees. It is believed that the modern Christmas Tree started around the late 1400s or early 1500s in what's now Germany.   At the time, a tradition of the Paradise Tree had evolved to include decorations on the evergreen tree. Decorations like communion wafers, cherries, and pastry decorations of stars, bells, and angels.  This updated decoration was named 'Christbaum' or 'Christ Tree' and we now know it is – the Christmas Tree.

So many families now have adapted Christmas Trees to fit their traditions, their needs, and their different spaces.  While many have switched to artificial trees or mini tinsel trees, a lot of families still choose to keep with tradition and pick a live tree. If this is something your family is doing this year, follow our safety tips to make sure you keep yourself, your family, and your home safe this Holiday Season!

To check for freshness, remember: 

A fresh tree is green. Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches. When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break. When picking a tree, check the needles. Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches. Run your fingers through the needles on the branches and then give the tree a good shake. If the needles come off easily, it means you need to choose another tree as this is a sign the tree is drying out. A dry tree will not tolerate the temperature of Christmas lights and increases your chances of a fire. 

Once you have your tree, here are some tips to keep it safe and make sure it lasts all Holiday Season: 

Put the tree in a bucket of water outside and place it outside away from the sun for at least 24 hours. While outside, give the tree a good cleaning with the hose to moisten the needles, clean off the dust, and eliminate unwanted bugs.

When placing your tree inside your home, be sure to keep it away from any heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out very quickly and create fire hazards. Before placing your tree in water, cut off about two to three inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption.   

Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors. If you notice your tree needing a little pick me up, you can treat your tree by adding some sugar to its water. Make sure to check and fill the tree container every day – for example, a six-foot tree will need about a half gallon of water everyday.

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In August, at age 79, we bought our dream house. In October we learned the sewer system was comletely destroyed and a sinkhole had formed under our house. We had only had our insurance with the Philadelphia Contributionship for 2 months when this happened. I checked our coverage with Karen...

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