A beautifully dressed mantle provides a great deal of holiday cheer, but mantle decorations also can provide a fire hazard. When you’re preparing your mantel for the holidays, be sure to keep our mantle decorating safety tips in mind to keep your home and family safe during the holiday season.
- Don’t let decorations hang from the mantle. Greenery or ribbons draping from your mantle close to your fireplace’s opening easily can catch fire, either from a stray spark or from dangling too close to the hearth.
- Remove stockings when the fire is burning. Stockings hanging from a mantle are a part of the Christmas tradition. You don’t need to forfeit that tradition, but you do need to remove stockings when a fire is burning in a fireplace. It’s wise to have a predetermined place to set or hang stockings when a fire is burning.
- Use a flame retardant on greenery. If you prefer the look of live greenery on your holiday mantle, consider spraying it down with a flame retardant. You can find the fertilizer ammonium sulfate at most hardware or gardening stores. Applying it to your holiday greener, including your Christmas tree, won’t make them fire proof, but it can prevent a spark from igniting your greenery.
- Avoid unsteady decorations. Don’t place decorations that could easily fall, like wobbly figurines or loose Christmas bulbs, on the mantle, as they could fall into a burning fire. Make sure all decorations are firmly in place on the mantle, and add tape or another adhesive, if needed, to keep decorations secure.
- Use a fireplace screen. If you have an open-hearth fireplace, use a screen to keep sparks in and unwanted items out. This can help prevent your fireplace from igniting your mantle decorations.
- Consider flameless candles. If you’re going to place candles among the other decorations on your mantle, consider using battery-operated flameless candles to avoid a fire risk. If you use traditional candles, consider votives, jar candles or glass candle holders that shield the flame from the other mantle decorations.
- Maintain a safe distance. Make sure the rest of your Christmas decorations, whether your tree, beautifully wrapped gifts, or holiday figures or knickknacks, at least three feet from your hearth to avoid the risk of an escaped spark igniting a fire.
- Observe basic fireplace safety. As you would any other time of the year, observe basic fireplace safety. Make sure your smoke detectors are working, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and never leave a burning fire unattended.
You don’t have to sacrifice a beautifully decorated mantle for fireplace safety. Following a few simple guidelines when decorating your mantle can allow you to enjoy your holiday decorations and holiday fires in your fireplace without adding risk to your home and family.