Whether you prefer the dark and brooding ghoulish decor of Halloween or you’re more of crisp, clean, and classic Christmas-starts-on-November-first household, one thing is certain: the holiday season is nearly here. And besides the joy of gift giving and spending time with the ones we love, perhaps the best part about this time of the year is the way we get to let our personalities shine through our decorations!

Keep reading to learn more about fireplace decoration safety and best practices when it comes to decking your halls this holiday season.

Questions? We’re here for you. Call us or reach out online today.

How Can I Safely Decorate My Fireplace Mantel?

Spoiler alert (and good news!): as long as you are intentional with your decorating choices – both in placement and material – you absolutely can spruce up your hearth in a way that is safe and festive. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you gather your decorations and prepare to make your mantel the true focal point of your living room this holiday season.

🔥 Look for Fire-Resistant Decorations

If you use your fireplace regularly during the colder months and don’t want to be bothered with moving various decoration pieces around, it’s wise to shop around for fire-resistant decor. It’s important to note that these materials are not altogether “fireproof,” but rather are constructed of materials that are less likely to catch flame on accident.

In general, keep an eye out for products made of cement, ceramic, brick, steel or other metals, glass, and other materials known to withstand high temperatures and a close proximity to flame. These days you can find such items as “fire resistant garland,” “fireproof Halloween pumpkins,” and even artificial plants, flowers, banners, and fabrics all created with flame retardant properties. That way, you can still decorate how you’d like – just without the fear of your mantel catching fire.

🔥 Move Flammable Materials When Burning a Fire

You certainly can’t go wrong with a display made of entirely fire-resistant materials and decorations, but it’s also not your only option. After all, you’ve got to get some photos of the stockings hanging for Santa to fill or create the perfect display for your family’s menorah! Considering your mantel is merely a shelf featured above your fireplace, there are countless ways it can be decorated – as long as you relocate them whenever you wish to enjoy a fire. 

🔥 Avoid (or Limit) Use of Wax Candles on Your Mantel

Speaking of the cherished menorah, burning any wax candles displayed atop the fireplace may look enchanting, but is not the best idea if you also plan to utilize your fireplace at the same time. Wax melts rather quickly when exposed to such high temperatures, so it’s a good idea to try to use electric or battery operated candles whenever possible.

🔥 Do Not Allow Any Items To Dangle

Flame resistant or not, never let any of your mantel decorations hang off the edge and near the fireplace when you have a fire burning. Anything that drapes (or has the potential to unfold and fall in front of the fireplace like gathered fabric, any kind of ribbon or roping, garlands, etc.) is a fire hazard as soon as it’s within a certain distance from a burning fire. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t drape anything around, over, or off your mantel, just that you’ll need to be sure to remove it before you plan to light a fire. 

🔥 Only Place Stable, Well-Balanced Items on the Mantel

Anything rickety or that has the potential to wobble and fall over should be kept far away from your hearth. The last thing you want to worry about is the potential of items falling over and into the path of flames. Plus, cleaning up broken decorations isn’t ideal either.

How Far Should a Christmas Tree be from the Fireplace?

Besides adorning your mantel with charming seasonal accoutrements, if your family celebrates “the most wonderful time of the year” by putting up a Christmas tree, another important thing to keep in mind is placement. Of course, you want your living room to look cohesive and put together, but you also don’t want your tree to be a fire hazard if it’s too near your fireplace. So, how do you know where to put it? How close is too close?

infographic asking how far christmas trees should be from fireplaces (3 feet)

Well, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and other experts in the industry, a Christmas tree should be no closer than 3 feet to your fireplace. No matter if it’s real or artificial, this distance ensures your tree is not close enough to the flames or the extreme temperatures that could cause it to burn.

 Also, if you do choose an artificial tree this season, look for those that are labeled “fire resistant.” Much like with mantel decorations, while that does not mean “fireproof,” it does mean it’s harder for it to catch fire. And for real trees, just be sure you’re keeping them well-hydrated by watering regularly.

Worried About Fireplace Safety this Holiday Season? Book a Service with The Chimney Guys!

Have questions about something specific that wasn’t covered here? Want to get your system looked over before the holidays are in full force? Are you local to the Charlottesville area and have yet to find a fireplace and chimney service company that meets your specific needs?

Enter The Chimney Guys – Northern Virginia’s go-to company for all things fireplace, chimney, and home heating. No matter if you’re looking to get some repairs done or perhaps are interested in investing in a brand new appliance, we’re the team to call for it all.

Reach us online or give us a call at 434-481-3796.